Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A *tiny* smile

I realized as I was compiling this post in my head, that I never really mentioned a big change in our household. As of December 1, H began attending daycare. We've been really, really fortunate for the past nearly 2 years - first with a wonderful nanny and then a subsequent, possibly even more wonderful nannyshare. It's been great having H at home with me working in our room, but when our fellow nannyshare family announced baby #2 (coming soon - good luck D family!), we decided it would be a good time to take the leap.

It's been a tough adjustment, both for H and for me. Drop off for the first week just might be my definition of hell. NO FUN to leave your child screaming, even though you know he is safe and will enjoy the new friends, toys and lessons in due time. And for me, I went from a house/work environment with a nanny & two noisy toddlers, to just me and our trusty French bulldog, Annie.

So... it's with great pleasure that I post this note. This morning when we arrived at daycare this sweet, older Filipino woman at the center answered the door. She isn't his teacher, she cooks the kid's meals and floats around the center helping out where she is needed. I forget what the kids call her (anyone know a Filipino term of endearment for an older aunt? that's how the director explained her "name" to me), but she peeked out the window, smiled at us and Henry SMILED BACK. It was a just a tiny grin and I swear he snatched it away when he saw me looking, almost a defiant, "What Mom? You think I like this place?" Seriously, it made my morning!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Professional gift buyer

Along with a myriad of other crafty things (jewelry designer, interior decorator, cute shop owner, etc, etc), I want to be one. Really, I enjoy a challenge and love when I feel like I've come up with the perfect gift for someone.

For example, I so should have taken a picture, but I did the cutest gift for my MIL this year. She loves to bake and bring goodies to people. So, I bought her the most adorable custom made stamp from esty seller sweet paperie. It has a whisk in the middle and reads, "made with love by Xxx". I was torn between putting her name on the stamp vs Grandma, but went with her name so she could use it for people other than Henry! Then I bought several colorful ink pads, tags, cute ribbons, some tiny brown paper bags and lots of cellophane baking bags for breads, cookies, platters of treats. Then I founds some graphics of chocolate chip banana bread, chocolate chip cookies (two of MIL's favorite things to bake) and created a few small bags stuffed to look like her own creations, complete with a label from her new stamp. I really hope she loves it!

Anyone need last minute gift advice? Leave me a note and I'll see if I can help!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Henry that is. Very safe. We had a little chat about helicopters this morning, as one was hovering overhead when we arrived at daycare (or "school" as we call it). I'm guessing there won't be any crazy activity in that neighborhood considering it's crawling with cops, FBI agents, etc. Yep. H's daycare is walking distance from good old G-Rod's house. Yes, the house he was arrested at yesterday morning at 6:15 a.m. Nice.

In case you live under a rock, I'm talking about the fact that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday morning for a laundry list of reasons. I'm loving this quote I read this morning in The Red Eye by U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald:

"But the most cynical behavior in all this, the most appalling, is the fact that Gov. Blagojevich tried to sell the appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Obama," Fitzgerald said. "The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave."

*sigh* What a disgusting mess.

In completely unrelated news, I must add that despite my crazy consumption of Candy Cane Jo-Jo's (f'ing Trader Joes!!!), I have been feeling pretty good. My back has mellowed a wee bit, so I've jumped on my new treadmill with full force. Did I mention I bought a treadmill? Can't remember, but yeah, I did. It's a small model, Smooth Fitness 4.25, made specifically for walking. I do jog a bit, but prefer to walk, and lets face it, with my geriatric hip/back that's all I can handle for now! So finally, instead of laying on the couch watching TV, I can walk and watch all the trashy TV I want :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That didn't take long.

Yes, yes, I'm now an official Starbucks Gold Card holder. I received an early birthday present in the mail from my parents and lo and behold - Starbucks Gold! Woot! Registered it this morning, loaded that puppy with some cash and bought my first discounted chai. is good...

On that note - how smart of Starbucks is it to make the Gold Card a regular loadable card as well? I mean, as someone who puts my Starbucks habit on a card daily wouldn't I rather just use one card instead of making that register person swipe my Gold Card *and* my payment card? Hmmm. Oh well, I guess if they have more control to track me, it's at least nice them to send me this!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Holidays!

For some crazy reason, I'm very amped for the holidays this year! Maybe because last year was so much rougher and I was still recovering the sleep deprivation of having an infant, or maybe because I am so excited to experience Christmas through H's eyes this year. We put up our Christmas tree today and once it was dark, I brought Henry down, showed him the tree all lit up and decorated. His response? "WOW!"

Friday, November 21, 2008

Can't Wait!!!

