#OOTD Knit Beanie & Reason

Reason for the Season… Check out Liam’s great “reminder” tee as we enter the season of Advent. Plus a little more on our hand knitted beanie from Chipmunk and Company! Continue reading


Thanksgiving 2015 This Thanksgiving morning I am not feeling the best. I am not my strongest. I feel the pain of old injuries and the aches of getting older. My back hurts and I’m feeling defeated. This morning it’s hard … Continue reading

Meri, Meri, MERILOU!

Welcome to Wayzata, MERILOU!

Welcome to Wayzata, MERILOU!

I love shopping. Those of you who know me are aware of this Courtney-ism. Shopping of any kind is just part of who I am. I love clothes, shoes and bags as much as almost anything (save my family, of course!). I would never pass up a good Target run or grocery store trip, either. But my first love in shopping are the clothes, shoes and bags, oh my! And terms of fashion, its undeniable when you meet someone who is in love with a good trip to Nordstrom as much as you – I knew she loved clothes, shoes and bags as much as me the first time I met Keaton Frees.

Keaton and I met when I got into Stella & Dot about five years ago. She was darling, and always put together and reminded me of, well, myself (although I can more often than not be caught in sweats recently – ugh, baby weight..).

Keaton and her husband, Hans, have run a successful small business called Outdoor Excapes in the Lakes area of Wayzata/Minnetonka for quite some time. Her understanding of business, background in interior design and love of fashion clearly helped plant the seed for her most recent success, a new shopping experience in downtown Wayzata, MERILOU boutique.

On a  recent trip to Nashville (we are talking ONLY three months back) Keaton and Hans visited a small clothing boutique, and while walking out Keaton reports thinking, “Someday, I’d like to have a shop like that.” Well, her dream, put into hyper-drive with the addition of business partner Chrissie Boyd, has come true at warp speed.

Today was the Grand Opening of MERILOU boutique and I made my way to Wayzata to check out the newest addition to the main drag. I am happy to report (and not at all surprised, knowing Keaton) that MERILOU is absolutely fabulous! The space, while not too large in scale, offers and intimate shopping experience. The racks are clean and well placed for movement through the space. The product is not overwhelming and completely shoppable – think the POLAR opposite of a bargain basement shopping experience.

Joie suede bootie available in store.

Joie suede bootie available in store.

When placing oneself in this particular commercial shopping area of Wayzata, concern would be competing with the well established Evereve (formerly Hot Mama). While tracking MERLIOU on facebook I wondered about price points, especially with the posting of a darling Joie bootie which I knew to hold a few hundred-dollar price point. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a variety of high-low price points, as well as an abundance of offerings from designers who are hard to find in person in this area including Nicole Miller – Artelier, Badgley Mischka, Donald Pliner, Three Dots and an awesome selection of Joe’s Jeans! Hang on to your Prairie Undergrounds, Evereve, MERILOU is in town!


My Freeway wrap sweater- SOOOO cute!

My Freeway wrap sweater – SOOOO cute!

Love this Free People sheer tuxedo shirt - and they had in solid color, too!

Love this Free People sheer tuxedo shirt – and they had in solid color, too!

My friend Katie picked up two sweaters from Staccato and a t-shirt. One of her sweaters, a loose knit silvery grey number, was less than $30.00, and it was SUPER cute! Overall prices seemed to range from the mid-twenties up to a few hundred dollars. I found the most unique sweater from Freeway, and a top I had not seen before from Free People. I also tried on the softest, high-waisted, black Joe’s legging, but have resisted purchasing bottoms since my pregnancy (I have to wait to shed some Liam lbs before I invest in anymore premium denim).

Home scents, accessories and jewels!

Home scents, accessories and jewels!

Clean and shoppable racks, plus AWESOME wallpaper!

Clean and shoppable racks (not at all overstuffed and hard to manage), plus AWESOME wallpaper!

Beautiful and inviting shoppable moments are found througout the space.

Beautiful and inviting shoppable moments are found throughout the space.

MERLIOU also offers a small but beautiful selection of evening wear, local artisan cuffs and jewelry, home scents, Cole Haan shoes and boots/booties from a variety of other designers. The shoes and home scents are all held in two pretty open hutches/armoires. beautiful lighting over a large table with sweaters and denim center the space and help traffic flow easily through the store. The use of appropriately trendy decor did not escape Keaton, whose background in design shines in the space. The entire boutique and its offerings are welcoming and totally worth the trip to Wayzata for a little shopping and lunch by the lake!

My recommendation, grab your Marc Jacobs or Tory Burch wallet, you gorgeous fashionista, and run, don’t walk, to check out MERILOU!

Even the shopping bags are adorable!

Even the shopping bags are adorable!

Congrats, Keaton and Chrissie. I’ll be sure to see you again soon for more Pretties!



