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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our New (to us) Car!

We got a new car today! We got a silver 2007 Volvo XC90 V8. It only has 21,000 miles and has all of the trimmings... leather heated seats, wood trim steering wheel, navigation system, DVD (these were in no way must-haves, but they happened to come in it at a great deal, so who can pass it up?). 


We only keep one car, so while we know this isn't the most economical or green choice out there, it will last us forever (Volvo's estimated lifetime is 250K miles!) and is super-safe, so we went for it. Also I highly recommend shopping on the last day of the month if you are serious about purchasing; they definitely sweetened the pot when we first hesitated to purchase until Monday. He flat out told us that they wanted to make their monthly goal! Hey, I appreciate honesty... and a good deal.

I'll try to post pics of our actual car later, but here's a stock photo:


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stickshifts and Safetybelts

So I am a little bit OCD when it comes to wearing my seat belt and locking car doors. I can honestly say that I can count on one hand the number of times I have ever ridden in a car without wearing my safety belt in all of my 28-years. Do you remember in high school when the first kids to get their driver's licenses would shove as many people in their car as they could? Well, I still always managed to be on the bottom of the pile in the back so that I could wrap the middle belt around me. And if I am ever in a car that does not have the power locks that lock automatically when you shift to drive, I instantly lock all of the doors I can reach for the duration of the ride. It seriously is a compulsion.

So that leads me to taxi cabs. I probably take a cab to or from somewhere 1-3 times a week, so why is it that I NEVER wear a seatbelt while riding in a cab??

Actually, no one I know in Chicago ever buckles up in a cab. EVER. In fact, many times the doors are not even locked while I traipse around the city in those checkered sedans. Doubly Disturbing! Yet, I am aware of this and it still doesn’t bother me. At least not enough to regularly buckle-up in them. Does my mind trick me into thinking that there is an invisible protective force field around me while I’m cabbing it? I find it strange that I almost go into convulsions at the thought of riding with my husband around town without being properly restrained, but I will let the craziest drivers in town weave me in and out of crowded street without a care in the world.

Hmmm. It’s funny how the mind works.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Memories...

My husband and I were not high school sweethearts, in the usual sense of the word. We haven't dated since we have been 16, but we have been friends that long... very good friends. And over that 10+ years we tried to date once or twice, but it never stuck until, well now obviously, but until 3.5 years ago when we started dating "for real" and knew it was the real thing.


I look back at how lucky we are to have that solid friendship over the years, but still have each experienced different things: dated different people, went to different schools, lived in different cities, etc. We each have our own unique set of experiences in early adulthood, but we also get the pleasure of being together in the end without having to ask all those "surface" getting to know you questions, or ever having to worry/wonder about each other's pasts. It's perfect really... which is why I married him! Well, that and his killer smile ;-)

What spawned this post was my little sister, Jessica. Tonight, she managed to rummage through my parent's basement and find some photos of me and Dave from high school and early college. She then proceeded to scan them and post them to facebook, tagging me in them for the world to see. So I thought, why not post a few fond memories on my blog as well.

High School: 1998 (He was a Senior & Winter Dance King, I was a Junior)


My college Sorority formal: 2001


And here we are today: NYE 08/09



Oh my, how the years fly by!

Etsy, and what else?

I love shopping online for unique, handmade goods, so Etsy is an obvious choice (and obsession) for me. I have purchased everything on there from art to jewelry to baby shower gifts and wedding paraphernalia and it never gets old.


But, I can't help but think that there must be various other online communities/shops out there that serve the same purpose; so I'm wondering where else do you all look for handmade and vintage treasures?

One Etsy seller I have purchased from, Colleen @ BCharmer, wrote in a recent blog post about a new online store called Art Garage Sale. At first glance, it looks to be another start-up Etsy-like site and I can't wait to peruse it as it adds more and more sellers.

I have also recently found a site called Supermarket featuring, Great Design. Straight from designers. This looks like a gem as well! One of my favorite Chicago artists, Dolan Geiman, has some work on this site now too, as well as on Etsy. I own this box print of his already:


And I think it will be great to find other great artists like him via the Supermarket.

So those are a few of my new online "Etsy-like" finds. Please let me know if you have any others to share!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kitschy Kool: Volume 6: Milwaukee...not just cold, but kool!

This past Saturday as part of my birthday present, Dave took me to Milwaukee. True, it's no Vegas as we originally had hoped, but the real point was just to get away for a night, so we did and it was great.


