Being Wrinkly is Not A-Cute 

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I think it would be a bit of an understatement to say that I am psychotically vigilant about my face. I put my skin in the same category as my weight and my parenting skills; I was not blessed by being naturally perfect in these areas. Not even close. I have to be mindful of my weaknesses every day… And if I don’t, I wind up with a face full of craters, an incredibly fat ass and a child in inpatient therapy.

But hard work and focus really does pay off in every category. Unfortunately, the amount of work necessary to keep the wheels on this bus seem to be ever-increasing as time wears on. A few dermatologist appointments ago, my doctor mentioned that the skin underneath my eyes was really starting to get crepey. Nobody wants to be called the “c” word and crepey is my “c” word.

I was offered two options by my self-described “conservative” dermatologist – I could get a lower blepharoplasty (eye SURGERY) for about $3k or start Pellevé treatment, which would run me about $750 but not show nearly as dramatic results. WAHHHHH! I will say that she wasn’t recommending surgery for me whatsoever (phew). But by recommending a treatment that might only marginally improve things, I think she was subtly telling me that I needed to give up the dream of staying youthful.

You know what I said? HELL. NO. (Actually, I said “fill me up with Botox”, then paid my bill and politely thanked her. But let’s not argue the finer points.)

I left that day feeling sad and kind of hopeless. This is an exact reenactment of me going home that day:

Thankfully the story doesn’t end there. Because that would be depressing. And having that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day (you’re welcome) is going to be depressing enough.

So what’s a girl to do?! I recently threw out ALL of my old skincare stuff in order to start a new regimen from scratch (I’ll tell you all about that later). Because of this I had a refrigerator-size (not kidding) box of new products that I was testing. One of those products – Acute Care – had been getting a huge amount of hype for being a way to aggressively treat wrinkles at home.

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Well I aggressively treat wrinkles at a doctor’s office, so how useful could this be? To me this would be like playing with Matchbox cars when you have a Ferrari in the garage. But my Ferrari (other than being totally fictitious) was busted, so Matchbox cars it was!

My Acute Care was at the absolute BOTTOM of my testing box. I had given half of the sample to my mother and promptly ignored the rest. (Important to note, my mother also called to tell me how they actually worked but I ignored that as well. Just like her advice about men and getting drunk in public.)

To make a long story short, I begrudgingly put these little patches on the area under my eyes and went to sleep, dreaming of my now-needed plastic surgery and my future as a Jocelyn Wildenstein (don’t click it… you did, didn’t you?) look-alike. I woke up and… THE WRINKLES WERE GONE. Every one of them. I couldn’t believe it. And they stayed gone, by using the patches just two times a week for a month. (Apparently after the first month you only have to use them every two to three months as needed.)

So you’d better believe that I grabbed my new super secret product and trotted it right down to my doctor to see what she had to say. “Oh yeah! They are fantastic aren’t they?!” She went on to say that she didn’t recommend them because they weren’t on sale to the general public. She did not go on to say that they cost nearly 70% LESS than the CHEAPEST approach she had offered. Um, W.T.F.

But guess what is going on public sale as I type this now??? You guessed it.

I am still a huge fan of fillers and Botox and that will not change. They work REALLY well and have served me reliably since 2006. However, if you are ever faced with a problem area that can’t be injected (like my lower eyes) or if you don’t want to be bothered (or pay the $$$) to go to the doctor every few months, I highly recommend checking Acute Care out. (Buy it directly HERE.)

What I don’t recommend? Giving up the dream of being pretty at any age! And meth. I don’t recommend meth.

Kiss.001

 

 

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Llamas! (Not Lorenzo) 

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Last week was a pretty thrilling one if you care at all about things going viral. I really CAN’T when it comes to #TheDress. I saw #whiteandgold. Then a day later I magically saw #blackandblue. You know what I always saw? A REALLY ugly dress. Over it.

But I still can’t get over those llamas.

I could literally spend DAYS watching these out of shape men chasing two camelids about town (and you bet I did!), especially when these animals make a FOOL out of them. I have always been #TeamLlama, as evidenced by the artwork in my home. I currently have these hanging together in my dining area.

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I simply love everything and anything Gray Malin. But Gray Malin + llamas? That’s like PB + J, Milk + Cookies… Hall + Oates. Basically, PERFECTION.

