Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Biggest apologies for the recent radio silence. First, I was busy. Then, my internet broke down.  Excuses, excuses. I'll be back to posting regularly around the new year. There's already plenty I'm excited to share with you! Thank you for always being lovely, and I hope this next week treats you well. Don't let the holidays drag you down!

Until then, a silly photo from Christmas 2010. Our version of a Christmas portrait:

Photo by Liz Martin. Hair and makeup by Kelsey Smart (hey! you can see more of these on this website!). Spectacular Christmas tree at Fix Salon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Whew holiday season is rough only blogging! I am currently updating from my new, first ever smart phone.

Here's a blue-pawed kitty, because no one likes a text-only post.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Neighborhood

On Sunday I had the day to myself. It was sunny, the air was calm, and it was seasonably warm (for December). I've started bartering with myself, trading productivity for guilt-free lazy time. "If you spend 2 full, uninterrupted hours conquering your to-do list, you can lay around for the rest of the night." Fortunately, the first item on my list was taking a long walk--on days off I still try to do the equivalent of my 2 mile walk to work and back. I chose a path I'd never walked and brought my camera to capture pieces of my neighborhood. 

1. Window display at my local craft store, which specializes in weddings, baby showers, and quinceaneras for the Hispanic community. 
2. These two ladies passed me on the sidewalk, carrying their mid-sized tree home from the lot (I assume). This, along with the parking lot pop-up tree shops, is so very different from what I am used to. I wish I'd had the guys to ask them for a proper photo!
3. Wonderful, huge balloons in a car lot. One evening, a month or so back, I watched two grown women snatch one and run off giggling, their balloon trailing behind them.
4. Painted asphalt at the same car lot.
5. Gene's cow has its yules all tied for the holidays.
6. This is what the street markers look like in Ravenswood Gardens. I was standing across the street from Blago's home, which is just blocks from where I live, but avoided taking a photo in light of his recent sentencing. Frankly, I was nervous I'd be accused of being a paparazzo.
7-9. Scene from a community garden run by the children on a local elementary school. 
10. North Center reflecting in the window of a wedding-planing office.
11. My favorite neighborhood breakfast spot. Crispy hashbrowns!
12. One of the aforementioned tree pop-up shops, complete with airstream trailer. In the summer, this location is the Daily's beer garden. 
13. The Davis Theater, with first-run showings for only $7.50--cheaper than Cedar Rapids!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Table


I just wrote my sixth Chicago rent check, and for all of those six months we've had a formal dining room with no table for which to dine. By no means a tragedy, but it's a nice thought to occasionally fix a nice meal and be able eat it at a proper table, rather than the couch or in the kitchen where my seat is just three feet from the cat boxes. I'm a roll-around-on-the-ground kind of girl, so the big, open space was fun to have...but I've always felt like I needed a table to fill its spot before I could feel totally settled in here. It's the first room you encounter in my apartment, which made for very underwhelming entrances day after day.

We found this vintage formica table, which should easily seat six, at our secret Salvation Army for $55. While I'm not obsessed with it, as I prefer to be with something I spend $55 on, I knew that it was the closest to what we want for about what we wanted to spend. I do love the faux wood and the sweet little mustache-y inlays. The top is in pristine condition, so we assume we can make our money back if we find something we like better to replace it.

Now, if I could only find a decent rug that doesn't cost $500...

PS- The table's legs don't fold or come off, so it made its way to our home tied upside-down to the roof of our little Mitsubishi with some rope, Christmas-tree style. Thankfully Jake was a good Boy Scout and is always prepared...and still knows his knots.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Outfit 12/6

Wednesday was a busy day of baby snuggling, Whole Foods-ing (a big deal for a Broke gal--we had a Groupon), thrifting, and Ikea-ing. Among plenty of other things, we finally bought a dining room table. We also bought AMAZING vegan wraps from Soul Vegan and I can't endorse them enough.