For Jen Lancaster's next book, Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending,Egomanical, Self-Centered Smart Ass Phase!!! I check her blog daily and find her wildly funny. Too bad it doesn't come out until May...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Something special...and delicious

Calling all brownie lovers! A few years back at our annual Junior League of Chicago's Gazebo the people from Blissful Brownies had a booth. OMG. Blissful is definitely the proper name for these brownies. And not only are the brownies Blissful, the service is as well. I adore them for allowing me to send one delicious, *fresh* brownie to my beloved Granny, who lives alone in a retirement community. I don't get to see her often and I love to send her things, but she certainly doesn't even need a half dozen brownies. Also, a couple years back when a friend of mine was going through a rough patch, Blissful rushed a half dozen brownies to her to help dull the pain.

Anywho. Enough of me waxing poetic over these brownies and on to the sharing of the ever important coupon code!!!

Offer expires Saturday, November 22, 2008.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cheap & proud

So, our food bills (grocery & dining out) have been so high in the last few months that it's embarrassing. Like I'm not going to admit the number embarrassing. Maybe they have always been this high, but with the new house budget, I'm now tracking it closely and it cannot stay this way.

I've always enjoyed clipping coupons. Something about the ritual of going through the Sunday paper ads and snipping good deals makes me happy. I'm not always as good about using said coupons, but hey, gotta start somewhere right?

Anywho. My latest obsession is scouring the grocery store ads and planning our meals to utilize what is on sale. And stocking up when things are on sale. You can imagine my pride when I received my grocery store receipt today to see:

Total spent: $55.94
Total savings: $21.02

Yippeee!!! (yes, I know, I'm a complete nerd)

Next up, I need to try The Grocery Game. It's supposed to cross reference store coupons with manufacturers coupons so you can save the most. I received an immense amount of satifaction today when I purchased Land O' Lakes butter buy one get free for $3.19 AND had a coupon for $.50 off. I scored in the raisin department this way as well.

We do also shop at Costco, but I'm beginning to have concerns about just how cheap it really is to buy in bulk. I think I'm often wooed by products that aren't all that great of a deal. Ok, sorry, what was meant to be a quick post about saving $20 turned into quite the rambling on cutting grocery costs!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I can't say the move in process is complete. We finally had to dig out the mud room a couple weeks back. That had been my dumping ground for "stuff". If it didn't have a home yet, I dumped it in there. That had to end sometime. It felt really, really good to clear it out.

Lately I've been looking around and realizing we have entirely too much stuff. It's hard because I feel like the stuff is part of who I am. As far back as freshman year in college I can remember people coming to me if they needed something. I've always enjoyed being the person with the perfect "thing", or solution whether it be clothes, shoes, tools, medical supplies, whatever. But it's not like I haven't known I have too much stuff, but lately, and maybe it's the economy, it's started to actually feel like too much. And really, I could get rid of a LOT and still have all the perfect things. I really want to start weeding things out, but it is so overwhelming to think of where to begin! Just a few things I need to organize and sell:

  • Old KJB Designs stock. For anyone who doesn't know, I used to have a small side business making jewelry. I made a fat ton of stuff for my booth at the JL holiday fair years back and I swear I still have some pieces from that. I should really sell this stuff, even if it's at bargain basement prices. It's just taking up room.
  • KJB Designs supplies. The massive number of semi-precious beads I have sitting around again, is staggering.
  • Vintage clothing. I have a good number of vintage pieces that I have purchased over the years that either never fit, or I just didn't find a way into my wardrobe properly (black puff sleeve sweater dress, I'm talking to you!)
  • Electronics. I know we have many, many pieces of slightly older electronics that should be shown the door, ebay style, because even if we only made a small amount, the sum would really add up.
  • Wrought iron decorative pieces. I had a major passion for this stuff for a few years. I've put a few pieces of it up here, but the rest feels tired. A craigslist lot could do nicely for this.
  • Clothes. I did take a small step last week and tried out a new consignment shop in the neighborhood. However, in the strangest consignment move in history, the woman did not want my COH jeans!? I have a couple pairs of the Faye style that I've just never worn much (the wide legs just aren't my thing) so I thought it was time to let them go. I mean, I know skinny jeans are more the thing these days, but seriously, I still think she could sell them in a heartbeat. Again, ebay, or maybe fashionswap needs to get these suckers.
  • Purses. I truly need to take inventory and made some tough choices. I'm gonna guess my purse count is over 50 and who knows, might be much higher than that.

