Motherhood: Tips for Baby's First Trip


You know how everyone has that Mom friend that just has their shit together? Has all the best tips, tricks and eco-friendly toys/household items? Always seems calm and under control? There's always ONE in the group and as much as I'd love to be her, I actually look to my friend Amy (and Blair!) and her calming/yogi/Mother hen ways. Our husbands have been friends since they were little so we met in our late 20's when our weekend nights still revolved around bars and our mornings were spent at yoga. We've been friends for a while now and have grown closer as our lives have changed, going through pregnancy and Motherhood together, making her one of my best and most reliable friends. She is such an amazing Mom to her little girl Averey (Ro's future wife - No seriously, they are already giving each other kisses!) and whenever I have a question or feel unsure about something baby related, she is one of the first people I turn to. 




Her Family recently took their first trip (as a Fam of 3) to Florida, making it a vacation full of many firsts. I know I am a little apprehensive about the first time we will fly and vacation with Ro, as I'm sure many Mom's feel the same way so I asked her to share a few of her tips and it's no surprise that she was SUPER helpful. Here's what she had to say about traveling with a little one...


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One of my favorite things about planning a vacation is being able to look forward to satisfying a little wanderlust. I’ve done a fair amount of traveling throughout my life from childhood road trips and island stays to California yoga retreats and stay-cations in the beautiful city of Chicago. (You can never go wrong with being a tourist in your own city!) But, when the idea of bringing our 11-month-old, Averey, on a week-long trip to Florida came up, I couldn’t help but feel quite uneasy! Luckily, we had some time to dive right into the research, and here are a few tips and tricks that we found worked best for traveling with a little one!

To set the stage, our vacation consisted of a flight from Chicago to Tampa Bay, Florida, a short drive to visit family, a drive back to Orlando to visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom, then another drive over to the Gulf coast to end our time at the beach. It all took about a week!


We chose to purchase this super light-weight (and affordable) car seat for the flight as well as car rental. It was a nice and snug way for Averey to take her nap on the plane while Mama and Dada had our hands free to read or listen to music. This carrier is a must-have to go along with it. It not only provided an easy way to carry the seat around, but another form of luggage for those straggling items that you just don’t have time to place nicely in the diaper bag. Luckily, Southwest airlines allows you to gate check your stroller and car seat!


Although the car seat was a nice and safe way to transport Averey, my biggest source of worry was keeping her occupied! We had a bag of toys, snacks, etc, but what was truly going to keep her distracted? Screen time. Yes, I know, but a 2+ hour flight totally warranted it, and it worked! We purchased a few accessories like these baby-friendly head phones and a travel activity table. Don’t forget the favorite stuffie and you’re ready to go!



DISNEY WORLD

Walt Disney World’s Baby Care Centers are hidden gems. On a hot day, they provide a chance to cool off, there are several high chairs, changing pads, nursing rooms, and a kitchen with a sink and store with every baby-related amenity you can imagine! We utilized the one in Magic Kingdom a few times, especially with it being a 90-degree day. Our main goals at the Magic Kingdom were to: Meet Mickey Mouse, ride on the infant-friendly rides and have an unforgettable time! All totally attainable with a light-weight umbrella stroller that lays flat for naps, a stroller fan, a light-weight stroller cover and a lot of water to stay hydrated! 

As far as rides, we went on It’s a Small World, Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan. Averey loved them all! She especially loved Mickey Mouse. I’ll admit, I was teary eyed watching her face light up when Mickey Mouse walked over to her. Such an amazing moment! We ended the night with Disney’s magical fireworks show and Averey slept like a log the whole night.


THE BEACH

Averey ended up with a small fever the morning after Disney World (there’s no protection from the thousands of germs crawling all over every object in that place!), but she was in good spirits, so we embarked on our drive to St. Petersburg.Once there, we headed right out to the beach. Is there anything better than a baby on the beach? There’s just something so fun about introducing them to the sand and the water. 