Top: Church sale find, with the previous owner's name written on the tag, $.50
Vest: Technically sized for a young boy, thrifted for $.50
Skirt: Thrifted, $1.50
Tights: Years old and tattered just right
Boots: Made me subject to a long story about a man who has "broken a few broncos in his day," vintage for $20.00
Approximate Total: $22.50

Trying my best and failing to channel Natsumi Hayashi

Aaand new sunglasses, $2.99

PS- I haven't given up the vegan month! I took a small, 2 day break when my mom visited so that I could enjoy the couple of restaurants we visited, but otherwise have been 100% vegan for 13 days. Other than feeling a little weak and sleepy during my body's detox the first week, I feel wonderful! I eat fruit and nuts during the daytime, and vegetables with grains or beans for dinner. I could definitely make a habit of this.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Handmade Christmas

My handsome roommate and I are not religious, nor are we interested in the secular aspects of Christmas. Still, sometimes you just gotta tilt your head at one another, get mushy, and sigh, "Awww, our first Christmas as a family." So, we agreed to set up the tree in our first apartment together. 

The tree has been mine for years and years. I have no idea how long it's been mine, if anyone had it before me, or if I bought it myself (and from where!?). It has traveled from apartment to apartment with me, summering in my mom's garage, always put away exactly as I'd displayed it. I can never be bothered to take off the decorations.

Okay! I'll admit it! It spent about six months in my little Mitsubishi's trunk this year. For no reason but my laziness. Then, after its six-month joy ride, I tossed it into the garage for the summer and left it for dead. When my mom dug it out to deliver when she visited, she rightfully considered throwing it out.

If only I'd taken a before photo. Then, you might be a little more impressed with these:

I don't like spending money on decorations, but I did invest in a couple of strands of LED lights. They're reliable, more energy efficient, and so bright that you need fewer strands. For the rest of the tree, I pulled together some easy DIY tricks and the results made for a damn cute tree. I made up the pattern for the poinsettia/dahlia tree topper, though I am pretty sure there are similar patterns easily accessible online.

And now begins the season of extra-bad cats. Here they all are, waiting for some alone time with the tree:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mom visits

Sorry for the silence! My mom has been here, and I completely ignored the internet. Here are just a few photos from our time together.

1. Showing off my new remote and giggling as I took photos without warning.
2. A bloody mary round at Revolution Brewing. We aren't fools, we had a round of their beer afterward.
3. A quick drive down Michigan Ave to see the lights. The Water Tower can been seen lit it in the background.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicago poster by Ork

This poster was designed and printed by Ork Posters, located here in Chicago just down the street from us.

I bought this from Ork's booth at the Renegade Craft Fair, and while we wait to thrift the perfect frame, the hanger method is doing us just fine.

Excuse the large TV and computer tower. Neither are very cute, but without them we can't watch the Wonder Years on Netflix (or much of anything at all, we have an antenna but no cable).


 We live right where North Center, Ravenswood, and Lincoln Square meet. See it up there?

I'm hoping to find a similar Iowa map to hang beside it.

PS- If you live in Chicago, Ork is hosting a holiday pop-up shop until the 23rd!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy weekend! What are your plans? I'll be... my mom! Hopefully doing a little shopping, holiday decorating, and eating.

...working my way through a growler of Chub Step from Half Acre. In case you're worried, the beer is much better than the music it's named after.

...hitting up two different art shows by two different friends, Shape. Shift. Substitute. and another here as part of this.

...trying to make my way through this vegan feast I "accidentally" bought last night:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dining Room

After a little sweat shed by my boo and a table borrowed from his mom, our dining room has finally fulfilled its destiny! Mmm, that's nice. Raise your hand if you never expected that male mannequin to make it to his spot on the wall.

The little tree is actually a rosemary bush, given to us by my Aunt Paula. This is the first room you encounter as you enter the apartment, and it smells so warm and inviting. It'd make for an excellent (and edible!) Christmas tree for a small space, and it's potted so you won't feel guilty about chopping down a perfectly happy planted tree. I think I've seen them for sale at Trader Joe's, if the idea strikes your fancy.