Kiss.001

 

 

 

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Cooking Without Killing 

I seriously hate to cook. My mother is a fantastic cook. My father is a whiz on the grill. My brothers both have serious skills in the kitchen. My sister can eat for a week on $2.79 (I think that is a talent?). I’ve got nothing but a “Best in Show” ribbon from the 1989 Manatee County Fair for baking (I really wish I had a picture to document that one)… and then it ends.

Thankfully I have a kind husband that was totally willing to let me slide in that department and allowed me to order out constantly. Only problem? We were not only totally unhealthy, we were all getting totally fat.

In an attempt to get us on the healthy eating train, I subscribed to eMeals, a meal plan based on family size (they say) and eating preferences. Since we are a family of three, I signed up for the two person plan, opting for the “Low Calorie” option. I was fully committed to eMeals… for exactly one week. Not only did nobody eat anything, the recipes made enough food for us to survive for a month on. And I found myself crying in the kitchen more than once because they were so difficult (mind you, before this point I was only making grilled cheese and things heated in the microwave, but still).

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Seeing my despair, my mother sent me a link to Supper Club by Skinny Mom. Like eMeals, Skinny Mom offers meal plans and corresponding shopping lists for healthy family dinners. But unlike eMeals, it is FREE, incredibly easy to put together (even for me!) and really, really tasty. (My husband’s favorite meal so far is the Stuffed Pepper Casserole. Mine is the Skinny Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken.)

I have been doing these for three months now and I am actually starting to look forward to making dinner every night. Not only am I more confident in the kitchen, I am more confident in my appearance. And although I may have lost 20 pounds since starting (this change in diet paired with a considerable increase in exercise), my husband has easily lost the same (with relatively no increase in exercise)! It’s a win/win!!

Now that my addiction to junk food is kicked maybe I will have to time to dedicate to my all-encompassing addiction to boy bands.

Kiss.001

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Over My Dead Body 

I will admit it. This winter in Chicago has not been too bad. I braced for the worse and it didn’t come (yes, I realize that winter is not over and I am undoubtedly cursing myself for saying this). But that doesn’t mean that I am not super excited about Spring!!!

I mean, it is impossible not to be. Trips to warm weather locales have been booked for Spring Break. Stores are flooded with warm weather merchandise. I have even lost enough weight to not be completely paralyzed by the thought of wearing shorts! These are good days.

Out of everything Spring that is floating out there, I am MOST obsessed with the Clover Canyon Spring 2015 line that has hit stores. Obviously, I am not a shy dresser. However, I really started gravitating towards a more relaxed, athletic look in my casual wear. That being said, I certainly don’t want to look mundane. Clover Canyon is anything but.

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Obviously love the prints.

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And I am really excited to see the addition of a lot more loose, flowing elements to their standard neoprene fare. But can I tell you my favorite part???

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The shoes! Until this year, I have been all about heels, heels and more heels. But since I moved to the city, started having a more active child and incorporated running into my lifestyle, I have changed my tune a bit (I have not, however, changed my feelings about Uggs). These shoes allow me the best of both worlds!

Only problem? I can’t find them ANYWHERE! Even the Clover Canyon site doesn’t sell them. Nor do any other stores that stock the brand. WTF.

So of course I have to find an acceptable replacement STAT. And, darn it,  I found them. Cheap. More versatile solid color. Super cute. The shocking surprise: They are TEVAS.

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There are several people who are laughing at me right now because I swore that I would never put a pair of those God-forsaken things on my feet. But Teva upped their game and for that, they earned my business. Twice. Because I had to buy both colors.

So yeah, you may catch me wearing something I swore I would never be caught dead in. But they are at least the coolest ones out there, so I retain some shred of dignity. Not that I had any to begin with.

Kiss.001

 

 

 

 

 

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Burning Down the House 

Right now my house smells like what Keith Richards looks like. And coming from a person that is pretty obsessed with her overall home environment, this is not a good thing. Also not a good thing? My lack of memory function and subsequent inability to blow out a candle.

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After I watched a restaurant across the street from my apartment building catch on fire and burn to the ground (bad), despite the attention of 125 Chicago firemen (good, reeeeal good), I decided that I might retire the candles once and for all. Unfortunately this left me with an unscented home. Actually, it left me with a decrepit senior pug-smelling home, which is obviously worse.

I love candles! You can pick one that is subtle in both aesthetics and your nostrils. So the search began for an acceptable replacement.