We had a feeling Averey would love the sound of the waves, and she absolutely enjoyed every second! Spending the second leg of our trip beach bumming it was the perfect way to end an eventful and enjoyable vacation. It’s the simple things like stocking up on sun screen, finding a nice beach umbrella to rent and early morning walks (to stay clear of that super strong sun around noon) that  Now that Averey is 14 months, we can’t wait to book our next destination!



Where have you traveled with your little ones? 
What worked best for you? I'll take all the tips!

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Thanks to Amy for sharing her tips and contributing to the Motherhood series!


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A Letter to my Son on His 1st Birthday


My sweet little boo,

Today, you turn 1. You have been on this earth for 365 days and even though I have 30 years on you, no other moment in my life was as special as the day you became my son. I remember it so well: The smells, the anticipation, the unknown. You were due on July 26th but then the first week of August rolled around and you were still nice and cozy so we made the decision to evict you because we were ready…Ready to meet you and show you how much love was waiting for you on the outside. I was induced at midnight on August 2nd, so around 8pm that night, Dad and I went to the last dinner we would ever eat as a Family of two. We sat underneath white lights and watched other people go about their evening with such monotony and routine which was a strange feeling, because it felt like we were just counting down the minutes until our lives would change forever. 



On August 3rd, our hospital room smelled of lavender calming spray and the faces were familiar, yet the expressions were varied because amidst the excitement, there were still so many tense moments. The hours leading up to your arrival seem like a blur and a detailed image seared into my memory, all at once. All the pain and fear I felt during that day suddenly disappeared when we finally saw your face, as if someone had opened a window and let it go free. I will never forget the first thing I said to Dad, through the tears streaming down my face: “He is so tiny!” I couldn’t believe how small you were, the most precious thing I had ever laid my eyes on. It’s hard to believe you can love someone that much the second you meet them, but it’s real and it’s powerful. The love, the attachment, the protection, the punched in the gut feeling you get when you think about something hurting you, seconds after seeing your face.

That first night, I pulled your rolling bassinet right next to my bed and watched you sleep. It was dark outside and in the room but your tiny profile was so clear. You were rolled up tight like a baby burrito, wearing a blue and pink hat and very clearly, sporting my nose. We hadn’t even “officially” named you yet but you were already such a part of me. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. I was overwhelmed with emotion and though I have watched you fall asleep almost every night since that day, I will never forget how you looked on the evening of August 3rd.
The first three months were equally the hardest and best of my life. I was emotional – ALL the time. I cried when I sang you “You are my Sunshine” (and still do - That song just gets to me). I laughed at how your face looked when we burped you (like an old man). I wondered if I would ever feel energized again, because the exhaustion was consuming. We spent so much time just being – sleeping, snuggling, holding, eating, crying, reading, singing. We were up multiple times a night and even though it was tiring, I loved knowing that you were counting on me to comfort you, feed you and help you find your way back to your dreams. It was dark and silent and we were in this together, navigating our way through this new adventure we had begun. We spent this time getting to know each other and it was a relationship I felt so blessed to be in. 




We gave you your first bath in a pasta pot because we felt you were too small for the baby tub – You hated right and rightly so...We had no idea what we were doing! We watched you curl up in a ball on your boppy for naps, after which we sneak out of the room, only to hear you stirring 20 minutes later. We zipped you up in the tiniest swaddles, hoping you would find comfort when moon was high. We read you stories every single night and now, it makes my heart happy to see how much joy you get out of books - Picking ones off your shelf for us to read together. We ate a lot of take out, frozen meals and dinners from our Family (it really does take a village). We went for walks around the block and eventually, to the park which cleared our heads and reminded us that these months were hard but fleeting. 