First, we drove up and stopped at Kopp's Frozen Custard for some of their legendary jumbo burgers and frozen custard (yes, I eat frozen custard and really all ice cream no matter how cold it is outside!)


After that, we made our way to the Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design . This place was a little gem! At least to me since I'm an advertising dork.


There were 3 exhibits there, one featuring the brand, Fossil's "Vintageology":



Another exhibit showed the course of Coca-Cola advertising over the years (sorry no photos) and the last exhibit showed the work of Cramer-Krasselt ad agency. Funny that I went to a museum to see CK when I walk buy their building everyday at work, but it was still a nice display:


And then Dave posed with Mr. Clean, and gave him a run for his money:


Then we checked into one of the most kitschy kool hotels I have ever seen: The Iron Horse Hotel . We booked it through my favorite hotel website, Tablet Hotels, where you can find unique, boutique hotels around the world... even in Milwaukee ;-)

When we first checked into the Iron Horse Hotel, we found a brick and timber loft that I can best describe as a mix of biker-chic/shabby-chic, think Harley Davidson meets Anthropologie catalog.

Our Room:


Our bathroom, complete with "rain" shower and see-thru frosted shower.

Let's just say that you might not want to share a room with just anyone with this semi-private shower/bedroom view ;-)


The bed was also great:

And the accent wall was papered with vintage images of Milwaukee women, the same women that adorned the room keys...so cool:

And the hallways had funky zebra carpet:


And they had a library where they served brunch:

And the lobby was just my style, full on trinkets!:

After exploring the awesome hotel, Dave's brother and our sister-in-law met us for drinks at Water Buffalo and then dinner at Swig, both in the 3rd Ward district downtown, just a 1/2 mile from the hotel.

Scott & Beth

Me & Dave

After a lot of good food, even more good drinks, and a good night's sleep, we checked out and made one last stop at Mars Cheese Castle.

We couldn't leave The Dairyland without picking up some delicious cheese curds!

All in all my birthday rendezvous in Milwaukee was everything I hoped for and more. The downtown area and hotel was full of charm and kitsch, and just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Whether you are watching every minute of the inauguration coverage with bated breath or simply recording it on your DVR while you take a break to watch the Real Housewives of the O.C. (like I am), we are witnessing something great today.

No matter if you are red or if you are blue, today is a great day in American history...a day to set the bitterness & pride aside and simply hope that tomorrow will be a better day than today.

Maybe I am an idealist, but a little hope never hurt anybody, and at this stage in the game it can't possibly hurt the economy or the war on terror. So here's hoping for a brighter future. Here's to our new President, Barack Obama.



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kitschy Kool: Volume 5: Orla Kiely for Target

I love when Target picks up great designers to make affordable collections for the masses, and Orla Kiely is no exception. I love her stuff! Her vibrant prints are really fun and kitschy. I have been coveting many of her bags, but have never put out the cash yet to make one my own. 


I really have loved her Multi Stem Holdall, ever since I saw it a long while ago at Anthropologie because I think it's so cute:


And lucky me (us) I just read today here that her collection is due to hit Target Stores in February; I couldn't be more excited! (Too bad it's more housewares than bags, but oh well).

Yes, her prints are completely kitschy, mod and 70's throw back, and I agree with some other bloggers that taking home the entire collection would look like That 70's Show threw up in your house, but like every good trend, less is more. 

For instance, I like this more edited selection, from her Target Collection, that I saw featured on the SCOOP today.

I can definitely see one or two of these items at my house, maybe one or two pear canisters and a pitcher. Can't you just picture yourself as a kitschy kool housewife with this stuff?


Now I just hope that I actually get a heads up to exactly when this will hit my Target store, because whenever they feature these designers I feel like you need to get there in the first few days or else it's all picked over.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Kitschy Kool!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cutest Birthday Gift Ever

Ok, it's still one hour until my birthday, but I already received a fabulous gift from my new niece and nephew (well, really I guess my sister-in-law & brother-in-law are to thank unless these kids are SUPER high-tech). It's on YouTube, check it out.


I love them!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Beat These Blizzard Blues!

When I moved to Chicago, by choice, I promised to never complain about the weather because I knew what I was getting into. It's windy, duh. It's cold, duh. These are things I knew. They are the reason I buy nice snow boots and nice down jackets. And they are the reason that half the time I don't apply my mascara until I get to work because I know my eyes will water so badly on the way to the train that I'd look like a clown with runny black eyes if I did. So I suck it up.

I suck it up every week, except for this week. BLIZZARD WARNINGS? Really? Highs in the single digits this week with wind chills in the negative teens? Really? On my birthday week (yes, i get a week ;-) )? Really? 