I have tried the melted wax… I just never really loved the look of the diffuser or having to buy them from a “party” (how can you have a party where the main goal isn’t to throw up in a bush at the end of the night?). I have tried diffuser sticks… How is this even a thing?

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I even contacted the company I used to work with to “scent” casinos. Surely if you can mask the odor of cigarettes and desperation, you can cover up dog and husband smells? (Spoiler: The answer is no.) The home version costs $150 for the “distributor” and $40+ a MONTH for the scent cartridges. Result? You get 2-3 days of a migraine-inducing level of scent followed by… nothing. And the unit is UGLY.

 

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FINALLY, I found the JASMINE. Let’s be real, the only reason I really looked at it is because it was so cute. I like a contemporary look to my home, but even if you were into country classic (*shudder*), this unit wouldn’t look out of place. The white just blends into the environment and you hardly notice it at all.

 

But lucky for me, it comes in color too!!! PINK!

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It is also relatively inexpensive ($60 for the unit) and you can use any essential oils you might already have lying around. It also has a scent level quite similar to a candle, so you don’t have to worry about knocking anyone out when they walk in the door.

Unlike this stinker.

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Kiss.001

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My Brain is Not Normal 

Sometimes people ask me what my “process” is for writing. That makes me laugh.

Sunday night I was (duh) watching the Oscar Red Carpet and trying to figure out something to write about for today at the same time. I really didn’t want to write about the fashion because 1) who wants to read about it a day after the fact and 2) I am trying to be less bitchy for lent (this also makes me laugh).

In the end, I remembered something I really wanted to tell you all about. But sometimes it is more about the journey than the end result, so here is my “process”:

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Well, there goes Lent.

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J-Lo’s boobs are to red carpets what photos are to friends’ stories on Facebook. Show ‘em or it didn’t happen.

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It always impresses me that Justin Theroux shows up to award shows wearing more eye makeup than Jennifer Aniston. Every. Time.

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Shit. I still have to do the dishes…

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I have zero idea who this woman is but once I start doing outfit posts again, I am totally copying her swag. Except when I do it, I will just look like I have lower back pain and am staring at a vat of cream cheese frosting.

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My FAVORITE look of the night!!!  Although Naomi is clearly not human, it is really nice to see that someone in her 40s can look totally hot while not being a total exhibitionist *cough, JLo*. It is even nicer to see an actress of her age without cheek implants.

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This is definitely my #2 favorite look. I thought American Sniper was kind of boring and am not at all into the politics behind the movie.  But Taya Kyle is a normal mom, in a simply lovely green frock, totally rocking the red carpet. Now THAT is inspirational.

Green…. #2….. OMG! I have to tell everyone about this supplement I have been taking!!! Macro Greens by MacroLife.

greensIt is probably pretty insulting that I jumped from this nice lady to a green powder that makes my poop a funny color, but that’s just how it happens.

Either way, this is some great stuff.  I was investigating ALOHA after hearing some great buzz about it. However, a nutritionist I have been talking to led me to Macro Greens instead. They are both nutrient-packed powders that can be mixed into any drink (or recipe if you are feeling particularly adventurous) and give you the raw food nutrition of vegetables and fruits.  In Macro Greens case though, each scoop is equivalent to five servings (vs 2 for ALOHA) and it is MUCH cheaper ($.58 a serving for MG vs $3 for ALOHA).

At the end of the day, I am still trying to be better about getting more real vegetables and fruit into my diet. However, since I have started using this, I have certainly felt more energized and generally less gross (I know, very technical). I mix mine into a Nalgene bottle with 32 oz. of water and a squirt of Dasani Pineapple Coconut drops. It may not taste exactly like a Piña Colada (okay, not even close), but I think it is pretty tasty and tropical nonetheless.

Hope your Oscar night was a good one! Or at the very least better than Scarlett’s.

travoltakiss

Kiss.001

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Lies My Father Told Me 

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I love my dad.

He gave me my sense of humor and, as my husband always tells me, complete lack of emotion and decorum. (I am guessing that this is because I hate weddings and love to fart.)

He gave me my ability to slay any standardized test, thereby requiring me to put in no real effort at school/work/life. He also subtly gave me the knowledge that if you look cute and act coy, you can do even LESS work! (Shout out to my husband for actually falling for that one.)