*I was not compensated for or asked to provide a review of or for MERILOU

HO! Oh-No…

Yes folks, that is a space heater. Yep. It is.

Yes folks, that is a space heater. Yep. It is.

I love Christmas. I hate disappointment. I hate to disappoint. I hate to disappoint anyone, but I really hate when it’s one of my kids.

It never seems to fail that something goes wrong during vacations or holidays – times when being in good health is necessary or times when a plumber, handyman or HVAC tech costs three times as much as the would on any given normal day. The furnace is on the fritz. Not normal.

This morning while running around the house I noticed that I felt a chill. A quick mental check followed: Feeling fine, not sick. Physical check: What’s the room temp?? Oh dear, 61 degrees and dropping. Remember, its Minnesota in December and it was -5 degrees outside at the time, so I had little to no hope.

I called my father-in-law who has some knowledge of HVAC. He was on my doorstep within twenty-five minutes (thank God). However, knowing me and my slight obsessiveness for well, all things, I had already lit a fire in the fireplace AND scheduled myself a service call with Dean’s Heating and Air Conditioning, just in case.

My awesome raging fire in the fireplace. Nice.

My awesome raging fire in the fireplace. Nice.

Thank you for calling Dean’s where its a great day. This is Heather. How may I help you?

First of all, it’s not a great day for me, Heather. It might be for you, especially if your tech makes it here for a minimum service call fee of $89 (which I did find reasonable, but I did not admit to Heather). Not to mention I assume you would have a fantastic day if you got to sell me a new furnace. Me, not so much. I might be calling back to cancel if we can get this thing working.

We did, and I did. Regrets…

We had very pleasant Christmas Eve celebrations first at my in-laws and then at my parent’s home. Seeing family was fantastic. The food was excellent everywhere, and the tres leches cake from Cafe Latte was totes amazeballs (is that what the under 25 set use these days to describe total greatness?). And everyone was fascinated with Colin’s Christmas wish – you know, the real live hedgehog.

Where do you get one? How big is it? How big does it get? What does it eat? How do you take care of it?

It came from Wildhearts Hedgehogs in southeastern MN. It is small now, but will grow to be about a pound. It eats cat food. For real. And you take care of it by gently playing with it, helping it socialize, bathing it, oh yeah, and by NOT letting its room temp drop below 72 degrees.

Why the 72 degree room temp, you ask? Well, they are desert animals and if their environment gets too cold they begin to enter false hibernation. This has the potential to be lethal to a hedgie. Excellent. This thing won’t be hard to take care of at all. Not at all.

Wouldn’t you know upon arriving home from Christmas eve events the house temp had once again dipped to 63 and was falling. The plan had been to get the boys in bed, play a little Santa and lastly run over to my sisters and retrieve the hog to place under the tree. Well now, that last part definitely can’t happen. How depressing would it be to have Colin open his falsely hibernating hedgehog, not to mention emotionally scarring for a hopeful six-year-old.

Brian worked hard to get the stupid furnace blowing, but we have a bad sensor (a problem previously encountered) and the wrong tools for the job. Brian is certainly skilled at his trade, but mechanical issues are neither his, nor my strong suit. At least he knows what tools would be needed in a given situation. Again, me, not so much. What do you mean you can’t use a regular screw diver (pointy or flat) instead of a socket something or other? Don’t they do the same thing? No? Fine.

The air is still chilly and we have no real way of doing much about it at 1:00am on Christmas. So now I arrive at the potential disappointment of my son when he eagerly runs toward the tree looking for his hedgehog, only to find it’s nowhere in sight. No cage, no wheel, no cat food. Bummer. The hog will have to remain in my sister’s toasty laundry room just a tiny bit longer.

What to do? I thought, searched, and came up with a reasonably decent solution, but we’ll have to see how it passes the sniff test in the morning. A small hedgehog toy, purchased at Pottery Barn Kids – meant for Colin but not in said situation. A box with holes, meant for the hedgehog who is not here. And a note from the Big Guy himself written in my rarely seen and incredibly terrible cursive.

Stuffed replacement player. PBK Hedgehog finger puppet. Not even close to the real thing.

Stuffed replacement player. PBK Hedgehog finger puppet. Not even close to the real thing.

Dear Colin,

Your house was too cold for the hedgehog I brought you so I sent him to Brooks’ house. He is in your aunt Elbee’s laundry room. You can meet him later today!

Merry Christmas


I think this whole situation qualifies as a HO! Oh-No moment in time.

I dread Colin’s reaction although I am sure he will be good-natured and excited to visit his new pet. I also, and more so, dread the call I might have to make in the morning. Thanks for calling Dean’s where it’s a great day.

HO! Oh-No it isn’t, Heather. I thought I told you that yesterday!