While I'm rolling on the organizing topic, I'll add another list (mostly for my own purposes) of places that really need a solid hit in the cleaning/purging/organizing department:

  • Garage. I need to take a few choice piles of stuff from our massive garage shelves. I know of at least one kitchen box that has never been opened post move. I may discover its all crap, but still, it should get opened. There are also massive numbers of CDs and books out there, some of which (books that is, not CDs), should be loaded into the guest room shelves.
  • My closet. I'm not happy with it's layout and again, there is way too much stuff in it to begin with. I'm certain their are pieces that even if I were skinny enough to not loaf into them I wouldn't want anyhow.
  • Upstairs linen closet. I'm so happy to actually have a nice sized linen closet, so why, oh why is it poorly stuffed?
  • Filing cabinet. I approached this project with gusto earlier in the summer. Then I slowed to a halt because it was boring and never got back on track. The "to be filed bin" is now massive.

Whew! I do feel a bit better even after just listing all of this. Yet somehow each evening the allure of GossipGirlANTMGreysAnatomyBrothers&Sisters, etc pulls my fat ass to the couch. Perhaps if I organized & unloaded the stuff I could also successfully get rid of the extras pounds I'm hauling around in my jeans these days!?

Monday, October 27, 2008

A rare moment for being crafty...

Not that it took tons of time, but I had a few moments to be crafty this weekend...all this is for our front porch, but it was super cold last night so it's all on our dining room table for now...

Monday, Shitty Monday

We had a pretty nice weekend. Watched Henry's little friend C on Friday night and even managed to make it out to dinner with both of them (though thank goodness we did not have twins!). Both kids SLEPT IN on Saturday morning, with C getting up around 7:30 and Henry not up til nearly 7:45! I was almost worried something was wrong. Sunday we made a trip to the pumpkin patch. Although it was very windy, Henry enjoyed it immensely. We carved a pumpkin and I potted a couple of mums into pumpkins too. Nice weekend. And then things took a turn for the worse:

  • Mid Sunday afternoon realized that the siding on the north of our house is completely flapping in the window. Huge chunks laying in our neighbor's yard. Shit. Guy was supposed to come between 8-9 a.m. this morning. Had to call and chase him down. He finally came after 10 a.m. and with not very good news.
  • Around 9:30 p.m. felt nauseous last night. Spent a large chunk of last night praying to the porcelain god. Total suckage. And no, NOT pregnant, just sick.
  • Realized this morning that our car was due at the shop. Drove over to find construction everywhere, related to the Brown line el renovation (the shop is under the el). Had no cell with me (was dead, left it at home on the charger). Had to drive home, look up the number and call. They are still in the same place I just didn't push hard enough on the office door. Crap.

I feel like there is more bitching to be done here, but nothing else is floating to the top of my brain at the moment. It just all came down on me in one big shit storm so I guess that's why I'm crabby. Feeling better now (stomach flu? food poisoning? gone), but it just blows when this kinda stuff happens on a Monday right?

Oh well. Two huge positives to close with -

1. my lovely husband will be home for the next month or so. He cooked up a storm last night so we will have food all week with little effort!
2. Nephew #3 is arriving TODAY!! Yippee!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Calendar round-up

Two years ago I purchased my first calendar from etsy seller ilee, and I mentioned them last year around this time. My 94 year old granny adores them and specifically asked for a new one last year, which is awesome because what else do you get for a fabulous 94 year old lady?!

But, that being said, my eyes have been opened to so many other fun calendar possibilities this year! So, a little round up since I haven't made up my mind yet...

First off, of course is ilee's for the year, which sells for $22, which I do still enjoy:

Some say it's a bit too dark this year and are instead opting for PaperSource's slightly cheaper option, at $18.50:

Moving away from the letterpress category, into the lovely eco-friendly, slightly more expensive ($34), but no less cute world is one I read about over at dooce. An adorable wooden version (note to wooden calendar peeps - dooce's photo is better than yours AND you really should show all 12 months when trying to sell a calendar):

Then a decor post from Apartment Therapy Chicago about birch wood prints took me back to my love etsy and seller SureAsBlue, with these postcard calendars for just $11.99:
And then I realized, search for desktop calendar on etsy and you will be overrun with these suckers! A couple more of my favs...

And lastly because I ran across it, a shout out to my preppy friends, a whale planner for $25 by etsy seller sarahpinto! It seems Granny's gift might be a bit tougher to select this year!

Striking the right balance

This post from Apartment Therapy Chicago a few days back got me going on one of my biggest house decor challenges - shelves. We have this fabulous fireplace on our main floor, in the living room, completely visible the moment you step into the house. So I feel like I need to really crack one out of the ballpark with these fabulous shelves!

So, this post is going to be picture heavy...sort of an on-line clipping of shelf images I love. I know I've got to get the proportions perfect, but without making it look too perfect! I'm open to ideas if you got 'em!!!