He gave me my love of hanging out all day without a shirt on.  And taught me why it is important to actually put more than your underpants on to go shopping. (Seriously, I am sure at least 90% of my hometown has seen that man out running errands in his undershirt.)

I can’t even begin to put a comprehensive list of all the things he has given me in my life (including, but not limited to, buying me a fake leg). However, I can think of only three flat-out lies my dad has told me through the years.

1) “You have always been beautiful.” For Christ’s sake, this man allowed me to go to school with a pencil hanging from my (Guess!) pocket. And the hair… we won’t even go there.

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2) “You will never make the cheerleading team.” My dad actually challenged me to a cheer off in order to show me that a 45 year-old man would do a better job at it.  Sadly, the lie wasn’t that he was a better cheerleader.

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3) “You will never be able to run”. This was stated after the episode (to be detailed later when I can actually find the emergency room photos) where he was forced to buy me said fake leg.

Honestly, that statement never bothered me and I used it as an excuse for the next 15+ years as I climbed the eternal staircase to nowhere at the gym. But this year something changed. I saw runners my age EVERYWHERE on social media and they all looked so incredibly happy. Happy!  (They also had incredible legs, which was my main motivation, but we can just pretend I am in it purely for the happiness factor.)

Anyhow, I started running back in September using this app on my iPhone. I could run for exactly 30 seconds before I wanted to die, which shows you exactly how in shape doing an elliptical machine for 15 years will make you. Five months later, I can run 10 miles at a time… and I don’t even want to die after!

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Needless to say, attempting to become a runner has been life changing.  I am obsessed with races, running shoes and finisher’s medals. Who knew that I would trade in my obsession for gems and baubles for a bunch of plated medal on a ribbon? Totally counterintuitive.

I am hoping to run at least two half marathons and one full marathon this year. But even if I don’t complete the goals, I am still pretty thrilled with all the progress I have made… And the fact that I have proven my father wrong once again.

So what’s my general takeaway about fatherly advice now? Listen to your heart and ignore any advice that you know is or really want to be wrong.

Unless someone is advising you not to do porn.

Best not to ignore that one.

Kiss.001

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Ch-ch-ch-changes! 

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Hi everyone! And by everyone, I mean the three people (two of those who are probably my mom) who still check the site every day to see if/when I will resurface.

As was abundantly clear in everything I did, said and breathed, I had a not-so fun time living in Cincinnati a year ago. And when I moved to Chicago, I think everyone was pretty much sure, given the even colder climate, that I would make a running leap off the top of my apartment building. But guess what? I did even worse! I gained 25 pounds!!!

Luckily (if there is such a thing in becoming a total fat ass) for me, it was because I was so happy in this new city. I wasn’t being compulsive (clearly) about diet or exercise or beauty; I was just enjoying Chicago and my family. But being the Patron Saint of Vanity that I naturally am, this time of freedom and gaiety had to come to an end. As much as I make fun of my being chubby and old, I have gotten to a point in my life that feeling good inside is more important than how I look on the outside. However, I felt like total shit. I was eating crap, feeling tired and irritable and – shocker – totally looked the part.

I knew that I eventually wanted to come back to the site, but wanted it to be on a positive note. I think everyone was totally over my Debbie Downer-esque style of writing while I was in Ohio. So I made some HUGE changes in my lifestyle, in areas that are WERE dark, scary places for me. And not only did I come out on the other end, I blasted out full of energy, 20 pounds lighter (I will attribute that last lingering 5 pounds to muscle gain… or bigger boobs?) and glowing like a post-Photoshop Beyoncé.

But where did that leave Frenemom? I was honestly concerned. There are some areas of my life that have changed so much since I launched the site that I was afraid that I was possibly no longer relevant or recognizable to my (hopefully not former) readers.

But then I snapped out of my “participation medals for everyone!” mentality and remembered something. I am not that special. We are all constantly changing and seeking out the best possible versions of ourselves. That is why I started the site in the first place!  To record my journey and experiences in hopes that others will find some inspiration and help along the way.

So, starting on Monday, I will tell you everything. And hopefully a few people more than my mom and my mom will come along for the ride. xoxo.

Kiss.001

P.S. I’m still blonde. And I still swear. :)

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Caveman Confession: I Shave My Face 

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Oh yes, you heard that right. I shave my face. And I have been doing it for a while now.

