The “Ultimate” Guide to Buying Fall Basics

12 Sep

friday weekend is loading


Typically I would be hesitant about posting more things about Fall, since it’s still not yet mid-September, and I’m just not ready for summer to be over, however this week in Chi-town, it was a cool, breezy 49 degrees.  Yup, that’s right 49 degrees.  So bring on the boots, sweaters, leggings and Fall basics.  Thanks to my friends at Huffington Post, for compiling some of these basics.  “Ultimate” guide?  You be the judge. ;)

The Ultimate Guide to Buying Fall Basics

Our favorite part about autumn is the fact that we finally get to layer our clothes again. That leads to one thing: stocking up on our basics.

Although a “fall basic” can be as plain as a white T-shirt, the pieces you choose have the ability to transform multiple outfits. That’s why it’s essential to have a wide selection of tanks, pants and accessories so you have a bunch of options when creating simple ensembles.

Stay true to classics with your jeans and neutral tones, but take risks when it comes to jewelry and updated silhouettes. Check out our suggestions for next season’s fundamentals and get shopping!

the bases

Top from left to right: Gap Favorite Crew Tee, Old Navy Women’s Sleeveless Tees; Bottom from left to right: Old Navy Women’s Jersey Tami 3-Packs, Lane Bryant Smooth Balconette Bra, H&M 2-Pack Tights

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Undergarments are the key to building the perfect outfit. You can never have too many tanks and tees, but when it comes down to it, white, black and neutral options are a must. Plus, a good bra to give you all-day support is not a bad idea either.

new tops

Top from left to right: River Island Navy Sleeveless Wrap Blouse, Nic and Zoe All Around Wrap Top; Bottom from left to right:H&M Lyocell Shirt, Gap Fitted Boyfriend Oxford Shirt, Merona Women’s Favorite Blouse

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Blouses and button-downs are great for fall because you can wear them in a variety of ways — roll up the sleeves, tie the tails or keep it unbuttoned with a tank underneath. Navy, black and white should do the trick, but pick some patterned numbers so you can mix it up every once in a while.

teacher bottoms

Top from left to right: Merona Women’s Ponte Sleeveless Fit And Flare Dress, 1969 Real Straight Jeans; Bottom from left to right: Silk & Cotton Straight Skirt, Crepe Cigarette Pants, Structured A-Line Skirt

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Simplify your early-morning routine with some staple garments that can carry you through the work week and beyond. Black pants always come in handy, but try getting them tailored to your shape and liking so you will always feel comfortable in them.

The little black dress can be dressed up with accessories, while a denim piece will subtly put the “casual” in casual Fridays.

teacher cardigans

Top from left to right: V-Neck Cotton Cardigan, Pointelle Short Sleeve Cardigan; Bottom from left to right: Merona Women’s Ultimate Long Sleeve Crew Neck Cardigan, Gap Mesh-Stitch Cardigan, H&M Fine-Knit Cardigan

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Cardigans deserve their own category, of course. They come in every color, lots of patterns and are great for layering.

the jackets

Top from left to right: Collarless Faux Leather Biker Jacket, J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer; Bottom from left to right: Zara Flowy Trenchcoat With Camouflage Lining, Gap Military Jacket, Helene Berman Wool Blend Cape

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Autumn has a wide climate range: one minute it’s nice and breezy, the next it’s freezing rain. To combat those rocky times, invest in some coats meant to deal with weather, like an updated trench, and lighter jackets that are more trend-focused, like a cape or leather bomber.


Top from left to right: Style&co Lily Envelope Clutch, Faux Gemstone Bib Necklace; Bottom from left to right: Timex Women’s Elevated Classics Bracelet Watch, R&R Leather Organizer Flap Leather Crossbody Bag, Nordstrom Woven Scarf

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Sure, you can get along wearing black and navy all of the time — but amp up your style with some statement accessories. You’re golden with a structured purse or dangling necklace. Add some sensibility with the coolest bag of the season: a briefcase.

the shoes

Top from left to right: Crown Vintage Sandy Bootie, DV By Dolce Vita Langely; Bottom from left to right: Audrey Brooke Cici Leather Flat, Lauren Ralph Lauren Mila Riding Boot, Aldo Ocaria Pump

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And…finally, it’s boot season! With that in mind, you can get different pairs at various lengths, including booties and riding boots. Additionally, it’s always helpful to have a pump here or there, and don’t forget about flats — because you know you’ll be wearing those most of the time.