Oh and I'm totally thinking about doing a stacked plate wall opposite the fireplace. The current plan in my head is to collect various textured plates, paint them all the darker paint shade that is on the fireplace wall (all the walls are the same except the one behind the fireplace - it's one step darker for impact and to show off whatever fabulous collection I decide to put on those shelves) and then create my own "art" out of these plate textures. I want them stacked up, overlapping in many places. All in my head for now...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Inspiring design

I have decided if I could live in non-toddler land, non-budget conscious land, I would want to live in a fabulous Kelly Wearstler/Jonathan Adler-equse hotel lobby-equse palace. I love the whole Hollywood Regency style and love to mix retro/vintage with newer pieces. And COLOR! Love lots of color in my home.

I adore reading decorating blogs and I am crazy addicted to watching Top Design (although - Kelly, honey, what were you thinking with this ensemble?). I've randomly been searching for a vintage sideboard for our living room. While doing so, I ran across some super cute pieces I'd love to have in a dream home, for really reasonable pricing! I know nothing about buying this type of furniture in terms of what is quality vintage and what is not, but I know what looks good. Check out a few of these choice pieces from ebay seller artcollector-usa:

Seriously, this seller has so many cool things I'd love to have in my home in insane! But, who knows what shipping would be like. *sigh*

On an annoying side note, anyone good at posting pictures with blogger?! Placement of them is so f'ing infuriating!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The marketing gods, they know me well...

I just received this email from my pals at Starbucks...
"Over the past six months, I've received a ton of goodideas from Starbucks Card Rewards members who want tosee us expand and improve our rewards program.Membership recognition, flexible payment options, andmore everyday value are just a sample of what I hear.
We're getting ready to incorporate benefits like theseinto a new membership program, and I'd like to give youa sneak preview. In early November, you'll have theopportunity to join Starbucks Gold and take advantageof significant everyday value and exclusive member benefits.The annual membership fee is $25 and it entitles you to -

* 10% off most purchases in participating U.S. Starbucks stores*
* A free drink when you purchase your Starbucks Gold Card in a Starbucks store
* The option to pay for purchases any way you like
* A special Gold Card that identifies you as a member of this group

And if you register your Gold Card, you'll unlock additionalbenefits. That's when the top-shelf treatment really begins.This is a program for people who really love their Starbucks.

If you're enjoying Starbucks Card Rewards benefits, such asfree syrups, milk options and refills on drip coffee, thenwe hope you continue to do so. But if you're looking for dailysavings on everything from espresso beverages to espresso machines,you should check out Starbucks Gold. (Please note that StarbucksCard Rewards discounts cannot be combined with Starbucks Golddiscounts.)

We're letting you know about Starbucks Gold early, so don't besurprised if your barista doesn't know about it yet. You'll beable to find out more when you visit your neighborhood storenext month.

Brad Stevens

vice president
Customer Relationship Management"

Me likey. A lot.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hell Has Frozen Over

Glimpsed on my walk from the train into my office this morning...a standalone CROCS STORE. Great, now it will be easier for people to purchase these hideous monstrosities?! Because people need a WHOLE STORE devoted to those ugly things?! Please, someone...STOP THE MADNESS!!!

On a better note, I was excited to see an Ulta going in across the street. That's the kind of new retail we need on State Street.

Making Me Smile

A long time friend of mine, L, over at Kiss On My List, was ever so sweet and gave me:

L is just getting started with the whole blogging craziness, has a fabulous sense of style, an adorable family, a hot boyfriend (can I say that L!?), and is an all around wonderful person. I'm honored that she would give me this lovely award! I've never been tagged for an award, but I'm gonna do my best to live up to it!

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude (I try, but I sorted laughed at this one!)
2. Must love one another
3. Must make mistakes (Story of my life!)
4. Must learn from others (certainly!)
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world (I don't have many readers, but I try!)
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids (check! one little buddy of my own, plus two nephews & a third on the way)

These are the rules for The Smile Award:
1. The recipient must link back the the award’s creator
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

Here comes the tough part - tagging others! I don't "know" that many bloggers, but I'm gonna do my best:

Third Coast Preppy - It almost feels like cheating to tag the lovely TCP, because I've known her IRL for years! And yes bloggers, she is as fabulous in real life as she is in her very witty blog. Though I'm not very preppy myself, I have a great appreciation as Mrs. TCP always looks adorably pulled together, is deliciously snarky, and just an all around fun friend.

Lag Liv - I don't know if she will respond to said award, as I really don't know her, but I have to say, I always look forward to her blogs. She is well spoken, smart and for me, I love the way she can articulate the fact that it's ok to want to work and be a good mom. She used to live in good ol' ChiTown and her son isn't too far behind Henry in age, so it's really fun for me to read about her son's adventures.