We heard you belly laugh for the first time and our hearts almost exploded. We watched your eyes light up the first time you saw Mickey Mouse on TV. We sang "Good Morning" to you every day when the sun rose, to which you would smile and kick your feet. You spent hours on your mat, ate your cereal in the giraffe chair and eventually, found so much excitement in the freedom of your walkers, scooting through the kitchen repeatedly. You loved your stacking eggs, the Baby Einstein star and the Little Tikes crab who was just begging you to chase him. You slept all cozy in your rock & play at night but slept better once you were able to turn on your belly in your crib. I kept you in our room as long as possible because I knew once you were in your own, time would move too fast. You loved your swing and it was a sad day for Dad and I when you outgrew it. You loved (and continue to enjoy) the aquarium in your crib and elephant star gazer, both which help you find your way back to sleep at night. 



You did everything ahead of schedule: Started getting teeth at 3 months, walking at 10 months and shortly following, learned how to climb stairs, open doors and basically make our hearts jump out of our chest on a daily basis. Once you began walking, everything was fair game and your curiosity is so precious to watch. You turned into your own little person who prefers strawberries over anything else and dances to anything with a beat ("You Make My Dreams" and "The Wheels on the Bus" are favorites, though). You follow Fitz around the house and laugh at everything he does, especially when he barks. You love being tickled and turned upside down, giggling with glee each time. You listen to us when we're talking as if you understand each word and though I look forward to the day when we can have a conversation, I'll be patient for now (because I know the silence is short-lived).


I know I can't stop time or even pause it, just for a second. I've tried, believe me. No matter how long I linger; Staring at your face, studying your eyelashes, the outline of your mouth or feeling the softness of your feet, it doesn't give us any more time together and really, that's all I want. So many other things used to seem crucial, yet now, I don't even remember what they were. Your happiness and our time as a Family makes everything else seem so small. What saddens me, is that some of the memories have already started to fade. Even though you're only 12 months old, I have a hard time remembering all of the fine details from your first few months of life. Partly because we were just focusing on survival and partly because, the little things tend to fade over time but we have our pictures, our videos and most importantly, the permanent feeling you have created in my heart.


You must always remember:
You are kind. You are smart. You are important. And we are so lucky you are ours.

Happy 1st birthday, my little man...The best is yet to come.

I love you always, 

Your Mama


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Overnight Eye Skin Care

As a Mom, one of the things that has taken a backseat is my beauty and skincare routine. Before I had my son, I didn't realize how much free time I had. I thought it was normal to take a long shower, lollygag in my towel (while mindlessly scrolling Instagram), blow dry my hair, use my wand to create the perfect waves and still have time to apply a full face of makeup and pick out an outfit. These days, I shower right before bed so my hair air dries with its own personality and I run errands or go most places with zero makeup on and a 2-day old pair of shorts - We're talking eyebrows not even done, which is a cardinal sin in my book!

What I'm trying to say is, I'm tired...a lot. And while I've definitely learned to live on less sleep, I still miss having that time to take the best care of myself. Luckily, the world of beauty is basically built on the idea of Mom's losing sleep (and sanity) and comes to our rescue over and over again. My latest superhero is VIIcode, an oxygen eye mask to be worn as an 8-hour overnight treatment while you're sleeping. I love trying all kinds of face masks, so this had me intrigued from the start, but it is different than your typical sheet mask because the VIICode eye pads are actually made of a gel-like substance which has an immediate cooling and refreshing affect when placed on my skin. They are unobtrusive, so I wear them under my glasses and go about my normal pre-bed routine. 





The only thing is, some nights I don't feel in the mood for sleeping in them and if you run into the same issue, you can wear them for 2-4 hours during the day and still achieve the desired effect. One night after I got the baby to sleep, I put the mask on and sat on our deck with my laptop for a little blogging session complete with my favorite Spotify playlist and a glass of wine. It was a warm, humid night so wearing the mask made it feel like I was experiencing a mini facial while getting some work done. I'd say that's multi-tasking at its finest! 