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Some of my very fall looks

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Team Kourage – Well, our little Team has turned into the Team that Could… We have over 20 Registered walkers, and with kids and guests, we will be about 35 Walkers!  Did I mention that along with our t-shirts, we also have Team Kourage visors?  Thanks Cindy!!  Plus, we have raised $7500.  50% over our goal.  Walking for a Cure, that’s us.  Team Kourage.   <3 <3 <3




Song of the Day: Lisztomania by Phoenix.  Compliments of my Finger Snapping Playlist, from Stephanie.

So sentimental
Not sentimental no!
Romantic, not disgusting yet

Friday Funday…having lunch with 2 of my favorites, Amelia and Joy.  And who said competitors can’t be friends?  Not us!

Have a very happy weekend, and Go Bears!  Sunday Night Football!!  We won’t even discuss that fiasco against the Bills. Ugh.  I mean, it was the Buffalo Bills!  For goodness sakes!


Tracy posted this pic…and yup, it was accurate!  Hoping for a better outcome against the 49-ers!



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Another Royal Baby!!  Seriously, so excited.  :)




Seriously, I am so easily distracted.


One down…205 to go. :)

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Always hoping.



Who don’t I run into at Mariano’s?

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Tis the season…I’m speaking of Football Season!

5 Sep


Are you ready for some football?!  I most certainly am.  It’s been a long spring and summer.  Bring. It. On.

Clearly…I cannot allow the start of the regular NFL season go by, without a mention of my beloved Bears, or better yet… a blog about it…So, so excited it’s Football Season!   And, as excited as I am for Sunday’s game against the Bill’s, I’m also super excited for my first Dave Matthews Band (DMB for those in “the know”) concert! Truth be told, just a tad more excited about Sunday’s game.  Hence, this blog. Sorry Tracy and Mark…you can take the girl out of Chicago (for a weekend), but you can’t take Chicago, or the Bears, out of the girl.  I’m paying homage to your/our fav band with the song of the week.  #giver

Since this is a “fashion” blog, basically, I thought I’d share some outfits I may, or may not be sporting at games this year. But all appropriately sporting Bears blue and orange!

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I will NOT be wearing these.


Nor these…but I’d be interested to see a gal try to wear these into Soldier Field, and walk to her seats.



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This has Mer’s name All over it.  The girl loves her maxi dresses.



Disclaimer… none of the handbags shown above can be taken into an NFL game… Remember, there is a ban on large purses.  Or any purse, quite frankly.  Size does matter.




CHICAGO BEARS 2014 SCHEDULE… another disclaimer…our playoff games nor our appearance in the Super Bowl are listed here.  #daydreambeliever.    Will be fun to end with the Vikings game in Minnesota…Kevin’s favorite team, so that will be interesting.  Bruce, get tickets, STAT! :)   #bloodymarysatlooncafe

bears schedule

My thoughts on the schedule, since I’m sure you are dying to know.  Why in the World do we only have one game in October…yet 3 in December?  Hello?  This is Chicago.  It’s gonna be around 8 degrees in December.  What happened to every team gets two home games each month?  Oh, and on another football note… Do rent the movie Draft Day… Mer and I watched it twice this week (#savvyrenters) and I’m looking forward to seeing it again!  Love, Love, Love it!

Bears Future Schedules


Song of the Day:  Ants Marching, by the Dave Matthews Band… all for you, Mark Bice! ;)

Happy Birthday to my sweet, funny Critical Friend, Beth!


A few of my favorite pics from Bears games…

mer and mom at bears 2

This was on my/our anniversary, Sept. 15, 2007.  Kev must be taking pic.

Bears Field IMG00053

Field passes!  Thanks Bob Donovan!!

Kev, MB and Wayne

Mary Beth, Kev and Wayne.  I believe this was 10 years ago, circa 2004.

DMB…here I come.  @tracylstein Thanks for saving the chard.  #flowerschardplease

Go Bears and Way to Go Seahawks!!  Way to beat the Pack!  Best night ever!! :)




Thanks NKO!




“I no longer have patience”…

4 Sep



I saw this quote by Merle Street…and I have to say, I love it!  I would like to add to this, but quite frankly, why bother?  How can you improve upon Merle Streep, anyway?

“I no longer have patience”…- Merle Streep


“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” _ Meryl Streep

Yeah…what she said. (Robbed that line from Linda B.) ;)

Heading with my sole-sister, Tracy, to my first DMB concert this weekend in sunny southern California… Can. Not. Wait!





You are still wearing White, yes?

3 Sep


It’s after Labor Day…and I do hope you haven’t put away your whites. I know my southern bell friend, Kathy P has just gasped.  But yes, you can wear white after Labor Day!  You can wear if before Labor Day, as well, btw.