Not Quite Vintage - I stumbled upon Colleen's blog and I have no clue how, but I'm so glad I did! She is crafter supreme! I am so envious of her amazing skills and impeccable taste. I can't only hope to create some of the fabulous things she has over the years.

Purple Cat On A Bike - My friend J is amazing! She's probably gonna want to smack me for tagging her in this post, because she doesn't blog much, but she is incredibly funny and needs to step up her blogging ;-)

And with that, I have passed on the torch, sorry for only tagging 4 peeps, but I don't know enough to do more!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rained out

Huge bummer. Our trip to the pumpkin patch was rained out. It was clear in the morning, sorta clear mostly through H's nap and started really raining about the time that H got up. *sigh* We'll just have to postpone it a couple of weeks. So, cute pumpkin & H pictures later.

Thought I'd share some photos of the vintage jewelry I ordered from etsy seller dibabeads recently:

The center picture is actually a vintage pendant. I've been missing my jewelry making days. I actually ordered a few other vintage beads from this seller. If you're into jewelry making & vintage beads, dibabeads is worth checking out!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Decor update

Exciting news - new chairs! Thanks to a little inheritance from the parents (my sister scored a washer & dryer for her soon to be 3 boys!) our lower level will be one step closer to complete. A lovely pair of these just arrived today:The super cool part? They are recliners! Yep, you heard me right - La-z-y Boys! Z, of course wanted giant, hideous overstuffed ones and I wanted cute club chairs. So we compromised. Club chairs that recline. I had tough time finding a more contemporary fabric that worked with our color scheme, but all in all I'm pleased. I really wanted the Riley, style, but settled on Fletcher because it fit better in the smallish amount of space we allotted. I really wish I could get the downstairs put back together after our little incident, but that should happen this weekend. Woulda been sweet to watch Grey's Anatomy tonight on the big TV from my own recliner! Hopefully this weekend I will re-assemble the lower level and I'll try to get some good pictures of the whole setup together.

In other home news, thanks to a work bonus I finally broke down and called a painter. I do not like to paint and I am not good at it! The wimpy green color of our entire main floor was being to wear on my psyche. I love the new dark taupey grey!


Everything just looks much more sleek & modern now. Of course the main reason for the paint change would be the kitchen. The mossy green looked positively hideous next to the gorgeous cherry cabinets, black counter tops and most importantly, the blue/black/copper mosaic tile. Why on earth would one paint moss green here?! Here's a close-up of the new paint from the kitchen:

Our bedroom is still a huge work in progress, which frustrates me to no end. I just want to all done, which I know is crazy, but I can't help feeling that way nonetheless. I did purchase this gorgeous duvet from Pottery Barn:

However, it is not going to be used as a duvet. I'm going to convert it into curtains and hang it behind our bed. The plan for now is to use the colors in this duvet for paint. There is a light aqua shade that will be the bedroom walls and then the darker shade you see, I'm thinking about painting our master bath that color. It has a skylight and all white tile, so I think it can handle the bold shade. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How have I never seen this website?

I stumbled across pokkadots website this evening while googling for a piece of art I had torn out of a catalog. No, I'm not expecting and don't plan to be anytime really soon, but I saw this 1,2, Buckle My Shoe series and instantly tore it out because it is totally my inspiration when it's time to do nursery #2 (girl or boy). It's just so me - colorful, fun and retro inspired!

I just had to bookmark it to make sure I don't lose it for someday. I mean, I left my keys at the UPS Store on Tuesday and didn't not figure it out until about 4 hours later when I really needed them. If I don't write things down these days, I do NOT remember!

Also, after browsing the tons of adorable canvases for sale, I started surfing the whole site and I LOVE it! Everything is adorable!

I know, I know...

Hi. I am MIA blogger. Work is kicking my ass. My f'ing 85 year old lady back pain is kicking my ass. Water in our basement is kicking my ass. H is kicking my ass. Life is kicking my ass. I'm actually really happy and in a good mood most days, just having trouble getting it all done.

So, I'll share a lovely picture from a recent party we threw. Nothing large, I think there were 14 adults, but the addition of 5 toddlers since the last time we had a get together made the vibe just a bit different ;-)In all my Martha Stewartesque craziness, I failed to take more photos once the party got going. I put together this fab tower of sweets with waffle bowls of assorted berries, brownies, brownie-moonpie fluff sandwiches, etc and I so wish I had taken a photo. But, alas, I did well and the moment I set it down our guests swooped in and gobbled it all up!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


People always tell you "hate is a strong word". Normally, I agree. However, when speaking of the massive amounts of rain we Chicagoan's have endured in the past two days, I'm gonna say it. I HATE the rain.