Each box comes with 6 packets and you use the eye masks 2-3 times per week. The VIIcode website says that a full treatment would typically consist of three boxes but even after finishing the one box the team graciously sent me, I felt like the bags under my eyes had started to subside and more than anything, my skin felt SO soft which is most important to me. Sometimes, I just put them on for a few hours while I listen to a podcast or read a book because they feel so nice on my skin and it makes my "me time" even more relaxing which is really all I can ask for these days.


What are your favorite skincare products?
Let me know if you try these out!

This post is in partnership with VIIcode. As always, opinions are entirely my own. 
Thanks for supporting the brands that make Kait Lately possible! 
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5 Years Married, 5 Lessons Learned

It's our 5 year anniversary today! I can't believe how fast time has gone, because some days it seems like we were just doing our food tasting at the Shedd or going for our last dress/suit fittings. Second to Ronan's birthday, it was the most wonderful day of our lives and life has given us so much since then, including a lot of lessons in love. Here's 5 to start...

1. We're in this together: We recently experienced a long stretch of Ronan waking up very unhappy and very often during the night and let me tell you, there's nothing like prolonged loss of sleep to test your abilities to remain patient with one another. But one morning, while Ronan was (finally) still sleeping, we were talking in bed and both agreed, thank God we were going through this with each other. We realized how much better the situation was, just because we were together when we were lying awake in the dark at 2am, wondering if we would ever sleep again. Even though we were exhausted, we worked together diligently to figure out the best way to help our Ronan through trial and error, supporting one another along the way (aka Mike reassuring me I'm doing the right thing when my Mom anxiety crept in!). We've always handled difficult situations as a team  but I think we're even more of a solid unit now as parents. Just knowing you're not alone and feeling the presence of someone else who has your back makes ALL the difference.


2. Everyone's love language is different: This one is SO important. A "love language" sounds like one of those relationship cliches, right? I know, it seems real hokey and self help-ish but the truth is,  I believe in it one hundred percent and I think it applies to all relationships, even those between friends. According to this book, the 5 ways in which people communicate "love" to their partner are: Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Mike and I dated for nearly 7 years before we got married but it was only afterwards when we started living together that I really started to realize how different our love languages are.




This was not a bad thing, but certainly something that needed to be recognized so we could make sure we were communicating effectively. I think everyone identifies with all 5 in one way or another but I would say the physical touch is most important to me, followed closely by words of affirmation. I grew up in a Family that hugged a thousand times a day and each hug was complemented with an "I love you," or "I'm proud of you." (I'm so lucky, right?). However, Mike hasn't always been as demonstrative or outspoken with his feelings so he really resonates with showing love through acts of service. For as long as we've been together, he has always done special things for me: Booked a surprise trip to Disney World to see Christmas Lights before they were discontinued, made me a book of our adventures (just like the movie UP which makes me ball every single time), sat through Taylor Swift (twice!), gives in to staying in Wisconsin an extra night EVERY time, proposing on Catalina Island, creating a memory that would last a lifetime...and so on. Even small things, like doing the dishes early in the morning before I get to them or hanging up a picture I've been wanting to hang for months. He is amazing.


On the opposite hand, it doesn't always come to his mind to hold my hand, linger in a long hug or let me know he thinks I'm going a great job as a Mom, even though I know he thinks that and these things are equally, if not more important to me. And for me, I know he appreciates the smallest acts of service in return, like taking out the garbage so he doesn't have to or cleaning up the yard after the dog (the WORST!), so we've openly talked about this and continue to make sure each other feels heard in what we expect from one another in terms of communication.


3. Accept the quirks: Let's be honest: There are certain things about everyone that really just piss their partner off, no matter how insignificant they are. For example, if Mike were writing his answer to this question, I KNOW he would talk about me moving his stuff around the house. Nothing bothers him more than me moving his "clutter" and him not being able to find it 5 days later. I get it - I do. But I HATE clutter with a OCD-like passion so we are constantly working on finding a middle ground that we can both live with. I think it takes a healthy balance of accepting people for who they are, quirks included yet still working on yourself to just let these things go sometimes. At the end of the day, how important is it that there are socks on the floor or receipts all over the counter? Not very. Note to self: Real life doesn't look like an Instagram feed.



