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Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend: In Pictures


It was a fabulous weekend around here - flea markets, thrift stores, several walks with the pooch in the warm fall weather and finalizing the paperwork on our new house! It really ended up being the perfect situation - a newly renovated house that is having trouble being sold due to the awful housing market, so we're going to rent it for a year and take care of it while we decide exactly where we want to live.

I will share some pictures soon, but in the meantime we are pondering the task of outfitting an entire house with furniture. It's kind of amusing how it used to seem like we had so much stuff, and ultimately we have living room and bedroom furniture. The good news is that there is a rocking Pottery Barn outlet nearby, and we're also hitting up some thrift stores so we can re-purpose some gently loved items (this weekend I found the cutest lamp for $2.50 that we're going to paint and make new). I tried to fight it for quite awhile after the condo renovation of '05 (uh, and I guess '06 too) but we are apparently "rehabbers" at heart. As soon as we found out we got the new house there was talk of refinishing furniture, building a giant upholstered ottoman, etc. The good news is that this time we have a climate controlled garage, so there won't ever be a wet saw in my bathtub!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Guest Room {Again}


Yes that's right, I am still enthusiastically decorating the guest bedroom in my head. The good news is - it looks like we found a house! It is certainly heading in the direction of working out perfectly, but I will wait to show you all and explain the details until we know for sure. In the meantime, I might be sold on this duvet cover for the twin bed guest room. I love love the yellow and grey palette but I didn't want anything that was bright, sunshine, I might go blind, yellow. These muted tones seem perfect.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Guest Rooms


Now that we're looking for a house (a whole house!), I am finding myself really preoccupied with thoughts of a guest room. I don't know why it's so fascinating to me...maybe because our condo was so not conducive to having more than three or four people there at a time. The other word that always peaks my interest is "storage." I know the realtors down here think we're nuts when they mention an attic, and Brad and I bound up the stairs shouting, "Storage? Storage! Look at those exposed beams! We won't have to keep your golf clubs in the trunk anymore!"

But anyway, the guest room. I keep coming back to thoughts of twin beds sharing a room, which seems slightly 1962 but also sort of practical. It could expand the room to be shared by two people who wouldn't normally care to share a bed (say, when my Aunt and cousin come to stay). But really I think the appeal lies in the symmetry of it all...oh the symmetry. The idea of matching headboards with a table in between makes me endlessly happy!
Collage One: Better Home & Gardens | Creed | House Beautiful | Veranda
Collage Two: Both from Domino

Collage Three: Apartment Therapy

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blooming


There are these pretty pink flowers blooming on the trees (bushes?) outside the townhouse. I didn't know there were things that bloomed in October, and I am mildly fascinated by them. No idea what type of flower it is, but I am guessing my Mom will know when she gets here! Aren't they lovely?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Moving Out


In my experience, when blogs go silent for extended periods of time that usually means something is up. And in our case it meant a pretty major adjustment - we are officially Carolinians! Last month we quite literally packed all our things into a moving fan (basically by ourselves, despite the fact that we hired over-priced movers) and left Chicago behind. We started to toy around with the idea of leaving the city awhile ago but the economy and the housing market had other plans. And as these things go, what took a long time to happen ultimately did happen so quickly that we barely had time to say goodbye!

In the end we sold our condo twice, once packing up all of our belongings only to have the sale fall through days before the closing. I am not sure why interrogators even mess with those tactics they use - as far as I am concerned they should just make people pack up all of their wordly belongings, stare at the boxes for days, and then unpack all the same crap back in its original place. I would have confessed to anything halfway through the unpacking! But we're here (in South Carolina for the moment) staying at my parent's townhouse and looking for a house (a house!!) in North Carolina. Its so exciting and completely surreal but we are loving the warm weather and wide open spaces. So, that's what has been going on around here. I will definitely be back to regular posting now that things have slowed down a bit. And we've been cooking up a storm so there is much to share! In the meantime, here are some of the views around these parts...

And of course, this character is still hanging around. During the 12+ hours it took us to drive down here there was a lot of sighing from her in the backseat (as if it was my idea of a good time to sit in the car for that long and just forced her along for the ride). But she is happily adjusted and almost instantly declared a turf war with the chipmunks. Alvin & Theodore are her worst nightmare.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunshine for Monday


Sunflowers are such an inexpensive pick-me-up...I smiled all weekend whenever I glanced at these on our kitchen table. I realize it's hard to read the quote, but it says" The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Back In Touch


I think my neglect of this space is always a good gauge for how hectic life has been. I just looked back and realized I've posted three times since May, so that about sums it up! There are no indications that life is going to slow down in the near future so instead I am trying to actively make time to write here.

Part of the recent neglect is because it was brought to my attention that people are reading this blog with ill intentions...people who "know" me in real life and are basically just hunting for things to gossip about. That knowledge gave me pause because this space has always felt like a place to interact with friends. I thought for awhile about making the blog private but in the end, I decided to just say screw it and pick up where I left off. So, friends and frenemies alike, here we go...

