Lake Barrington stay-at-home mother Ali Pallone admits that her four children (including 1-year-old Mackenzie, 4-year-old Stella, 9-year-old Mia, and 14-year-old Zach) keep her busy. “Some days I feel like a rock star and other days a complete hot mess,” jokes Pallone, who has an interior design degree and recently launched a blog at rustedhydrangea.com.
“But I love the crazy. One day they will all grow up and it will all be over in the blink of an eye.” All things considered, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “These four kids are my everything and my very first priority,” she says, adding that being married for 15 years to a supportive partner helps make it all possible. Here are some of this busy mom’s favorites from around country and town.
Mantra? I truly believe everything happens for a reason. God has a plan.
Best grooming tip? Take care of your skin. Get on a good regimen. I love Rodan & Fields reverse and hydration serum.
Guilty pleasure? I love chocolate and s’mores are one of my favorites. McDonalds Coke is the best. For red wine, I choose Cabernet.
Favorite foods? Pasta, filet mignon, and I love Mexican food
Music you love? I listen to music all day long. My Bose speaker is always playing Pandora radio. Country, pop, oldies like Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, love 80s love songs, and I really like the piano guys. I love Christmas music and I’m one of those who listens to it early.
Best advice ever given to you? Pray. Wait for an answer and it will come.
Best advice you’ve given? You can’t change a person unless they want to change first.
Earliest memory? Going up to my grandma and grandpa’s cottage, taking the canoe out with a packed lunch to the sand bar, and hanging out there all day long building sand castles with my grandpa while my grandma sun bathed.
When you wake up, you…? The baby is my alarm. Get her up. Diaper changed. Bottle. Make my coffee. Diffuse oil in my Young Living diffuser to help start the day.
Before bed, you…? Let the dog out, set the alarm, tidy up the main floor, brush teeth and wash face. Then I make my rounds for re-tucks and kisses, check emails, say my prayers, and lights out.
You can’t live without? God, my family, and friends. Coffee in the morning, kissing my babies, and wine.
Love to escape to? Disney with the kids, or Playa Del Carmen, or Hawaii on the big island in Kona at the Four Seasons. I also want to explore Italy.
Advice you would give to your younger self? The mess and laundry will always be there and can wait. Go make memories.
WHEN IN THE COUNTRY
Your style is? Preppy and comfy. I love a great pair of denim paired with a top usually from Free People or American Eagle during the day. Night out is a nice pair of pants and a cute top or sweater.
Can’t leave the house without? iPhone & sunglasses
Driving music? 99.5 and I like 101.9 Eric and Kathy in the morning
Place to eat? Some favorites include Shakou, Zaza’s, Francesca’s, and Egg Harbor. I do love Shirley’s Piano Bar for a late-night drink and some fun music.
Shop? Nordstrom, Homegoods, One Girl, Pottery Barn, and Evereve
Best thing about Country? The farmland, barns, and animals. Nature, lakes, and the sounds.
Worst thing about Country? The freight trains and the bugs
The perfect day is…? Waking up to sunshine and everyone sleeping through the night. Starting off with coffee and walk around the lake with my kids. It ends by cuddling up with the kids, reading a book or watching a movie.
WHEN IN TOWN
Your style is? Fancy and fun, which usually means a date night or out with friends and no kids.
Can’t leave the house without? Suitcase. Usually we stay the night at a hotel.
Transportation? Our truck
Driving music? Van Morrison, Billy Currington, and Luke Bryan
Place to eat? RPM Steak, Carmines, and Luxe Café
Shop? Water Tower Place and Michigan Avenue is always fun.
Best thing about Town? The architecture and buildings; city noise and watching the people; Christmas time and decorations.
Worst thing about town? Parking and traffic
The perfect day is…? Great weather for walking the streets, breakfast outside while watching the urban hustle and bustle, and then shopping and hitting a museum or strolling through a park with the kids (with a packed picnic lunch and watching them run all around and grabbing some ice cream). On the way home, they are all passed out from the fresh air and busy city life, and I can listen to my music.