4. Keep creating new experiences: We have always loved traveling together and trying out new things, whether it was our spontaneous trip to Ireland, riding the tallest roller coaster or zip lining over the ocean (still shaking from that one). Now that we have Ronan, our adventures are a little less bold on a regular basis but that doesn't mean we can't find joy and excitement in some of the more simple things. What's great is, basically everything we do with him is a new experience for us too so as long as we're doing it together, we're creating memories that contribute to shaping our relationship. We have loved things like taking him to new parks, swimming for the first time, going to the museum and introducing him to the lake path. As he gets older, we will start to travel more again because not only is that important to us as a couple, but we also want to make sure he gets the chance to see and learn as much as possible, especially when the source is the outdoors, a new town, a different food or unique culture.


5. Our relationship is the most important: We are beyond blessed to have the most amazing support system surrounding us. Both sets of our parents, siblings, extended Family and friends show up for us on a daily basis, providing us with everything we need to feel safe, loved and confident in our decisions as a couple and as parents.






We have the most special son, who has changed our lives forever and has made us forget what life was like before him. He lights up our life with a smile that melts our hearts and has allowed us to truly understand what it's like to wear your heart on the outside of your body, making it vulnerable to hurt and sadness as much as it is to joy and bliss. He is constantly on our minds, every decision revolving around him and his well-being.

But we must remember, it was just the two of us first (well, three - we can't forget our favorite four-legged son!) and it will eventually be the two of us again someday - You know, when Ronan is 40 and is allowed to get married. It's important for couples (especially those with kids) to continue to "date" and pursue their own hobbies, passions and interests outside of children or even the other person now and then. We are each other's person and the foundation of the Family we are building, so our unit must remain strong and independent on its own to continue to flourish for the next 5 years and every one beyond that.




Happy Anniversary, Michael. Family is not just a person but a feeling, a verb and a place where your heart lives and you are mine.

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A Week in Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is a resort town at heart complete with lakeside estates, classic wooden boats and a history of rubbing elbows with the likes of the Wrigleys and Rockefellers. This may sound like a dream come true but for those of us who are lucky to experience the beauty of the town, it’s just the recipe for another day. There’s excitement and a lot to experience year-round but this is a town that wears its brightest colors when the piers are reunited with the water. Summer is my favorite time in LG and we try to spend as much time as possible there during these 3 months. Even if you don’t have roots up north, there’s a good chance you know somebody who does because it’s just one of those places...A place where everybody knows your name and your drink of choice. And I’ll tell you one thing, we've definitely started to feel like locals over the years.

My family bought the house almost 21 years ago and being 10 at the time, I experienced a lot of homesickness early on because I was concerned about what I might be missing at home (you know, 4th grade FOMO) and now, I feel the same heartache when we're not at the lake. I could never have imagined how engrained the water and woods would become in my blood. It is our happy place, a place where life slows down and simplicity is not only revered, but practiced on a daily basis thanks to things like actually waving to your neighbors (whether you know them or not), taking a midday a nap in the hammock and perfect sunsets on a nightly basis. 

*Fun fact: I wrote a few articles for Lake & Country Magazine a few years ago and truly LOVED being a part of the community there. It was a great way to meet people and learn even more about the area. The magazine is a great resource for staying in the loop on what's happening and finding those hidden gems. You can see one of my articles here!



Recently, I've had multiple people ask me our favorite places to eat, drink, etc. in the area and because so many people make it a weekend destination, I figured it would be helpful to compile a list, making it easy to reference. I could never include everything there is to say about the area because not only is that a very long list, but as you can imagine, we have done almost everything LG has to offer in two+ decades so instead of trying to cover it all, I narrowed down some of our go-to spots. Many of these spots are actually in the areas surrounding the town of Lake Geneva but most of them are no more than a 15 minute drive. I certainly don't consider this a comprehensive guide to the area but rather, a few of the highlights that make our journey 80 miles north of Chicago worth the trip...every single time.