But first, let’s see where this rule came from…compliments from our friends at the daily holiday blog (

Originally, it seemed to start in the late 1800′s when the snobby upper crust needed another way to set themselves apart from the normal hardworking lower and middle classes.  The women who were currently the popular crowd made up a bunch of fashion rules that anyone who was anyone needed to follow.

A silly rule for the Upper Crust

Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these silly rules. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, those in the fashion industries eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

By the 1950′s, women’s magazines pushed this rule to the extreme to not only the snobby upper crust, but the average American housewife.  It wasn’t long before it became the accepted rule and whether or not you knew where the rule came from, it was the new fashion “law”!

Breaking Away from the Crowd

Of course there are some that buck the system.  Most famously was Coco Chanel who insisted on wearing white year round!  Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand.  She is credited with liberating women from the corset and popularizing sporty chic clothing after World War I. And she particularly disliked this no white after Labor Day “rule”.

Here are some of my favorite looks for breaking that old rule!

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Song of the Day…from  Steph, who just gave me an Awesome playlist, called, “Finger snapping tunes”…and finger snap you shall.  And yes, Steph is one of my besties…and yes, I do have several, make that many.  I am lucky.  <3 <3 <3

So pardon me for asking, pardon me for thinking
Pardon me for asking, pardon me for thinking

All of Me, by Tanlines

Go ahead wear white after Labor Day…Let’s break some rules!



Related Posts:

Yes, you can wear white after labor day













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True that.


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Pinch me… Summer Can’t Be Over!

29 Aug



A Summer of Lobster Rolls

Cannot believe our summer of fun in the sun is coming to a close… Where in the world did it go?  San Francisco and Newport Beach, that’s where.  Don’t hate us, it couldn’t be helped.   And during our travels and back at home base , we became obsessed with Lobster Rolls.  Not low-cal, light sushi lobster rolls, but the sandwich kind, with lumpy pieces of lobster, smothered in mayonnaise, plopped inside a warm buttery roll…and usually served with a side of fries.  Not great if you are on a diet, but great if you forget you are on a diet.


Because we spent much our summer on the west coast, and not the  east coast, where they truly are known for their lobster rolls, I’ve decided to mention where we have found our favorites, in the 3 cities in which we spent our summer.  I’m sure my friends in the NE will beg to differ, so we plan to do a trip to Maine, in the not too distant future, to check out their lobster rolls and hopefully one-up this blog.   Cannot wait!

Santa Monica Seafood – Costa Mesa, CA

Recommended by a dear friend… Fabulous.  Finding a great lobster roll in Orange County was easier said than done, so we had to rely on the advice of a local.  We were not disappointed.



Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago

Meredith and I like to split one of these with 2 dirty martini’s.  Best Happy Hour Ever!!  Oh yeah, the lobster roll ain’t bad either.

home_lobster_roll shaw's


San Francisco Fish Company – Ferry Building on the Embarcadaro

This was the first lobster roll we encountered…we came across this little deli, and decided to split a lobster roll, as a little snack.   We promptly ordered 3 more.   And this is where our obsession started with lobster rolls.  And dark chocolate toffee as well.  The Ferry Building on the Embarcadaro is also where we take a ferry to Tiburon, to our favorite Mexican restaurant; where we sit outside for happy hour with the largest platter of a seafood appetizer known to man, enjoying carafes of not too terribly bad wine;  enjoying lattes and frozen yogurt, as well as fresh fruit from the farmer’s market on Thursday and Friday’s.  If you are headed to San Francisco, don’t miss the Ferry building.


So, we decided we also wanted to make lobster rolls at home, so I searched high and low (or just googled best lobster rolls) and found a few options.   We tweaked the recipes, getting rid of the onion, lessening the mayo, and basically making them our own.  Oh, and we decided to come up with a lower cost version, since lobster can be upwards of $25 – $30/LB… which gives you almost No lobster meat.  So we found a less expensive option. Langostino lobster tails.  Found at Costco, for $23 / bag.  The bag makes about 6 good-sized lobster rolls.


My Favorite Lobster Roll Recipe

1 LB package Langostino lobster meat (I get mine at Costco)

2 tablespoons Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

3 tablespoons melted butter

4 New England Style hot dog rolls, ones with a split top (you can use regular if you can’t find New England style, which we have never been able to find in Chicago)

4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Chop the lobster meat into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Whisk the mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss the dressing with the lobster meat and set aside.  Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  We like the lobster filling, cold.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add two tablespoons of butter. Toast the outside of the hot dog roll in the skillet until golden brown. Flip and toast the reverse side. Repeat with remaining rolls.  Be careful not to burn the buns, as I tend to do more often than not.

