Thursday, June 24, 2010

Alaskan Adventure

We recently returned from a just shy of a week trip to Alaska. To say that is was beautiful would be an understatement. Never before have I seen such vast, untouched land. And the land that has been touched, has been caressed ever so gently so as not to perturb any of the natural dwellers.

I could get into the day by day play of our trip, but I don't think I could recreate some of the more special moments. Not that I have anything against sharing, but I like to keep some things sacred (read: off the damn internet). So instead of a narration, I have offered a few glimspes into our journey, caption free.

Furthermore, this trip to Alaska solidified two things for me. 1) That I want to move out to the Pacific northwest as soon as I can. and 2) That travel and exploration are what bring me to the contention that I often long for in the city. It is when I am taken out of my comfort zone that I truly feel the most comfortable, the most at home.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kitchen Envy

After much deliberation (read: we hate moving) we have decided to stay in our apartment for a few more years. The rent is reasonable, the neighborhood is great, and the space is versatile enough to never get boring. Plus, we have nice landlords who are allow us to paint the walls.

With that being said, as I mentioned in my previous post, we have decided to make some updates to the place. The idea behind the updates is to make our apartment our "home," a comfortable place that doesn't feel like a temporary fix. Step#1: Repaint the walls. We have lovely 14 foot ceilings, with the original tin roof (our place used to be a candy store). The white walls and white ceiling were aged, and blended together to create a very vague space. We decided to paint the walls a nice slate grey, something very clean and subtle, but enough to distinguish the ceiling from the walls, and cover some marks and dings from tenants past. We painted everything except the bathroom (which is a whole other blog post) and the upstairs loft portion, which is our bedroom. We left that a dark navy blue. That too is another blog post.

With everything painted, we installed a new light fixture in the kitchen. It is three small bronze halogen spotlights. The light is so much more subtle and soft, and the new fixture makes our place look should i say it...rental? We (thank you Dan T.) installed a dimmer switch for the light and voila! Ambient lighting!

Last night, the final portion of phase 1 was completed: THE SHELVES. The unfortunate thing about our apartment is that is has no cabinets, whatsoever. For the past year, all of our dishes and canned have resided in a large dresser that served as our pantry. Long story short, Jim installed 4 shelves in place of the dresser last night, and they are my new favorite thing in the apartment. The task of getting attaractive jars for food and organizing our goods will take a couple days, but I am so happy with how they turned out. Pictures to come.

The issue that remains with the kitchen still, however, is space. I want to have a KITCHEN, not a stove area. We both enjoy cooking, and I want to make everything accessible. So the shelves are only the beginning. I am using the pictures below as inspiration for organizing the shelves, where to put my spices, and how to make my kitchen both functional and fabulous.

I love how they incorporated art into these kitchen shelves.

I am normally opposed to exposing pots and pans but I like how uncluttered and organized this looks, despite there being a lot going on.

Gorgeous wallpaper. This photo is from Domino (RIP), and the apartment is only about 450 square feet.

Our stove is the same size as this. I love the butchers block cutting board, tulips, and clean lines.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Nook

This is the current state of our dining nook. Please note the cat scratching post, vacuum, and lack of chairs. In 2 months time (or less) this will be the cutest damn nook you ever did see.

Monday, April 26, 2010


(repainting the bathroom with chalkboard paint)

Who let's applying to grad school for two separate programs, 3 summer vacations, making an record, quitting my job, and other pending serious financial obligations get in the way of updating their home? Honey, living beyond your means is an art form.


Repainting the apartment. We are going with the color on the right.

Installing a new light fixture because I can't stand this one anymore. We are also going to install a dimmer on the switch.

This is our "pantry." We are going to put 5 shelves here, with brackets, but all painted the same color as the wall so that it blends nicely. The dresser will be disposed of and promptly burned in the alley.

View from upstairs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are We There Yet?