WHERE TO STAY:

  • Grand Geneva
    • Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is a Four-Diamond resort with excellent restaurants, championship golf, Villa vacations, relaxing WELL Spa + Salon, winter ski hill and much more. *Fun fact: It originally opened in 1968 as the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel, the lush property served as a luxury escape for Midwest travelers. The first Playboy Club Hotel to open in the U.S., the resort brought a touch of glamour to the small lakeside community. One of the coolest parts of this place? The outdoor fireplace lounge...AND it's pet friendly which a few of you asked me about! This is also a great place to stay with kids because you can take advantage of the indoor waterpark - We will definitely be hitting this up when Ro is a little older.  
  • Maxwell Mansion/Baker House
    • Both of these historic properties opened in the 1800's and continue to maintain their original charm and unique settings. Visit the website to learn more about each hotel and what they have to offer - They are even great places just to stop in for a drink!
  • The Cove
    • This is a budget-friendly hotel located smack dab in the middle of downtown Lake Geneva, so in terms of location, it doesn't get much better than this. They have indoor and outdoor pools (with cabana rentals) and a 24-hour arcade - A kids Summer boredom cure! 
  • Air B&B
    • There are a lot of houses to rent in the area which would be great for an extended Family stay. Shaheen recently wrote a post about their experience if you are interested in doing that (and their house was super cute!).
WHERE WE SHOP:

  • Angelus Home, Garden & Lifestyle
    • This is always a stop on our "girls day out", where my Mom, Lisa, my niece Penny and I take on the town. Angelus is a colorful shop full of an ever-changing display of modern country & cottage home decor. It's full of new, repurposed and hand painted furniture, artisan creations, as well as handcrafted natural soaps and candles and essential oil aromatherapy sprays. Every section of the store is a unique theme, making it easy to spend hours there because there's always something different to look at and it's filled with such clever decor ideas. They even host decorative paint workshops - this is on our must-try list!

  • Twill Cottage
    • You guys, this is the tiniest, cutest store you will ever see. Well, it WAS tiny - They're actually moving to a new location in Walworth later this Summer (congrats to you, Deb!) and we're so excited to see them grow. For the time being, the store is located in a little house and full of modern, farmhouse flair. The store is perfect for a unique gift or a fun addition to your house.
  • Cashmere Compass
    • Stacey's store is a mix of new and quality consignment furniture and home goods as well as gift items in a variety of price ranges.Their goal is to brighten your day, bring some beauty and comfort to you and maybe even help you find something you can bring home to help you keep that warm and cozy feeling going. Stacey's story is actually pretty cool - She grew up here and turned the old bank in town into this store! #girlboss 
  • E Street Denim 
    • If you followed me on Sisters Marie, you know that Lisa and I frequently wore and swapped items from E Street. This place is known for its amazing selection of denim (no shock there), but we love the whole store because we can always count on finding things you don't see anywhere else. The owner, Kasey, is so sweet and always willing to help us narrow down our favorite pieces. Plus, last time we shopped they were making margaritas at the register and handing them out to customers. WINNING.
  • Other fun stores in the area include --> Bloomingbyrds, Edie, The Bottle Shop (for wine!), Elegant Farmer (the most AMAZING pies) and Paws For Treats (for furry friends).

