Wednesday, February 28, 2018

How to Balance Work and Motherhood

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Being a working mama ain't no joke. It's hard. There's so much to manage. There are definitely positives and minuses to working outside of the home, but the daily grind can really wear you down- especially if you don't learn how to balance your work and motherhood. Even though you'll always feel a little bit torn between work and being home with your baby, being a working mom doesn't have to be a negative. Here are some ways to find a good balance being working and motherhood.

Don't Try to Manage Everything

Here's the truth: if you're trying to do it all yourself, you're going to get overwhelmed. The fact of the matter is that you are working and your spouse probably is too, so you've got to ask for help. Trying to take it all on will just make you blow up eventually. Figure out what you each are best at getting done efficiently and effectively, and then divide and conquer. Don't feel bad about asking for help when it's needed, and take support from family, friends, and others when they offer it. You only have a short amount of time to spend with your child, so maximize it and try to avoid becoming too protective. Just enjoy the time you do have and let things sit sometimes: dishes and cleaning can wait!

Find Childcare You Can Trust

Another thing that you can do is make sure that you line-up your childcare early. Good and reliable childcare really is essential if you want to find the best work and life balance without having to worry every day at work. Check in with other moms in the area, and don't feel bad about asking for a tour or interview if it makes you more comfortable. If you happen to have a job with unpredictable hours, make sure that your daycare provider can handle some extra time and be flexible every now and then, as necessary. If you have to change jobs completely, find out your new hours and flexibility early on, then find childcare that meets those needs. Click here today to get some tips on how to minimize this stress while managing everything else in your life.


Let Go of Guilt and Leave Work at Work

A lot of mothers feel as though they are constantly choosing work over their children even if this is not the case. The constant battle between short-changing yourself and short-changing your child can be hard, and it can be draining as well. Although it can be hard, try to let go of your mom guilt and enjoy the positives of being a working mom: interaction with others, less financial stress, extra insurance benefits, and future retirement and travel freedoms. Let yourself enjoy conversations with folks who can actually talk back, and then leave work at work and come home for intentional time with your little one. It may mean even more since you don't have it all day, every day.


Take Time for Yourself

You may feel as though every second is either put towards working, or looking after your child. You may feel like you don't have any time for yourself at all, and this can really take its toll on you. Though it can be hard, you've got to make sure to give yourself time to relax and do something that you enjoy- maybe it's working out, grabbing coffee with friends, or taking a long bubble bath. Taking this mental time out will really help you feel refreshed, and help you be a better mama and a better, more-balanced employee. In the long run, it's what's best for you kids and family!

What do you do to help balance work and motherhood?


Monday, February 26, 2018

February Recap

February has been a pretty crazy, fun month around here. Between snow days, days off, and conferences, I only worked about 13 days total this month. And I'm not complaining about that! Of course our biggest excitement this month was Eli turning one. Here's his 12 month update and what we've been up to in February.

Eli's Twelve Month Update

Eli is a year old!! I can't wait to share more with you soon about his ONEsie party and all that I've been feeling as a mom of a big one year old. For now, here are his stats and fun new things! Eli is weighing in just under 21 pounds. He is about 31 inches long, and is still wearing size 4 diapers. He still wears a few 9 month outfits, and is mainly in 12 month clothes. It's going to be weird to start transitioning him into 18 month stuff soon! And boy is he growing and learning every single day!!

We made it an entire year nursing, which was my goal, so I'm pretty excited about that. We'll keep working through baby led weaning as Eli eats more and more finger foods on his own- and he can chew them all better with his six teeth (four new ones).  He's still on two two-hour naps a day and sleeps overnight from 7:45-6:15. E had his first Super Bowl party, enjoyed his first Winter Olympics, and had a special first Valentine's Day. 

This month, Eli started saying very distinct syllables in "dog-gie" and "dad-dy". He also learned how to crawl backwards down the stairs, turn his sound machine on, and put together easy puzzles. He LOVES turning the Xbox on and off with the touch button, trying Mama's food, playing with remotes, waving "bye bye" to the bath water when it drains, and making cheesy smiles.

He's very smiley when he sees anyone he knows. He's not walking yet, but is very close to standing on his own. He just loves crawling quickly when he wants to get somewhere, especially his bedroom where he likes to crawl in and shut the door. This little boy is SO sweet and chill and we are beyond blessed and totally in love! He truly gets more and more fun all the time. I will be sharing some fun photos from his bday (and his one year video) here soon!