You want to know what the worst thing about Chicago winter is? It isn't the slush, the frigid temps or the gray skies. It is the fact that everywhere you drive within a 5 hour radius has the same damn weather! There is no escape. Flights are often delayed due to inclement conditions, making travel a stressful bust. Road conditions are treacherous from layers of ice, snow and salt making the drive somewhat comparable to navigating a fishing boat on the Bering Sea. The solution? I can be all optimistic here and make a point about how snow is rather lovely and who doesn't love warm sweaters. But I won't. All you can really do is wait it out, and dream of warm weather to come.

So what am I dreaming of, you ask? Let me show you...

Picnics at Ravinia Music Festival. (And yes, bug spray)

Walking around Rome wearing a Panama hat to shield my eyes from the hot July sun.

Flying Lufthansa because saying Lufthansa is just as much fun as getting a warm towel upon boarding the plane.

Camping at Apple River Canyon in northwest Illinois.

Watermelon dripping down your chin

Being creeps and walking through old, beautiful, spooky cemeteries.

Eating a cheeseburger about three times a week with mayo and extra pickles. And Bacon.

Drinking a delicious Salty Dog minus the salt.
Gold Sperry Topsiders. Cuz I like a little flash on my feet.

Camping at Rock Island, WI (for further info pls review the power point I sent out to everyone)

4th Anniversary in Eagle River! Because nothing says love like a Blue Gill fry and some
Spotted Cow.

Reading on the beach. I will finish you, Wind Up Bird Chronicles. I will.

Alaska in June. Though I have never been, I am anticipating our trip will be a lot like this bear you see here.

Gelato while combing the streets of Rome, in my Panama hat, trying to get lost but realizing I know it all too well.

Hot Dogs. With like a million toppings and cooked on the grill.

The Cinque Terre. 'Nuff said.

My beautiful Roma. I will see you soon bb.

Oh yeah, and riding bikes with sharks. Duh.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Little Diddy About Jen and Diane

Here are two ladies I have been particularly fond of lately. To be honest, I have been fond of Jennifer Aniston for some time now. I know she gets scoffed at for being "boring" and consistently wearing black to awards shows, but hey, the girl knows what works. She dresses smart. She doesn't get caught up in of-the-moment trends. She seems to focus mostly on the fit of the dress. And why shouldn't she? Her body is killer, she works a flawless tan, and her hair is a walking Pantene commercial. She wears the dress, the dress does not wear her. Clean, simple, but always a statement.

It drives me crazy when beautiful women cover themselves with crap. More specifically, ill-fitting crap. Menswear is one thing, and belts can only solve so many problems. Wear clothes that fit! Wear QUALITY fabrics (read: not Forever 21)! Stand up straight and walk out the door owning your look.

Ok that rant is over. I have much more to say on the topic but I will only get myself in trouble. Style and fashion is, to many, a matter of personal preference and opinion. So if one wants to dress in the aforementioned NO's...they have the right to do so. My opinion, however, is that a five year old can fall into a dress up bin and come out looking like a cross between Annie Hall and Lady Gaga. Sloppiness is something we hopefully evolve from as we get older.

Ok, first we have Diane Kruger. Acting skills: TBD (though I personally am a fan of National Treasure.) Boyfriend skills: Maximum high (Pacey wins above all others in the man department.) Style skills: Fierce. The girls can dress. The girl can wear a dress. She is edgy and exciting, yet clean and refined. Her clothes are tailorded to within and inch of her life, and she chooses colors that are both exciting and flattering.

Please enjoy the following photos. Creds at the end.

Moving on to Jennifer Aniston. Like I said before, she knows what works for her. She doesn't take major risks, but will occassionally get wild with some Alaia's on her feet or a red Valentino or two. She too, looks clean but not overly polished. She wears a pair of shoes more than once. And she looks like she likes to eat buffalo chicken and drink beer. Though she probably doesn't. Or maybe she does because supposedly she works out for about 4 hours every day.

Photo stream. Enjoy.

Photo creds:, and other places.