WHERE WE EAT:

*Fun fact: My Mom, Dad and I recently made a list of every restaurant we have eaten at in the area since we bought the house. We even included ones that no longer exist or have changed names and become something else and it was over 100+ places long! It was so fun to recall all the spots where we have created memories or taken different friends and Family over the years. With that said, I could say A LOT in this category - However, you would probably age about 10 years before we finished so I'm keeping this relatively brief with our 3 most visited spots near our home in Fontana. Feel free to ask me about any other restaurant recommendations though, I have A LOT.
  • Gordy's/Chucks
    • If you've been to Fontana, you've definitely been to both of these spots. I even see people wearing merchandise from both places ALL the time at home. I lumped them together because they are right next door to each other and located steps from the lake but that is really where their similarities end. You go to Chucks if you're looking for a laid back beer and burger combo. It's a little more casual, ALWAYS PACKED and definitely the place to be on a warm Summer day - Big party place! Gordy's is a little more Family-friendly (though there's always kids at both places), has a more extensive menu, and requires a little more than just swim trunks and flip flops. Tbh, I think Chucks is great for lunch and Gordy's is nice for Dinner so you can basically just park nearby and spend the whole day there, watching the boats fly by. We are here OFTEN.
  • Pier 290
    • Our Family favorite - I'm sure you've seen this place on my Instagram a thousand times and that's because the setting is just perfect. It's really the only restaurant directly on the water and meets all of the requirements for an amazing dining experience: Unreal views of the lake, a fabulous menu (The watermelon & feta salad is to die for!) and the best al fresco scene. Not to mention, a man-made white sand beach with Adirondack chairs and stone fire pits...it is always 5:00 here. What's cool is, the outdoor patio is open most of the year thanks to heaters and said fire pits, so I always look forward to coming back in layers and boots in the Fall.
    • Order the --> Painkiller! It's SO GOOD.
  • The town of Lake Geneva has SO much to offer --> Check out Oakfire (and their new outdoor deck!), Baker House (also mentioned above as a great hotel!), Medusa, and Simple for breakfast. We also really like Cafe Calamari in Williams Bay...they have a great patio and a salad dressing that's good enough for my Mom to bring home a bottle every time we eat there.
WHERE WE GRAB COFFEE:
  • The Coffee Mill: I can't say enough good things about this place. We have been coming here since it opened many years ago and I don't think we ever spend a weekend at the lake without making (multiple) stops here. The people are so nice, the coffee is delicious and the store is welcoming. Not to mention, it has the cutest decor (a chalk board menu, wire basket lights and a new sitting area that will hit you with all the rustic-chic feels). Plus, they make a baked oatmeal that is out of this world. Their honeybee coffee drink is our go-to in the cooler months. It's made with local honey (like, we've seen the adorable elderly man drop it off, fresh kind of honey, espresso, steamed milk, and nutmeg. Comfort in a cup!
    • Order the --> Iced Aloha Latte (Summertime fave!)

  • Boxed and Burlap: I met the owners (Lindsay and John Neighbors) at a Lake & Country party just before they opened their shop a few years back and their business card alone was enough to peak my interest. The coffee is custom roasted and cannot be found in any other mid-western coffee shop and they offer a full service espresso bar along with a selection of tea and pastry items. The story of the shop is a true American small town dream. It is owned by a husband and wife couple and built through the help of family and friends. The coffeehouse was woven together with the garden center and studio space, so during the warmer months, we stop by to grab a few succulents as we sip our coffee. But this place is so much more than a great coffee house - Their Batten House is home to many activities on a weekly basis including yoga (through Yoga LG), their amazing farmers market, open mic's, and custom events. We are regulars here and as a bonus, the kids love visiting too. My nephew is always up for a chess match against my husband!
    • Order the --> Iced Lavender Latte - I dream of these year round!



WHERE WE GET ICE CREAM:
  • Meggy Moo's Dairy Ripple:
    • This is another spot we have been visiting since we bought the house. It's a tiny, drive-up place located in Walworth with tables in the grassy area nearby and an awesome menu. In the Summer, this place is like gold - The lines wrap around the building and the parking lot is always full but the staff works very hard and you never wait too long. Even if you do, you don't mind because it's just such a fun place to bring your Family. We literally schedule our meals during the day around this place - No matter how much we eat, we always make sure we're going to have room in our bellies and time on the clock to stop here. Everyone gets something different but my go-to is a chocolate flurry with cookie dough. Their real food is awesome too! One of the best burgers I've had.