Body forms: rescued from a mall store dumpster, free
Fern print: thrifted, $2.00
Map: vintage from a church sale, $1.00
Table: borrowed
Table cloth: borrowed, once belonging to Jake's grandmother
Matching chairs: vintage, found at Goodwill, $10.00

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vegan Snack: Walnut, Cilantro, and Jalapeno Pesto

For the first time, I am attempting a pseudo cleanse (via veganism) until Christmas. It's only been a couple of days and I really miss cheese, but I assume that will get easier as the days go by.

My amazing Aunt Paula made things easy on me, unknowingly, and brought a jalapeno, cilantro, and walnut pesto dip that is so delicious and simple that it's out of control. It has a thick, creamy, satisfying texture that I often associate with non-vegan foods. I think I'll be eating this quite a bit over the next month. We ate it with crackers and sliced jicama, but I think it'd compliment just about anything "dip-able."

Cilantro image source.

You can find a recipe here, or simply by typing "jalapeno, cilantro, and walnut pesto" into your search bar.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Here's a little peak into what I've been up to when not entertaining my boss (she's 7 months old now, by the way--she's mobile!). The pieces are slowly coming together, but eventually my shop will open. And these will find new homes.

1. Burned natural wood earrings.
2. Earrings made of suede scraps.
3. My messy little craft corner.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Family Feasts

 It was a busy long weekend of food and family. After a fun day in Peoria with Jake's HUGE family, we hosted my TINY family in our apartment. All minor issues aside (like the turkey not being cooked the first time around), it went without a hitch. I made a pretty traditional holiday feast to see if I was capable. Turns out, I mostly am.

After almost a whole week of feeling over-full with fatty foods, I've decided to go vegan for the stretch of time between now and Christmas. The goal is to focus on fruits, veggies, and nuts with some occasional beans and quinoa for protein. Wish me luck! And please, share some of your favorite vegan snack foods. Snacks are always what ruin me!

PS- It's Cyber Monday, so be sure to spend your dollars at places like etsy, Renegade, and Big Cartel! Those big box stores don't need your money.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Believe it or not, that male body form and the plate tectonics print have finally been hung in their appropriate homes. The clutter seen in so many photos has finally been cleared. Sometimes it just takes a little rushed desperation (in the form of family visitors).

Dress: Thrifted while in Iowa, then shortened. I thought the dark corduroy would make the perfect fall dress. $5.00
Shoes: Favorite fall boots with faux shearling on the inside. Vintage, $4.00
Tights: So old I'm calling them free.
Bow: Included in a giant bag of hair accessories, $.10
Approximate Total: $9.10

Happy Day of Feasting with Loved Ones!

Jake and I are headed to Southern Illinois to spend the day with his family, and then hosting our own dinner for the first time as a family on Saturday. We're in the center of my Iowa and Indiana family, so we'll be feeding eight. YIKES. We bought a decent supply of beer from the brewery around the corner to keep everyone happy and entertained. I'm thrilled to have my dad, his sister, and the rest of our family to my home here for the first time.

If I'm not around tomorrow, have a perfect weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thrift Bounty

Chicago can hold its own in thrift stores, but nothing compares to Cedar Rapids. We made a special trip to two Goodwills when we visited a couple weekends ago. Goodwill of the Heartland is one of few Goodwill regions in the Nation that hires and trains people who face obstacles to regular employment. Go, Goodwill of the Heartland, go!

Each item below is vintage.

Key-shaped key hook. This fulfills a somewhat desperate need in our home, where keys can never be found.

Brass grasshopper. Brasshopper.

Mail organizer in a beautiful copper color, with gorgeous detail. Also fulfills a pretty desperate need.

Four matching glass jars, topped with my favorite shade of orange. I can't wait to fill these with beans, rice, orzo, and quinoa!

Pyrex carafe for keeping spare toddy, and a vintage crank grinder made of glass. Unfortunately it is no longer very functional, but it is stinkin' cute and will make a good receptacle for toothpicks or something of the like.