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My Go-To Denim

Photos: Jennifer Christine Photography

 

OUTFIT DETAILS

Jeans: Express || Top: Groove Boutique  Similar: Here|| Booties: Target

 

Another weekend has come and gone and this was our last one before school starts! And with school coming that means fall is coming. I’m sharing my favorite jeans from Express on the blog to get ya’ll geared up for the cooler weather. Express denim is currently 40% off and have always been my go-to throughout the years, especially the high waisted ones (cuz this mama has to keep everything sucked in lol). I like to stock up when they are on sale, because you can’t beat $35-$60 for jeans! I’m linking a bunch that I own and others that I definitely want. Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday!

Xo, Brooke

 

SHOP EXPRESS DENIM:

Fashion

My Thoughts On Being a Firefighter’s Wife

Jacket: Groove Boutique
Photos: Jennifer Christine Photography

 

Happy Friday babes! On the blog tonight I wanted to get a little more personal. A lot of you know but some may not, that my husband is a fireman. And with that comes many nights of being away from his family. And it is HARD. So for this post, I’m sharing my thoughts on what it’s like being a firefighter’s wife.



I came from a family where my dad worked a 9-5 job and my mom stayed home to take care of my brother and I. When we first started dating, I wasn’t used to not having Pete home every night. I slowly learned what it was like for him to be gone several times a week for 24 hour periods. There were many family functions, events, holidays or gatherings where I’d show up by myself. And almost every time I did, I’d have 5-6 people say to me, “Pete’s working huh?”. Over time that became routine and I got used to the fact that he wasn’t able to be there for everything because of his career. I grew accustomed to days/nights alone. But then kids came.

 

After Vinny was born, Pete was able to be home for almost a month to help me take care of our new baby boy. Having him there was a breath of fresh air. It felt so “normal” for him to be at the dinner table every night, for bath time, for feedings and for those restless nights. But that first month flew by and he was back at the fire station and I was “left” to fend as a solo mama. And I say that because at the time, that was exactly how I felt. I didn’t know what I was doing with a newborn and there were countless nights I was alone with this brand new baby in our life. But just like when we first started dating, I became accustomed to night’s alone with our Vinny. That didn’t make it easy however when Pete missed all the “firsts” in Vinny’s life. I remember recording his first 365 days to make sure his daddy could see every funny, sad, or silly moment. That was just the way it was.

 

Enter Mia. Here I was, with an 18 month old toddler and a newborn baby girl with a husband who wasn’t getting off work at 5 PM and coming home. That was a hard and trying time in our lives. Resentment set in. I was working part-time and trying to balance it all out with his work schedule. I had to calm down fussiness, diffuse temper tantrums, kiss boo-boos, rock over-tired toddlers, and pretty much play zone defense with two kids on my own. I questioned my strength in being the wife and mom I needed to be. I felt restless, angry, hurt, and overly emotional. My heart sank when I saw couples together with their kids when I was out alone with mine. And mine couldn’t understand why their daddy wasn’t also there.

 

As fast as I could blink, my toddlers became school-age kids. Our family was going through some hardships, all while we had t-ball, golf lessons, gymnastics, dance class, school functions, etc. I didn’t have time to think about Pete being gone, I was in (and still am in) full survival mode. There are days when I’m still not used to this life. But I’ve learned so many things along the way. I’ve felt proud to have my husband as a firefighter. It’s a job he loves and is so dedicated to. And he’s trying to balance it all out too, just like me. I know all those nights of him being gone sank in for him too. He couldn’t be there when he wanted to be. I had to remind myself how lucky I was that I could be there with our kids. That I didn’t have to wake up to a blaring alarm at 2:00 AM (unless you count a newborn cry as one lol) where I had to leap out of bed and save someone. Yes I often ran on little sleep, but not the kind of sleepless nights my husband had. I had to understand his job. I had to do what was necessary for us as family. Because that was always what he did and will continue to do for us.

 

I still to this day try to get used to it. I still feel many emotions being a firefighter’s wife. I still feel sad on Christmas morning when he’s gone. I still walk into family gatherings like a piece of me is missing. I still wish he was there when our son learns a new song at piano lessons or when our daughter has a dance recital. But I’ll never stop telling our babies how hard daddy works to make us happy and how much he sacrifices for our family.

Xo, Brooke

Fashion

How I Feel About School Starting

OUTFIT DETAILS:

 

With only a few short weeks (actually only 2!) of summer break, I find myself feeling short-changed with the time I was able to spend with Vinny and Mia. I remember when May hit and I was so excited to plan out a bucket list of summer adventures we were going to go on. But with work, blogging, unexpected life changes, etc., I’m now looking at the first day of August on the calendar and feeling like I haven’t even scratched the surface of that list.

 

I may sound super dramatic, but I truly cherish these summers with my babies. Now don’t get me wrong, there are hectic days when I think to myself, good Lord when is school gonna start again?! But I know summer after summer, they’ll grow and get older and not want to hang with their mama anymore. So I’m going to be silly, get dirty, let myself be little again for the remainder of our sunny school-less days together. I saw a quote a few weeks ago that said, “You only get 18 summers with your kids. Make.them count.” I plan on doing just that!