Valentine's Fun

Aaron and I had a date night in planned, but we had a very sweet "Auntie" who offered to watch Eli for us so we could go out on a weeknight. We took up the offer and had a great night out enjoying our first visit to Christopher Elbow, Mission Taco, and Cleaver and Cork. I love both of my boys so much, and really felt loved that day (and every day)!

Parties and Snow Days for Days! 

We love, love, love hosting things, and February did not disappoint. We helped host a baby shower for a very sweet friend and her little girl on the way, had a couple Bachelor watch parties, and of course threw our little guy his first bday shindig (with two snow days and President's day off all in the same week). There's not much I love more than planning parties, and we're getting ready to throw my little brother his 25th here soon! So much fun!

I hope you've had a wonderful February and are just as ready for warmer weather and spring as we are. I feel like I'm truly putting my word of 2018 (cultivate) to good use, and I'm excited to share more about that later. Love to you all!


Sunday, February 18, 2018

How to Find Balance Between Travel Planning and Spontaneity

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Are you thinking of doing some traveling in the near future? If so, how much planning are you doing ahead of time? Most people want to have a little spontaneity while traveling, while not putting too much at risk along the way (or wasting too much time being indecisive in the moment). Although it can be a constant struggle for a planner like me, it’s certainly possible to balance the planning side of things with the need to keep things a little spontaneous. When you do manage to achieve the perfect blend, you'll walk away with a trip that is reliable, safe, and a whole lot of fun. If you ask me, that’s what traveling should be all about: it makes it possible for you to get the best of both worlds. Here's how to get the balance of your travel plans just right.

Locate Yourself in the Middle of the Action

It’s so much easier to be spontaneous when you’re located right in the heart of the city where everything is happening. There will be plenty of opportunities to do things that you ordinarily would never have done (like wearing trash bag ponchos and scalping tickets to a football game last minute). Of course, it’s a lot harder to be spontaneous when your location is in the middle of nowhere and there’s not much happening near you, so remember that when you start selecting places to stay on your travels.

Plan Where You're Going to Sleep Each Night Ahead of Time

This is one thing you don’t want to leave to chance because, especially when you’re in a new place, it’s always best to know where you’re going to be spending each night. Find a room for rent while you’re still at home and then you'll have the security of knowing that you’ll always have a base to go back to. This doesn’t take away from the spontaneity; if anything it makes it more possible than ever because there’ll be one less thing for you to worry about!

Use an App That Tells You What’s Happening Near You

Modern technology is there to help you when it comes to having a good time in a place you’re visiting for the first time. You can find plenty of local apps that give you good information on what’s happening in the area where you’re located. Don’t forget about these options because they offer you the easiest ways to find what you need to know. From there, you can have fun and do whatever might be happening that day without having to plan it all out in advance.

Find the Cheapest Possible Flights

Finding cheap flights is definitely something that has to be planned. You don’t want to leave things until the last minute and then end up having to pay more to get where you're going. Luckily, that doesn’t have to happen because cheap flights have never been easier to find. There are comparison sites out there that tell you where to go and when to buy if you want to get the best possible deal on your flights, so make the most of those.


Leave Room in Your Schedule Each Day for Exploration

Even if you do want to plan out your days, you can always leave room in your schedule for doing things that you haven’t planned. Leaving a little free time in your schedule will make that possible- and sometimes I've literally scheduled "free time" into the spreadsheet of our travel itinerary. Then you can explore your location and do things that you would otherwise never even known about, let alone planned to do. Make sure you have time for that spontaneity each and every day.

For Activities and Events That Require Tickets, Book Early

There are some activities and events that can get sold out and booked up pretty early, so buy tickets for those early on. You don’t want to show up day off only to find that the things you wanted to do are no longer possible because you didn’t book them in advance. Not everything can be done spur of the moment. It’s just as important to plan out the things that require planning.

Talk to the Locals More

You should definitely make the most of local people and their knowledge of the area you’re in while you’re traveling. They’ll be able to tell you about the places and the activities that you should definitely head to during your stay because they know the place inside out, especially restaurants and fun activities. No one is in a better position to inspire you to do new things spontaneously than local people who know the area well. It all starts with making an effort to talk to them and learn from them.