  • Dip in the Bay:
    • Awesome place to go for REAL ice cream - It's hand-dipped and has some of the most delicious flavors


WHAT WE DO:
  • Walk the Lake Shore Path
    • Probably my #1 favorite thing to do when we're here, no matter WHAT season. It's 21 miles in total but you can walk bits and pieces of it and still experience all of the amazing homes, landscapes and views of the lake. Two Summers ago, we did 15+ miles with our friends - The goal was to finish the whole thing but by the end, we were exhausted and hungry so we resolved to start earlier next time and finish the path in its entirety. If I lived in the area full-time, I would start every morning on this path. I wrote a little bit more about the path in this post if you're interested. 


  • Yoga on the beach (or at Boxed & Burlap) 
    • This is another one of my personal favorites! If you’re a yoga enthusiast, you haven’t experienced true Namaste until you’ve practiced on the beach. Yoga Lake Geneva hosts weekend morning classes outside of Pier 290 where your downward dog is accompanied by calming sound of light waves. The set-up is more than serene; freshly raked sand and a summer sun just beginning to rise over fifty shades of blue. Loaner mats are available, so even if you’re new to yoga, you can bring a friend or your out-of-town guests for a unique experience. It is AWESOME.

  • Visit the Beach
    • We frequent Fontana Beach since it's closer to our house (and tends to be a little quieter, depending on the day) but the beach in Lake Geneva is great too and just steps away from all of the shops and restaurants
  • Rent Bikes - Avant Bicycle or Pedal & Cup: 
    • Pedal & Cup is located just a short distance from Lake Geneva. The eleven-mile trail is flat and wide, making it feasible for all riders. Once you’re finished, return to the shop to enjoy a sandwich and some iced tea (or a smoothie, espresso and so on). By the way, if you're staying at a hotel in the area, they will deliver the bikes to YOU.
  • If it's Raining...
    • Board & Brush - DIY wood sign workshop...Fun girls night out or date night!
    • Old World Wisconsin - This is a cool stop for a Family with slightly older kids. Travel back in time and experience rural Wisconsin as it was a century ago and more when waves of immigrants came to America. You can explore eight ethnic farms and an 1880s village filled with hands-on activities for all ages.
    • Tour Black Point Estate - The Estate and Gardens (which overlooks the lake) was the
      summer home for Chicago beer baron Conrad Seipp and four
      generations of his descendants. Keep in mind, you must take a boat to get here so the weather can't be TOO bad.
    • Lake Geneva Museum -  Visit Main Street as it was years ago and take a look at historic stores, homes, a school room as well as other places. You can actually go into them for a close up look at furniture, clothing, tools, machines, merchandise, photos and other artifacts of daily living. You can get a real feel for lifestyles in the late 19th and early 20th century in the Geneva Lake area.
    • Studio Winery - All their wine is made on-site and they always have live music lined up!
    • Magic Theatre - Master Illusionist, Tristan Crist presents magic up-close and personal. Witness large illusions in an intimate setting, every seat is close to the action. 60 minutes of live magic, comedy and illusion with new tricks added every year. This place gets GREAT reviews!
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“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

This is so true for many of us and perfectly sums up how I feel about our second home. We always roll down the windows in the car when we turn onto our street because I love the way the air smells and how it feels when it fills my lungs. When the weekends wind down and we've exhausted all of the ways we can stay just "one more day," we wave to Family and pull away with sadness, only to begin plotting the next time we can return. We are so blessed to have this place as a part of our lives and I am so excited for Ronan to grow up with it as a part of his...It's full of real life magic.

If you are planning a visit soon, enjoy every minute...Nobody does Summer like Lake Geneva :) And if you have any additional questions or need further recommendations, I am happy to help! Leave them in the comments or feel free to email me: kaitlately@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram. Hope this helps!

See you at the lake,
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