OK, not that I had any big outdoor plans, or really expect mother nature to give me special treatment just because I'm creeping another year closer to my thirties, but a little warm-up would be nice. How about 30 degrees, maybe? Just for me Mother Nature? I guess we'll see!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Birdcage Veils


While I was trying on veils during the wedding planning process, I never tried on a traditional veil that I thought looked right on me. I like veils. I like them on other people, but on me they felt out of place. Either too poofy, or not the right length, color, etc. I thought about going veil-less with just a clip or flower, but with a big, traditional Catholic mass and a longer trained a-line gown, I felt I'd look naked without something on my head. So I went on the search for a birdcage veil and ran into a lovely website: birdcageveils.com ran by Melody Ginn.

Her photo gallery of real brides, was so helpful when I was deciding what type of netting and length I would like, so I had sent her some of my own to hopefully help other brides around the country. Last night, she added some photos of me in my veil to the photo gallery section of her site and you can see them here (one below) if you are interested.


If you are a bride considering a birdcage style veil, I cannot recommend her site enough. It is very affordable (seriously, don't pay bridal boutique prices for these!) AND you get personal emails and attention from her. She makes the veils herself, too!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Branching Out

I noticed a new trend that I have been gravitating toward lately, twig and branch decor. 


We own a loft, and while I love the high concrete ceilings & pillars and urban feel, I also like to warm it up with more cozy (but still modern) decor to make it feel like home. I think I like the juxtaposition of cool & warm and shabby & chic. Or heck, maybe it's just plain kitschy, but I like it anyway.

Many months ago, we needed to buy a second side table for our living room. Since I knew we'd never find one in the exact same wood or style as the other coffee & side table in the room, I wanted to get something that would compliment it, yet still be unique.

We settled on this West Elm Branch Side Table

I love it! And it makes for a perfect resting spot for my laptop at night in between my web surfing, blogging and facebook stalking :-)

Another thing you lack in a loft is closets...no coat closet, no linen closet, etc. So a coat rack is a must. I'm not sure how we have lived here 1+ years without one. Around the same time we found the West Elm Table, a Pottery Barn catalog came out (I'm talking many, many months ago) with a lovely twig coat rack. I immediately went online to snag it, yet the item number could not be found. Curious. I then called the 1-800 #, and they could not find the item either! Who publishes a catalog with merchandise that is not available?? 

Well lucky for me my aunt gave us a Pottery Barn gift card for a very belated housewarming gift. After reading Maria's post today on entryway furniture, it inspired me to get online and spruce up ours. So I ventured on to the PB website again tonight and found that the Twig Coat Rack is back! (labeled as NEW too, go figure) So, of course, we bought it. I didn't want to risk it "disappearing" again plus we had a gift card:


Another thing you lack in a loft (I swear we love our loft, I'm just highlighting the cons tonight) is light. We need more lighting, but with 16 foot concrete ceilings, it hard to just throw up extra overhead lighting willy-nilly. A temporary solution for now is an extra floor lamp in our living room to set next to our branch side table.

So, as you may have read a few days ago, I found a few strange things while shopping on ZGallerie the other day, but I also found this gem, a twig floor lamp:


We have a gift card that would cover half, but you have to call to order, so I have yet to do it. Would this be too many twigs? Am I barking up to wrong decor tree? Or would this perfectly complete my attempt to branch out into new home decor? I dunno. I think I'll sleep on it.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Well, I got wellies!

So I totally splurged on an early b-day present for myself today and purchased a pair of Hunter boots/wellies, from Zappos.


I usually would go right for the green pair, but ironically I thought the green Hunter's were too "hunter" green.

Next, I considered the orange pair, but wasn't sure if they said "bright and cheery" or "construction worker":


So I decided on the aubergine color instead, which I thought were dark enough to be somewhat neutral, while still being purple enough to say "cute & fun"! 


I just hope they fit over my calves, because I am very excited about them and it would be a shame if I had to return them! I should know soon though with Zappos super-fast free shipping.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Most Curious Footrest...

My co-worker gave us a Z Gallerie gift card as a wedding gift. So I went online in their sale section to see what I could find and ran across this:


Mountain Goats



"One billy goat’s gruff, rough around the edges with a firm back sturdy enough to prop up your lazy legs as a footrest. The other is adorably friendly with floppy legs weighted to hug or cuddle as a body pillow. Sold separately."

Seriously?? Who would buy these?