Don't get me wrong, I know we are super fortunate compared to those braving the hurricane, but still, the weather is making me stabby. Several reasons:

1) Our lovely lower level, filled with soft, brand new carpet has disgusting water seepage. We have moved our entire entertainment center, couch, lots of toys, pillows and ripped up that gorgeous carpet. I attempted to use our Little Green Machine on it, but felt akin to drinking an entire swimming pool of water with an adorable bendy straw. NOT COOL. So I gave up. We are working on a rotating towel system around the edges. Praying we can get it dried out and put back together without spending thousand of dollars.

2) H, Z & I are all going nuts. Like stir crazy. I was forced to take my boys to McDonald's this morning to fulfill Z's breakfast out craving and H's need to run at the same time. Nothing like trans fats for all today.

3) Our yard, in all it's loveliness, looks like a swamp. Crazy standing water, floating toys and I'm about a zillion bugs. Yuck.

4) My hair. I look like a scraggly drowned rat every time I leave the house. It blows.

Sorry to be absent for like a month and only to return and post a ranting mess. Life has been so busy that I just haven't had room for blogging these days. Will try to return soon. With something nice.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

There's a Monkey on my Back

Ok, I mean Henry's back and it does not have a long "leash" like tail! (decided against that route for those concerned) I am usually somewhat immune to adorable children's stuff with considerable price tags. That, however, flies by the wayside when there are monkeys involved. And apparently mod styled monkey's on backpacks really fall into that category...And in case monkey's don't strike your fancy...perhaps penguins, pigs, dinos, sharks, lions, bees, rabbits or polar bears do?
So big kudos to the folks at Dante Beatrix for realizing that even little guys need their own backpacks and they need to look cool (ok, maybe that's my requirement...).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


A friend recently pointed me to these adorable notecards from MINNIE & EMMA correspondence and I'm can I not buy these?! I mean the sample already shows how adorable they'd look with H's name and he will need notes for 2nd birthday gifts (neveryoumind that isn't until February)And how adorable to send as thank you notes from me?

Monday, August 4, 2008


A million things have been buzzing through my head since my last post, but nothing is really coming together into a coherent post. So, just one little thing...

Huge thank you to Colleen over at Not Quite Vintage! She mailed me her free copy of comfort food by Kate Jacobs. I have already begun to devour it. So far, I like it. And she tossed in a very sweet note, a gorgeous notebook for me to keep track of my home decorating inspirations and some adorable scrapbook papers. A lovely snippet of those is pictured above. She is so craftily (yeah, I made that word up) talented and thoughtful! I'm so amazed at the wonderful people you can "meet" on-line these days.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Perfect Weekend

This weekend was perfect. Seriously - perfect. I don't think I've thought that about a weekend in a *very* long time! It was the perfect mix of home improvements, fun and relaxing. A recap:

Friday night was actually a whole lotta nothing. Was in bed by 10:00 p.m. But I was completely wiped out, so that was a good thing.

Saturday morning Henry and I walked to the Farmer's Market and bought delicious corn on the cob and squash. And of course we made the required stop at Starbucks. :-) Once we got home, my lovely husband was awake, so I turned little Henry over to him and started prepping a wall of our kitchen for painting. While little man napped I painted a coat in the kitchen and Z hung a shelf above our TV (has been on our to-do list for a while, so I was ecstatic!). I do plan to put cute things on the shelves to cover up the weird, mid-wall outlets.Once the shelf went up, Z grilled us some chicken and corn for lunch. Enjoyed our lunch on the back patio in the gorgeous weather. Post nap time, we snatched up H and away we went. Made a quick family trip to Lowe's and then headed to the Taste of Lincoln Ave. Henry road a pony! After the festival, we played at Oz Park for a while and then headed out to dinner at a local restaurant with a gorgeous back patio. Henry was a perfect gentleman all through dinner - smiling, laughing, eating his noodles.

Just as we were stepping in the door at home, we caught my friend R chatting to the answering machine. She has been crazy busy, so I was very happy to catch her call. By the time I finished my call, Z had Henry bathed and in bed! Then we finished our shelf installation and watched a super cute flick, Definitely, Maybe. Gave me a tiny crush on Ryan Reynolds. Can't believe I got Z to watch it with me, but it was so adorable!

Sunday was my morning "off", so I slept in. And, I cashed in a fabulous Mother's Day gift from 2007, a trip to Spa Space where I enjoyed a pineapple papaya body scrub, an Indian head rub, a full body massage and a facial. Perfect end to a perfect weekend!

I hope everyone reading had a weekend as perfect as mine!

Saturday, July 26, 2008 that you? that you? With your adorable argyle pattern and your lovely ruffled collar?, it's Gap's younger, cheaper sister - Old Navy! What?! Looks like JCrew to me so I think I'll give it a try. For $29.50, I think this is worth a try :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Me on TV?