Research the Public Transportation Options

This is one element of your planning that should definitely be done before you leave home. You need to have a decent idea of how you’re going to get around your location once you’re there. Do you need to rent a car? Or are the trains and buses suitable for your needs? You’ll only be able to be spontaneous and have a good time if you are able to get around easily enough and cheaply enough, so don’t forget about this.

Follow What Sparks Your Interest

If you’re doing something else, but spot something going on that catches your eye, you should just go for it! Too many people make plans and then stick to them more rigidly than they should. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on things that are going on just because you’ve got some other plans you made when you were still back home. That’s never the way it should be when you’re traveling. Be alert to what’s going on around you and follow whatever takes your interest.


Read Bar and Restaurant Reviews

The last thing you want is to have a bad experience in a restaurant. Paying to eat out can be costly, so you don’t want to waste money by eating or drinking in the wrong locations. That’s why you should read reviews of the most popular bars and restaurants in the place that you’re heading to. Doing this will help you avoid wasting your money during your trip, especially on disappointing or bad food.

Don’t be Afraid to Get Lost

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with getting lost, so you shouldn’t be afraid of doing this while traveling. It’s when you get lost (within reason) that some of the most interesting things can happen to you. This is when you learn new things and see new sights on your journey. If you’re too afraid of getting lost, you’ll play it too safe and then there will be no room at all for spontaneity. Stay safe, but give yourself the chance to get a little lost.

Make Sure Your Paperwork and Documentation Are Protected

One thing you can’t be spontaneous about is your paperwork and documentation. If you don’t take the protection of these items seriously, you could lose them, which would make further travel impossible. Not to mention, the dangers and stress caused by losing such important documents when you’re on a foreign country. Just make sure all this stuff is protected whenever you’re traveling anywhere.


Be Open to Things You Normally Wouldn’t Be Open To

Being open to new things means not judging them before you’ve tried them. You’ll never be spontaneous in your approach to travel if you have already decided the things you do and don’t like before you’ve actually tried them. When you’re traveling you have to be open to doing things that you might never normally do back home. It’s all part of the fun!

Keep Yourself Safe

Finally, make sure you take your own personal safety as seriously as you can. After all, nothing is more important than returning home safely. Traveling can be risky and dangerous in some ways, especially if you’re doing it alone. But as long as you know how to be safe and look after yourself, you should be fine.

The best kind of travel always straddles the dividing line between spontaneity and planning, so make sure you remember these tips. It’s more than possible to plan out the things that need to be planned out while also leaving enough room for you to be spontaneous too! Have fun!


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How to Make Your Wedding More Personal

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life, and it's something you've likely been dreaming of for your entire life. Since you'll only be doing it once, you want it to be special- but you should also want it to be you. If you're throwing a huge party for all of your closest family and friends, don't you want it to be a meaningful glimpse into your love story? Here are some ideas to help you make your special day truly about the two of you!

How to Make Your Wedding More Personal

Write Your Own Vows (or A Letter to Each Other)

It can be pretty daunting, but if you’re brave enough to write your own vows and stand up in front of your friends and family to declare your love for one another in your own way, it can really add some special meaning and emotion to the day. Aaron and I didn't actually write our own vows, but we did share a back and forth journal throughout our entire period of dating and engagement. We wrote to each other on our wedding day, and it's so special to look back and read our words to each other!

Make Choices that Reflect You as a Couple

Are you avid adventurers? Did you both meet because of a certain event or hobby? Think about ways you can reflect this in the style or "theme" of your wedding day. Perhaps you dated long distance and have letters from your dating days that can be hung above a table at a "travel" themed wedding. Or maybe you both are very simple and would prefer to skip a wedding cake and go with fun ice-cream sandwiches instead (because you went out for ice cream on your first date). You may not even want to do dinner or may want to have a breakfast or afternoon wedding. Point being, make your day about celebrating your love, and don't worry about doing things just because they are "expected".

Create Your Own Soundtrack

Music is very personal, especially when it is music that you share with your love. Sit down, listen to some of the top live bands for weddings, and create a playlist of all of the songs that accompanied the most special/intimate moments in your life, so you can start your marriage with some musical meaning. Be sure to make them into a CD once the wedding is over, so you can re-listen and relive the memories over and over again. I especially enjoyed picking the songs for our ceremony, as well as the ones that played over the dinner hour before the dancing began. Don't be afraid to choose music that isn't the most "traditional". Choose music that is YOU.