Open each roll and fill with 1/4 of the lobster salad. Drizzle 1 tablespoon melted butter over each roll and top with 1 tablespoon chives. Serve immediately.  Doesn’t get better than this, unless you use real lobster meat, but this langostino version is pretty darned tasty!



Our summer in review - featuring not only pics of us, but some of our favorite haunts and views.


And the summer started with a girl graduating from college.


Two girls, one Prom.  And no, we were not his date.  #spoilsport



I have the Best story of patrons behaving badly, and ripping to shreds the restaurant manager, all over a baby buggy, which was blocking everyone’s path, and the German patrons had no intention of moving it.  #noclass


This is Patrick’s happy place.  Mine as well.





Still not over the Blackhawks not winning the Stanley Cup.



Awkward family selfie.

mer's first day of work


Mer Mer’s first day of work…




Dirty martini and seafood ceviche…happy hour of champions!


view in laguna


My favorite view in the world.






We can do it!




Cakebreak Cellars. The happiest place on earth!  And September starts my wine club with them!  #pinchmeIamsogiddy


terry and kevin donna's wedding




Zack visited twice!


Only thing missing in this picture is me!



One of my favorite pics of the summer…with my high school besties.



Combining pleasure with some work with some of my favorite people, ever!  We insisted on seeing the pictures the photog was taking, and had him delete the ones we didn’t like.  #controlling


First day of Senior year!  But it was still summer!


The girl likes to pose.


Another angle of our favorite view.


Enjoying some wine at lunch overlooking Fisherman’s Wharf.


Just a girl and a boy in a bucket hat, enjoying the beach.  :)



Arlington race track… lots of laughs, not too much in winnings.

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Murph does enjoy lounging on a lounge chair.


AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco.  They service Stella and Napa Valley wines.  What’s not to love?!



View from our home away from home, overlooking the Bay.  We left our hearts in San Francisco. <3


Song of the Day:  Why Can’t I, by Liz Phair

Happy 2-year anniversary Murphy. She came to live with us 2 years ago today and has brought an additional element of  joy and love into our home.




It’s gonna be a great fall!

Go Bears!!  Go Bronco’s (Barrington Bronco’s)





Oh cabana boy!









Life is Short…

22 Aug



casual friday


No blog today, because it’s Casual Friday, and I’m traveling…but just a reminder that Life is short.  Make the most of it.  It’s the only one you got.  Unless you’re a cat…and I’m not a fan of cats…so this is the only one you got!

because life is short


tomorrow is nevefr promised


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Life is short…buy the shoes. :)




Brain Trust Society

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The Ice Bucket Challenge…Raising Awareness for ALS

19 Aug


“I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for” – Lou Gehrig

The Ice Bucket Challenge, has gone viral…with hundreds and thousands, and hundreds of thousands of people doing the ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS awareness, a cause that is close to my family’s heart.  As a matter of fact, I’ve actually had to edit this blog, with current information about 6 times, to try to keep as current and accurate as possible.  #journalismmajor

The Ice Bucket Challenge:  People make a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads, post it on Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites, and then challenge friends to do the same within 24 hours or donate $100 to ALS. (Many do both).   “In the last two weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has quite literally ‘soaked’ the nation,” the ALS Association said on its website. Between July 29 and Aug. 12, the association and its 38 chapters have received $4 million in donations, compared with $1.12 million during the same period last year.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease (MND), is a progressive disease that causes muscle weakness, difficulty speaking and swallowing and generally, complete paralysis. In most cases, while the body continues to deteriorate, the mind remains unaffected. The disease does not discriminate, striking any age, gender and race. In the US, someone is diagnosed every 90 minutes, and approximately 35,000 people are living with ALS at any given time. There is no known cure for ALS and once diagnosed, patients typically live only three to five years.  Right now, there is only one FDA-approved drug to treat the disease, and it only extends survival by a few months.   That’s right, a Few Months.

I am aware that there are many nay-sayers regarding people doing the ice bucket challenge…and I am not going to give them any blog time.   What I would like to say is, the ice bucket challenge, which admittedly did not Start with creating awareness for ALS, seemed to go Viral when it was Tied to ALS.  And correct, perhaps many people are doing the ice bucket challenge and not actually donating to ALS, (, but they are still creating awareness for this disease.  The true win-win is to dump the ice water on your head, and donate to ALS.