I did an impulsive thing today. I applied for Design on a Dime! I've never really seen the show, but have seen many an HGTV design show. Apparently there is a Chicago HGTV office. There was a post on our local parenting website asking for Chicago area volunteers ASAP and I thought cool! Maybe I'm crazy, because I could hate it and it's not like it's a high end make-over. But, they foot the $1,000 bill and I get a room redone.

When we moved into this house, I put our entire suite of bedroom furniture into the guestroom downstairs because a) I wanted to start fresh both furniture & decor wise and b) we really wanted a queen sized bed. So, I put our current master bedroom up for sacrifice. It's painted a wimpy blue color. Every bit of furniture that is here is a hand-me down except an armoire that actually belongs to Henry's room and the West Elm desk I just bought. We have yet to splurge on that proper queen sized bed, so we have a full size set on one of those crap metal frames with wheels. So what's to lose? I'm hoping I could at least score a nice paint job out of the deal!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Would you put this on your kid?

Henry & I are gearing up to travel. Alone. And I'm already fearing it. Really the biggest challenge will be getting myself, Henry, a giant carseat and a suitcase from the parking garage to the airport. And getting everything packed in and loaded for baggage checking. Once we've dropped off the "stuff" we'll be in good shape. But how on earth do I do things that require both hands and not have him completely run away from me?!

Man, there is a TON of chat out "there" about child harnesses, leashes, etc. Lots of it is super negative, claiming using one of these is lazy parenting and that one should teach their child to behave properly (I did read one incident where a mother had leash on a 7 year old! Ok, that, in my opinion, is wrong!). But other parents are definitely supportive, reminding us all that you don't know what it's like to walk in another parent's shoes and in busy places sometimes being safe is the best choice.

So at nearly 18 months, with limited vocabulary and unlimited running skills, would it really be a bad thing to put a cute little monkey backpack on Henry so he can do his thing without me losing him? Hmmm...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Triple Play!

One of my new favorite reads, elements of style, filled out this fun meme, and left an open ended invite that I decided to take! (because work is so less appealing right now)


1. What are the last 3 things you purchased?
- Reef flip flops for Henry
- a stainless steel spray bottle to keep granite counter top cleaner
- blue vintage maxi dress

2. What are the last 3 songs you downloaded?
- I'm afraid I can't even answer this.
My husband is the music guru in this family.
My iPod has been dead for months.
However I did purchase the Old 97's
Blame It On Gravity on CD.
Ok, I lie, my husband bought it for me. But I love it!

3. Where were the last 3 places you visited?
- Central IL for the
- Hilton Head, SC

4. What are your 3 favorite movies?
- Heathers (since I first saw it with my best friend at age 11)
- Stand By Me
- almost any 80's John Hughes flick

5. What are your 3 favorite possessions?
- my new house
- our photo albums, I try my best to keep cataloging our lives through the years
- my Nikon D40

6. What 3 things can you not live without?
- my family
- Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes
- the internet

7. What would be your 3 wishes?
- a job I love, with hours like my current job
- a non-travelling, job for my husband that he would love
- my whole family, especially my mom & sister to live much closer

8. What are 3 things you have not done yet?
- travel to Australia
- gone zip-lining (always think this looks so cool)
- learned to speak a foreign language

9. What are your 3 favorite dishes?
- honey soy flank steak
- Cheese Tortellini with Prosciutto, Peas & Mushrooms
in an Alfredo Sauce from Basil Leaf Cafe
- can a brownie ice cream sundae be considered a dish?

10. What 3 celebrities would you want to hang out with the most?
- Rhett Miller
- Drew Barrymore
- Eleanor Roosevelt

11. Name 3 things that freak you out.
- bugs that crunch when you kill them
- used band aids
- losing my parents

12. If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
- out-going
- reserved (seems strange, but I can be
both depending on the situation)
- anal retentive

13. Name 3 unusual things you are good at.
- bargain shopping
- roller skating
- I have a nearly photographic recall for numbers
(could still tell you my phone # from many
childhood addresses & we moved a lot!)

14. What are 3 things you are currently coveting?
- building a new closet for DH (so he won't share mine!)
West Elm's storage bed
- an attractive, reclining (DH's request)
chair & a half for our family room

15. What 3 bloggers would you like tag?
Purple Cat on a Bike

Monday, July 14, 2008

An interesting lesson...