Well in case I have offended you and you are thinking, "These are actually JUST what I need for my arm chair!", then here's the good news: Mountain Goat Foot Rest WAS: $189.95 NOW:$89.99

Sorry, but even at $100 off, this is one online sale I WILL resist.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kitschy Kool: Volume 4: Board Games Old & New

Last night we hosted a game night at our house for around 10 of us. These are my favorite kind of nights, filled with good food, good friends and some good healthy competition ;-) (Seriously, whomever says the can play games just for fun, is a total liar… I play to win!)

So last night, since we had so many people, we played a few rounds of a newer favorite Apples to Apples. What a great party game for young and old, 4 players or 14 players. We love it and so did our guests. 



Later after a few guests left, 6 of us stuck around to play Scattergories. Now this is a classic game from the 80's that I literally have never lost when I played it; thus, it never gets old (at least for me)!



This game night made me reminisce on some favorite games from my childhood. Every year at Christmas, I used to go through the no defunct Service Merchandise catalog and fill my Christmas list with tons and tons of game, literally every game in the book!

Some of my favorite off the top of my head were...

Ker Plunk:

Similar concept to Jenga, in Ker Plunk you were supposed to slowly and carefully pull out each plastic stick, making the least number of marbles fall. The player with the least amount of marbles at the end wins!



We gave our nephew a more modern and childlike version of this game for Christmas, called Tumblin’ Monkeys. Same concept, just monkeys instead of marbles.


Next we have, Guess Who?:

I loved this game! Here’s a photo of the old-school version we had as kids. (sidenote: I think I had a crush on the boy on the box when I was a kid, lol.)



This is the game where you flip over a collection of faces with different color hair, eye color, hair, hats, glasses etc. to deduce who the secret person is that your opponent has chosen, by asking a serious of “yes” or “no” characteristic questions. It really honed my detective skills, which I thought might come in handy if I were to become a detective ;-)

And oh how I loved, Electronic Talking Battleship:

What can I say, except that the original Battleship was full of cheaters. See below:



Who did not move their ship a little to the left or the right when your friend called out a coordinate that landed on your ship?

Well, with Electronic Talking Battleship you could cheat no more! This thing KNEW where your ships were.



Press in the coordinates with your little red and yellow buttons and then just wait for the board to say "Destroyer Hit!" or better yet, “Battleship Sunk!”. Sweet Victory.

There are so many other games over the years that I loved, but I’ll leave you with this somewhat creepy, very kitschy and oh-so random game we also owned, Mr. Gameshow:



Mr. Gameshow was a plastic, electronic talking gameshow host that led you thru the game. As the box pointed out, it was "Just like a real game show in your home!" The game played in Mr. Gameshow resembled "Wheel of Fortune". Players earned money for correctly solving the puzzle. Most money at the end of the game wins. Classic! I loved ( and still do, love) gameshows, so this was quite a cool game in it’s day.

And she’d kill me if she EVER read this, but one time we caught my baby sister “making out” with "Mr. Game Show"(what a creepy guy) ...


...in the game-closet in our basement, so of course this holds a special place in my heart, lol.

Well, that is my latest edition of Kitschy Kool, featuring board games of past and present. Feel free to comment on some of your favorite games as well, I love being reminded of those blasts for the past!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 was Great...Bring on 2009!

Happy New Year everyone!


2008 was filled with many great memories for me, especially on the wedding front. Not only did I marry my best friend in November, but two of my best friends also got married this year. I was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid in both weddings.

Steph & Trey: May 31, 2008


Julie & Kyle: October 11, 2008


And of course the highlight ;-)

Me & Dave: November 8, 2008



A little background on my group of friends. There are 7 of us girls that have been friends since freshman year of high school (with the exception of Julie & I who have been friends since 3rd grade!). Until I entered the professional world, I never really realized how highly uncommon it is to still be so very close to a group of people that you began your friendship with so long ago. Out of the 7 of us, we live in 5 different states and are each in the same city altogether only once, maybe twice a year. One of those rare times was at my wedding this year. I felt so very lucky that everyone was able to travel to be there for us so close to the holidays:



While our distance is great, these are the type of friends that still never miss a beat when we finally do get together, no matter how long it has been and I am truly blessed and grateful to have them in my life.

So now in 2009, we will celebrate many milestones together. Our 10 year HS reunion is in August (yikes), as well as the wedding of Susan and Carlos in the Fall:



...which will make all seven of us officially "old" married ladies!

So here's to good friends and good times in 2009. I can't wait to see what else this year brings to our marriage, and also our family & friends.

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About Me

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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