Choose Wedding Rings You Truly Love

You’ll be wearing your wedding ring forever, so it makes sense that BOTH of you choose rings you truly love and which have some kind of deeper meaning for you. All too often it is the bride who chooses the wedding rings, which means they may not be exactly what the groom wants. Instead, take a look at the collection of wedding rings available at and pick something you’ll both adore. If you can get it engraved with a special meaning for you both, then that's even better. My ring was too small to have anything engraved in it, but Aaron's has our wedding date engraved on the inside as a visible reminder of the start of our forever. I also love that Aaron actually picked out my engagement ring himself (and you can read more of that story of our proposal here!).

Use Decorations That Tell Your Story 

Aaron painted the beautiful canvases above when he proposed (again, read that story in the link above). We ended up using them at our wedding as decorations behind our table assignments. Think about different ways that you can use beautiful images and items from your dating and engagement period. This really lets your guests feel like they are a part of your story. Consider adding a wedding slideshow with fun images from your childhood and relationship, or even have a photobooth so that your guests can be a part of your story too! 

Get Your Own Wedding Stamp

If you want your wedding invitations to be totally about you and your beloved, then use a service, like the one at, to create your own wedding stamp that you can use on your invites, save the date cards, and thank you notes. An added bonus is getting one with your address on it so you can use it for years to come when you send mail!

Remember, a wedding is a special day, but a marriage is forever. Have fun planning and personalizing your wedding, but don't let it overshadow your preparation for your actual wedding. How did you personalize your wedding day?


Saturday, February 3, 2018

How to Do Chicago on the Cheap

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie. 

Chicago is a wonderful city, which sometimes has a bad reputation simply because it's cold and windy (as its nickname clearly states). But it's full of history and culture, and is an amazing place to explore. We had a BLAST there on our first babymoon last December- the perfect long weekend getaway. However, like any city, it can be expensive if you're not careful about how you spend your money. Fortunately, there are always ways you can avoid overspending, especially if you plan your trip in advance. Here are some tips for making your Chicago trip more affordable.

How to Do Chicago on the Cheap

Stay Farther Out

There's no denying that staying in a city means paying top dollar to be close to all the main attractions. If you want to stay in the middle of all the action and save money, you could try something like Airbnb (which we've enjoyed hosting through). Another option is simply to find a hotel a little further from the city, which is what we did when we stayed in Evanston. We just used our CTA transit passes and rode the metro right down into the city to see what we wanted for the day. A great Western option is the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg, where you can drive downtown or take the bus. A less central location is often worth it, and will save you hundreds of dollars.

Image: Pixabay

Seek Out Affordable Food

Eating is often another big expense, especially if you eat out for your whole vacation. Some accommodation options will make self-catering easier, but you'll still want to go out to eat sometimes. In Chicago, you'll find plenty of markets, food trucks, and offers on food and drink that will help you save. Go to Maxwell Street Market on a Sunday, and you can find authentic Mexican food at great prices. Food trucks are a good option for lunches, while you should check out the restaurants downtown if you want to find some Happy Hour deals.

Look for Freebies

Free stuff can save you if you're running low on cash. You'll save a lot by looking for anything you can do for free. One thing Chicago offers is free trolleys, which run from the Art Institute of Chicago to Navy Pier. It's a great way to get around if you don't want to spend too much. The trolleys run all week in the summer, and on weekends the rest of the year. You can also find some great free attractions, such as the Lincoln Park Zoo (which we loved visiting for their awesome ZooLights) and Conservatory.

Take Walking Tours

It can be tempting to go on an expensive tour, especially with the Chicago River. But there's no need to pay for a cruise when you can walk along the same path for free and see the same things. Chicago's architecture is particularly attractive, including what you'll find along the Chicago Riverwalk. The Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District in Oak Park is interesting to walk through too, and you can get a tour of the famous architect's house if you're willing to pay for it.

Chicago doesn't have to be expensive if you approach it correctly. Look for the bargains, and you can save a lot of money. Being thrifty while traveling has made all our adventures possible, and we've loved every second! Have any Chicago travel questions (or travel questions in general)? Let me know, or check out my travel tips series on the blog!