I have an account on HGTV's Rate My Space. I love decorating. My mother is a huge help too and I swear, she should have been an interior designer. Also, I signed up when we were leaving the condo, because I was a bit sad to leave my decor, I had just finished Henry's room and much of the rest I'd spent 5 years perfecting!
So, this photo of Henry's nursery is posted on Rate My Space:
People comment on how much the love the space, offer comments, suggestions, ask questions, etc. Cool right? Well, I learned my lesson about internet photos - these are now property of HGTV and anyone else can use them! I'm flattered! But it was also strange to google and find photos of my son's nursery!? Oh well - I feel famous ;-) People checking out my "work" below:

Design Happens
Herald Tribune
Bringing BabyJ Home

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What debauchery really looks like?

Certainly not the lovely stock photo of pontoon boats tied together in my previous post. THIS is what it really looks like:

We counted 23 boats at one point! The cooler in the photo? Panty Dropper juice (in case you can't read the lovely label). A scary concoction brewed up by the two husbands complete with the plastic figure who dances, farts and lifts her dress at the push of a button.
Of course I can't post all the frighteningly obnoxious photos of us - to protect the drunk innocent.
And yes, I'm addicted to the mosaic maker.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where pontoon boats go to die

Where will we be spending the 4th you ask? Yes, the place where pontoon boats go to die, a.k.a., the lake behind my best friend's house. I'll leave out locale details so y'all won't crash the rockin' party, but basically, every year for the 4th we truck south to my best friends digs. This will be our 3rd year in attendance.

Why the abundance of sad pontoon boats you ask? Well, they live in this cute (though slightly WT - sorry C!) community on a lake. The lake does not allow gas powered motors, both for noise and pollution's sake. Makes sense right? What you'd never guess is that this has prompted people to purchase the largest pontoon boats they can find and operate them with trolling motors (little car battery op motors like fishing boats use for those of you missing that WT gene I was raised with).

So each year, just after lunch on the 4th, everyone tools out in their boats, ties them together and creates one giant party barge. And these people get really into it. There are kegs, a huge BBQ grill, annual t-shirts are printed and this year the Floatilla as it is called, will correspond with the band, yes you heard right, live band on my best friends doc/landing. Keep in mind all of this is happening outside of a village of 1500. No, not a town, you heard me right, a village.

Sweet right!?!?!?! The even sweeter part? Though I love him dearly, Henry will not be in attendance. My in-laws have graciously offered to come to our house and stay with him. I can pretty much guarantee, we will not behave ourselves this weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


While browsing blogs, I came across BS of the Day (whom I don't know, but thanks for the fun reading!) and loved the post from Friday, June 13. I swiped it cause it is super cool.
Check this out:

Answer each of these questions and type your answer into Flickr Search. Pick an image from the first page only.

Then copy and paste the URL for each picture into fd's Mosaic Maker.

The questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you?
12. Your flickr name (I subbed my blogger name since I don't have a flickr account)

My answers:
1. Kim 2. Ice Cream. 3. Red Bud 4. blue 5. Rhett Miller 6. Raspberry Stoli 7. Free shopping spree 8. All of the desserts 9. Rich (to never worry about $$ again!) 10. My family 11. tired (first thing that came to mind!) 12. heaven in a paper cup

My results:
Cool huh? Three things that came to mind as I worked on this:

1) Someone shares my feelings on Starbucks. When I searched Heaven In A Paper cup, that Starbucks cup was the first image that came up!
2) I cheated in one place. There was no good photo of my dreamy Rhett Miller on the first flickr page. I refused to put a photo that did not capture some of his dreaminess into my mosaic, so I looked through a few pages (and drooled)
3) This took a really friggin long time, it's almost 10 p.m., my lovely child will be up at the crack of ass in the morning and my husband is out of town. So why the hell am I doing this?!

Do Want

Something I miss about my more happening, childless days...vintage shopping. I used to love hunting, finding and buying fun quirky pieces that fit in with my wardrobe. For example, my favorite skirt, is this...

Well, tonight I was browsing ebay and this WILL be mine:
I'm afraid I may have to pay a pretty penny for it, but HOW CUTE IS THAT?! It's so me, totally goes with the current maxi dress trend, the colors are flippin' adorable and I WANT IT. Now I just have to remember to be around ebay when it ends...

Monday, June 23, 2008


Picturetown has come to Chicago. Or at least to my house. I casually mentioned to Z a while ago that I might like a nicer digital camera. So he & Henry bought me a Nikon D40 for Mother's day! What can I say, I was totally swayed by the Picturetown ad campaign. And I'm totally loving it. I have no clue how to really use it to it's full extent, but I love that I can just zoom, point, shoot and the color is amazing. A couple of recent shots...

1) I don't think I've ever seen so much detail of Annie show up in a photo. Usually black dog + photo = blur of black fur. And on another note - poor girl has gotten a lot of grey hair in the last year!
2) Only photos like this can help you truly appreciate what beautiful blue eyes Henry has. Gonna break some hearts with those baby blues someday!