Now that I have been through cystic acne, a round of Accutane and the usual paranoia of getting really old in the face, I have become somewhat of a skin care obsessive. I have my dermatologist on speed dial. I have a “routine” (and unlike my past routines, I make sure I do it every night even if I am a hot drunk mess). I am a warrior!

My first foray into face shaving came when I had a chemical peel done at my derm’s. It included “dermaplaning”, which is a very fancy way of saying that someone else is going to shave your face. The results were great – my pores were unclogged, my skin was super soft and I glowed like f*cking Beyoncé. But as much as I would love to get a medical facial every week, the cost is really prohibitive. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, kick out $5 for some facial razors and call it a day! The at home process is super simple – with a clean, dry face hold your skin taut, position the razor at a 45 degree angle to your skin and use short, quick strokes to scrape away dead skin and peach fuzz. Questions?

Will my hair grow back dark and thick? Do you really think I would even try it if there was a remote chance? I know I am a nutcase, but COME ON. Your hair will grow back the exact same color and texture it was prior to shaving. And I have not noticed a speed in growth whatsoever. I have, however, noticed that I am constantly checking out my facial hair (and lack thereof) so I would assume by doing this you might experience a more heightened awareness of your facial hair situation as well. And that is probably a good thing, you hairy beast you.

Can I just use the razors I use on my legs? Go ahead, try that out and let me know how that works. I would normally say that only an idiot would use something meant for their legs on their face, but I have used hemorrhoid cream on my face before. And that is clearly meant for assholes. Literally.

Is there a special brand you recommend? Apparently we Americans think facial shaving in women is seriously taboo because you can not find a “women’s facial razor” at your local drugstore (which is a shame given the number of women in full beards/mustaches walking around). THESE Tinkle (tee hee) razors are the exact ones I use (notice that they have taken to calling them “eyebrow shapers”), but you can also find similar versions by Shiseido and Gabriella.

What is the difference between doing it at home vs. at your doctor’s office? You can’t sue if your face gets sliced up? I kid, I kid. Obviously you get more intense results when you pair a dermaplaning session with a chemical peel. But I have had absolutely fantastic results pairing my at home shave with a good night cream and retinoid. By brushing away all of those dead cells, your skin absorbs all of the good stuff you are putting on it SO much better.

What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Kiss.001

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Sunday Funday: Ravenswood 

This Sunday, we set out to explore another neighborhood of Chicago – Ravenswood – and all of its culture, cuisine and cocktails.

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I have passed along my addiction to public transportation with my family. I really need to pass along some paranoia of communicable disease, because Pickle is not at all afraid to touch anything.

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Pictured below are probably going to be some of the first victims of the Ebola virus once it hits Chicago.

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Because I am no dummy, I planned to feed my family before setting out to do anything remotely cultural.  This plan slightly backfired when we arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes before it opened. But we had our pick of seats!

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On recommendation, we chose to dine at Spacca Napoli, an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria.  I love Chicago, but I HATE Chicago deep dish pizza. So finding this place in a sea of doughy, wet crusts was so refreshing.

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Today, I chose to indulge in a Vino Rosato – Susucaru No. 5 – which was super acidic and dry. And even more potent!  Highly recommended.

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Someone was feeling left out.

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We started our meal with burrata and toast.  It was divine. It was also the size of my two fists put together!

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Now to the main show, the wood-fired pizza….

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Because (as you have most certainly discovered by now) my child only eats cheese/starch derivatives, our first pizza was Quattro Formaggi.

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We went out on a limb and dove into the pizza special – a prosciutto and fig pizza. “Special” was an understatement.

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Half drunk and stuffed, we moved out to explore the Ravenswood Art Walk. It was a perfect day to take a walk… And every day is a perfect day for art!

Another family picture! Can you spy the third member of our party????

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{On Pickle – jacket: Mini Boden, boots: EMU Australia}

{On AA – cape: Burberry (similar), sweater – Vince, hat – Eugenia Kim (similar), bag – Balenciaga}

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I thought that the food coma would buy me some time to really explore the exhibits, but apparently the wine made me delusional. Although I did get to explore several galleries, you only get two pictures. Two!

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And instead of buying art, we ended up buying chocolate.  Surprise, surprise.

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Margie’s Candies was pretty adorable, even if it wasn’t cultural.

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A sweet ending to another sweet Sunday!

Kiss.001

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