Xo, Brooke

Fashion

My Favorite Local Restaurants

OUTFIT DETAILS:

 

Guys, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve published a post! Summer and life in general have both been so crazy this past month. But I’m back and ready to get more posts up for my favorite followers! Today’s blog post is about my top favorite local restaurants in the area. I love food (and I’m pretty sure it loves me back), so I’m breaking down all the best Cleveland has to offer! Plus, who doesn’t love to go out to dinner? It means you don’t have to cook for the night!


 

ITALIAN:

When you’re married to an Italian man, good pasta is a must…

Cafe Toscano, Aurora – Small and quaint, this is one is my absolute favorite local Italian places. Get the lobster ravioli. Your stomach will thank me.

Mia Bella, Cleveland – We pretty much named our daughter (Mia Isabella) after this restaurant. It’s one of Pete and I’s top 10 for all things pasta

Corelone’s, Parma – My family stumbled upon this place many, many years ago and we’ve been there many, many times (my waistband can tell you all about it).

M Italian, Chagrin Falls – Oh em gee. This place is beautiful and the food is to die for.

 


MEXICAN:

Because sometimes all you need is a damn good burrito and extra strong margarita…

Momocho, Cleveland – The atmosphere, the food, the vibes. Everything is fantastic here!

Coastal Taco, Cleveland – This place is the coolest! Grab a taco, Corona and sit outside by the water.

Barrio, Cleveland –  Build your own tacos = a dream come true.

 


CHINESE/JAPANESE:

Five course meals are the best!

Ho Wah, Beachwood – Crab rangoon. Enough said.

Wasabi, Beachwood- More upscale and definitely more bang for your buck!

Wild Ginger, Brooklyn – The place is super cool and the food is almost too pretty to eat.

 


OTHER:

1815 Tavern, Aurora – I love sitting outside here by the fireplace! My go-to is the mushroom wood fired pizza. It’s the key to my heart.

Mabel’s BBQ, Cleveland – Ya’ll know I love a good barbecue meal. This place is one of the best around!

Crop Bistro, Cleveland – This restaurant used to be a bank. Go inside and you’ll never want to leave.

Red, The Steakhouse, Beachwood & Cleveland – One of my favorites for seafood and steak. Be sure to check out the amazing wine selection.

Blue Canyon, Twinsburg – I love that this restaurant looks like an amazing log cabin in the middle of the mountains! I’s the perfect winter dinner spot.

 

Well, those are my top choices for restaurants! It’s always hard to narrow it down for date night, but if we chose any of these, we know it will be good. What are some of your favorite places to eat?

 

Xo, Brooke

 

Fashion

Vionic Store by Lucky Shoes Flip Flop Day & Grand Opening at Crocker Park

 

Happy Thursday ya’ll! If you followed my Insta stories this past Saturday you saw all the shoe-tacular fun I had at the Vionic Store by Lucky Shoes that just opened at Crocker Park! We celebrated the grand opening and Flip Flop Day (who doesn’t love flip flops, especially extremely comfy ones?), and it was such a wonderful experience teaming up with the Vionic family.  The event just so happened to be two days before my birthday, so what better way to celebrate early than with shoes?!

 

 

When I arrived at the event, it was SWARMING with people. I received a bag filled with some awesome goodies (my fav was a beach towel!) and both Tom Luck, the CEO of Lucky Shoes and John Luck, the president of Lucky Shoes, greeted everyone that walked through the door. I was able to chat with them about how they got started in the shoe business and how great the Vionic brand is. Liam Bourke, Vionic’s on-air personality, was also at the event and wow, does he know the ins and outs of these shoes. It was incredibly inspiring to speak with all of them. The employees at this store were all so welcoming and extremely knowledgeable. A huge thanks to every one of them for making it such a terrific event! (And also for making me feel like Cinderella when she tried on the glass slipper).

 

While there, I also had the chance to meet and bond over shoes with another amazing Cleveland blogger, Caroline Tullis from Sweet Caroline Tullis.

 

Just to recap all the great things about the Vionic shoe brand: They all have orthaheel technology which helps to promote alignment. This adds great support and the difference is HUGE. I stood in these heels for 3 1/2 hours at the event and I didn’t feel an ounce of discomfort.  The Vionic shoes range from sneakers, to booties, to wedges, to flip-flops, and much, much more. There’s a shoe style for any occasion, both for women and men. Next time any of you local girls need a new pair of kicks, be sure to head to the Vionic store at Crocker Park! This is the second store to open in the United States (the first in Fairlawn), and I have a feeling they’re going to be plenty more opening in the near future! You can also shop directly from the Vionic website. You can also check out my original Vionic post here to learn more.

 

 

After getting to really know and try out this amazing shoe brand, I’m completely converted now. And as they say in the Vionic world, “Style. It doesn’t have to hurt.” Xo, Brooke

 

 

 

This post is sponsored by Vionic Shoes. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Fashion