We just returned from some time in South Carolina at my parent's lake house, and I practically had to drag myself to the car to leave. Living in a concrete jungle means that my body breathes a sigh of relief as soon as we see those mountains in the first picture, above. All of these photos make the trip look a lot more rustic than it actually was, but we certainly did our fair share of floating in the lake and spending minimal time indoors. Why is it that no vacation feels long enough after a few hours back at home? I could leave again right this minute...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Scenes from the Weekend


These pictures pretty much sum up my favorite type of weekend - lots of lounging near a pool, family, local produce stands, pedicures and relaxation. I read three books in nearly as many days which is always a good barometer for how much lounging was actually accomplished. Exactly what I needed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekend Walks


It's been quite awhile since the weather was warm enough and we've had enough of a break in our lives to resume our weekend walks. As you can imagine, Lola is quite the fan (as of this moment, she still hasn't moved off the couch since we got back from the walk this afternoon). There is something really lovely about going for a long walk with a camera, setting out with the intention to take pictures of something beautiful. I think you look at things differently when you're trying to capture something worth sharing. We usually switch between taking pictures and holding the leash, and these are my shots from the day. I am still adjusting a little to being the weird lady with the camera, taking pictures of strangers foliage, but I love the results too much to worry about it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tulips


Because really, few things make me happier than fresh flowers wrapped in kraft paper. I am committed to having fresh flowers in the house on a regular basis, if for no other reason that it makes me smile!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake


Sometimes I need chocolate. I need it in a sound the alarm, get out of my way, is it possible get this in IV form? - kind of way. They say that your body craves what you're lacking, so maybe I have a high threshold for the cacao bean (I actually read somewhere that your body craves what it lacks. But because I come from a long line of exaggerators, in my family if you're going to spout off a fact that you've read you'll be immediately met with "site your source!" to ensure you're not creating random bits of information to support your argument. I can't remember where I read that your body craves what it needs. So, I am going to stick with the very vague but important sounding "they say" argument).

What was I saying? Right...chocolate. This past weekend was one of those times when I needed it. Since there weren't any IVs to be found, I decided to test out a recipe that I've been seeing different versions of for awhile now. To be honest, I always kind of thought that baking in a crockpot was a little uncouth. I am usually of the "its better from scratch" variety, but people, listen to me when I tell you, I would eat this cake any day of the week. It couldn't possibly be easier to make, its super chocolatey and moist, and it smells divine while its cooking!

1 Box of Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Package Chocolate Pudding Mix
1 cup Chocolate Chips (but really any kind of chocolate will work)
8oz Sour cream
1 cup Water
4 eggs
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
Cooking Spray

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until relatively smooth. Spray the inside of the slow cooker really well. I apparently didn't get one side completely coated and it burnt a bit. Pour all the ingredients into the slow cooker, place the lid on and cook on low 6-8 hours (or high 3-4 hours).

You can certainly eat it plain (and while its still warm is best) but it also goes well with a little whip cream or ice cream, of course. You can loosen the whole cake with a knife and turn it over onto a cake stand, but who has the time? Once you smell that thing cooking for four hours, if you're capable of anything other than scooping it out of the slow cooker and onto a plate, you have my unwavering respect!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meet My Planner


I've embraced the age of technology - I blog, I tweet, I pause live TV. But despite the fact that I walk around with a blackberry in my purse, I still have to have a planner! I usually begin the hunt in November, as I've yet to find one that I've liked enough to purchase two years in a row. But this year I think I might be on to something...the adorable little houndstooth number above is currently in my hot little hands!

The planners are from Pretty Chic SF, and you can get one for yourself in their etsy store. They're perfectly sized (in my opinion) and you have the option to get a matching notebook! One needs a matching notebook for list making, don't you know. I probably should have told you all about this earlier because they have a free shipping offer going on right now,
but it only lasts through tomorrowextended through Friday!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Key Largo


Our short jaunt to Key Largo was exactly that (too short) but also very relaxing. I rang in my thirties by lounging on the beach all day and then toasting with the husband as we watched the sun set. I think that's pretty much all a girl can ask for, no? We took a ton of pictures - I think we're to the point where we've been in the cold so long, the sun and warm weather had our heads spinning, "Oh look, we're wearing sandals! The ocean is so blue! I am not wearing long johns!" Sigh. I won't subject you to all of them, but here are a select few that pretty much sum up our trip...

Aside from a beautiful little beach, the hotel grounds had this great walking path that was scattered with adirondack chairs, hammocks, etc.

Whenever we go somewhere new, Brad scopes out a local diner where he can drag me to have breakfast. That man loves breakfast more than anyone I know. This particular diner was known for its pancake & waffle batter, so the picture below is Brad's answer to that. It was called "The Tower" and resulted in a large group of women pointing and laughing at us (and yes, he ate it all):

"If you like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain..."