Just like Katie Couric taking a colonoscopy on the air helped raise awareness and research dollars for colon cancer, and Susan B. Komen and the pink ribbon  has helped with breast cancer research and Robin Williams’ sad and untimely death, is helping raise awareness for depression…the ice bucket challenge  is helping raise awareness for ALS.   While many people may have heard of Lou Gehrig’s disease,  many people are unaware of the specifics regarding this devastating and deadly disease.  Statistics show that only half of the general public understands ALS, and the viral challenge is making a powerful push toward informing the public about the need to fund research for a cure.    Hopefully, since the onset of this challenge, more people are educated about this horrific disease and the influx of research dollars will help bring us closer to a cure, as well as a reversal for those who already have it.  #hope


According to the New York Times, People have shared more than 1.2 million videos on Facebook between June 1 and Aug. 13 and mentioned the phenomenon more than 2.2 million times on Twitter since July 29, according to those sites. Donations to the ALS Association have spiked. As of Sunday, (updated figures) the association said it had received $13.3 million in donations since July 29, compared with $1.7 million during the same period last year. It said there were about 260,000 new donors. (With a spate of celebrities and business executives joining in over the past few days and pledging contributions, that number is expected to rise.)

I first became aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge, raising awareness for ALS, when Julian Edelman, of the New England Patriots did it on July 29th.  Julian did the ice bucket challenge, in honor of Pete Frates, a Boston College baseball player, who is bring credited as being a Leader of this movement.  Pete Frates has ALS, and he is 29-years old.  This is his story:

The story of Pete Frates

I shared the video of Julian Edelman, (shown below)  with one of my dearest,  Cathy Friedman, who is as much of a Patriots fan, as I am a Bears fan, so she up and did the ice bucket challenge.  My favorite line of hers after she dumped an entire bag of ice into the water bucket,  and poured it over her head, “This is nothing compared to what people with ALS have to endure”.  So True. Love that girl, btw!

Mr. Pete Frates said in a video Last December: “The story right now goes: You’ve got ALS, have it for a little while, a long while, but either way, the end is always the same. ALS always wins. So in order to rewrite the end of it, we need to raise awareness, money.”  And raising awareness and money seems to be happening.




And yes, my family and I have participated as well…Thankfully, I have been unsuccessful at figuring out how to post the video to this blog,  that is not via Youtube, so here is a snap shot of me dumping water on my head.  And, I’m wearing a half zip, because it was 60 degrees out, and I had on a white t-shirt, which you do not want to show “wet”, so I threw on the half zip.  Thanks to Amelia for calling me out, and thank you to my high school friends, Kevin and his hotel, and my Dallas CVB alumni gang, for continuing with the challenge as those that I’ve called out.  #family



Then lucky me, I got nominated twice.  Thank You Steven! xoxo .  And gladly did it twice. :)  Shouting out a nomination to Lora, NKO, and my siblings.


POB ice bucket


mer doing challenge

Mer Mer

A few more of my favorite Ice Bucket Challenges from my favorite peeps…this is only a sampling,  (pictures, not the actual videos) of those who did the challenge while I was penning my blog, and those who either challenged me, or I challenged them.  I wish I could feature everyone.  Perhaps one day.  #longestblogever  #sobbingwhilewriting



















mark bice


joy doing ice bucket



Some others doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, that aren’t as famous as those just featured above.  These are the actual links to the video, while the above were just a snapshot picture.

Bill Gates doing Ice Bucket Challenge



The Kennedy Family doing Ice Bucket Challenge

ethel kennedy


The Chicago Blackhawks doing Ice Bucket Challenge



Charlie Sheen



My family is doing a walk for ALS on September 21st at Soldier Field…which happens to be my birthday.  I cannot think of a better way to spend my birthday, than walking with family and friends for such a great cause, and doing so at my favorite place, Soldier Field!  Join us, Team Kourage, to help raise more funds for this very cruel disease.  To date we have raised almost $5000.  Comment on this blog, or get in touch with me if you want to be part of this great cause and very fun day!  There will be snappy t-shirts provided for Team Kourage, and for all that participate, as well as a post-party.  #bribery




Song of the Day:  Wind Beneath My Wings, by Bette Midler.  Featuring my very favorite beach from the movie, Beaches.  #beachshack.  Ice, Ice Baby, would have been too obvious. :)

Best quote of the week from Meredith:  Watching the many videos of  the ice bucket challenge for ALS, is the new watching soldier’s coming home.  You can’t get enough of watching either.

Someday we’ll be able to name a cure after Lou Gehrig, instead of a disease.  ALS…it’s more common than you think.






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Sources:  PCMA; New York Times


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