Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012!

Hope everyone had a very merry holiday season! 

My mom was here visiting the last two weeks, and we had so much fun showing her Christmas in Chicago. I can't believe the end of 2011 went by so fast, and I'm looking forward to what 2012 has in store!

How are you ringing in the new year? We are headed to a house party and then plan to hit up a few bars, but won't be out too late since J has to work bright and early tomorrow morning.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Destination Unknown

Hi friends, I'm off on a destination unknown weekend! 

My husband has been working nights all week and booked a little getaway somewhere nearby to give him something to look forward to during call...and didn't tell me where! My only hint is that it's Wisconsin or Michigan. We had our first sticking snow in Chicago last night, so I'm hoping I'll be able to look out the window at some pretty snow while sipping hot chocolate in a quaint little B&B like this one above.

Have a wonderful weekend! Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I was watching Ringer last night* and during an intense scene at the end of the episode I kind of kicked my leg up in the air (um, an act of self defense in case the bad guy wanted to jump out of the television at me?) and ripped my jeans up around the top of my inner thigh. I'm going to say it happened because they are skinny jeans and just don't have a lot of give, and not because I've been eating too much cheese lately.

They're my only pair of skinnies, and I've pretty much been living in them since it's turned to boot weather. I need to get a replacement pair (or two!) right away! The J.Crew matchstick jean is definitely on my list to try.

I also scored a $50 for $25 Groupon for American Apparel today. I've never bought anything there before, but I've heard their winter leggings are nice and warm and therefore have been on my shopping list. I used to be anti-legging, but I think they're now going to be a staple in my winter wardrobe.

* I tried explaining to a friend the plot of Ringer and I sounded ridiculous, but it's pretty addicting. What is the real Siobahn up to? How does Siobet keep from getting everything mixed up?

What about you? Any new TV shows you're loving? Any skinny legwear you want to sing the praises of?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Well I Love a Rainy Night

I don't mind when it's raining long as I'm inside and cuddled up with a blanket! (Bonus if my husband and/or dog is next to me.)

The past few days have been gloomy and rainy in Chicago, and I'm counting my blessings that I work from home and haven't had to deal with it. But I know my day is coming and it's only going to get worse as we roll into winter, so I need to get some rain boots sooner rather than later so I can walk through the slushy snow in style!

A friend ordered a monogrammed pair, which I think is super adorable, but I think they took over 6 weeks to arrive!

And of course, the clear popular choice these days is the Hunter wellie, and for good reason.

But oh, so many colors from which to choose! I like the always classic black, and think they'd blend in well so it's not super obvious if I step into somewhere nice that I have on rain boots. (Although I hear no one cares what you are wearing come winter in Chicago.)

Doesn't Blair from Atlantic-Pacific look amazing in her red pair?

As a lover of all things blue, of course turquoise is a frontrunner.

The plus for the turquoise blue over basic black is that it goes with both of my main coats: a brown down parka and a navy trench-style wool coat that I love to pieces. (The brown one was purchased on crazy deep clearance last spring back in Dallas, because who needs one in Texas? If it turns out to not be warm enough, I'll probably replace it with one that is black or charcoal.) Hmm, red would also go with all of these colors...

And then these fancy Hunters would go with both black and brown:

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Ah, what to do, what to do.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scarf Me!

While I'm not a colder-weather lovin' gal, the upside of my first fall in Chicago is that it's scarf time! I can't wait to try all 25 ways to a tie a scarf in this cute video:

I'm back in Dallas this week and it still feels like summer here. I was shopping with my mom last night at Charming Charlie and was looking for a burnt orange accessory to wear this weekend for TX-OU (because I will be wearing burnt orange in some form all weekend) and came across two differently adorable burnt orange scarves, and I was kind of wishing the forecast called for cold! 

I found this orange necklace instead...and this bright blue scarf...and this awesome belt with triangle arrows...and this wallet clutch thingy. I was a little out of control, but I loved this place, where all of the jewelry/accessories/clothes are organized by color. I found something new I wanted every time I made a lap around the store. (As compared to Sam Moon for you TX ladies, where I get a little overwhelmed by wall after wall of earrings and necklaces crammed together, and I always have to elbow my way in to get a good look.) Charlie, I will be back!

What's your favorite way to tie a scarf? And how many colors do you own? Off the top of my head I count black, white, red, fuchsia, aqua, grey plaid, and the new bright blue, and I'm sure I'll find more than that in the coat closet!

Hook 'em!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Or, "How I No Longer Have Rug Regret".

When we moved, a living room rug was in order since we went from carpet to hardwood floors. I was immediately drawn to a geometric, navy rug:

via Houzz

The only problem was, I couldn't find anything like this anywhere on the vast interwebs -- well, at least not anything in our price range. Overstock and Rugs USA turned up the best options in terms of modern patterns, but all the ones I loved came in every color but blue. I considered some other colors, but kept coming back to navy: a beige rug against a beige couch would be blah, a gray rug might clash, and a lot of other colors would mean changing out art and other accents that we wanted to continue to use.

Although it doesn't have a pattern, we were strongly considering this ombre rug after seeing it in person and both liking it, but we weren't ready to pull the $500 trigger yet.

Stalking rug websites again, I came across this similar rug (the positive reviews said it had several shades of vibrant blue) and decided to order it and be done with it.
While I still longed for something like my inspiration photos, we needed to get something in there, and I figured I could bring in those patterns through throw pillows. Plus, the price couldn't be beat.

And then it came, and it certainly had different shades of blue. Different shades of light blue and purplish blues, which isn't what I was going for and didn't exactly match the product photo. Whomp whomp.

I was having major rug regret. It wasn't going to be super cheap to ship back, but I really didn't want to spend that much on something I wasn't crazy about, even if it was cheap compared to most area rugs this size. I contacted customer support through a forum and they were nice enough to offer up a free shipping label, so we stuffed it in the Prius and hauled it to UPS.

Back at square one, I vowed never to buy something so big without seeing it in person first.

And then about a month later I was catching up on my Google Reader and came across a post on rugs and saw this Moroccan Trellis gorgeousness:

Hello pretty thing, you're exactly what I have been looking for over the last few months! How had I missed you?!

I looked back through some old pins and found that I had actually pinned it at the very beginning of my search because I liked the trellis pattern, but it didn't come in navy at the time.

Both of my main rug resources were selling it, but Rugs USA ended up winning out with their 40% off coupon code. (They always seem to be running at least 30% off, which is what is was at when I found the rug, but I waited a day or two and it ended up going to 40% off -- so hold out for that if you ever order from there!) It ended up being only $40 more than the original failed rug. Yes, I had vowed not to buy another one sight unseen, and I knew it was going to be around $50 to ship back if I didn't like it, but I decided to risk it.

And I love it.
J and Trixie seem to like it too, as well as this Boston Terrier we're dog-sitting. What a cutie!

The living room is almost finished! I really ought to post a house tour up here -- that will get me motivated to finish off what's left in the other rooms!

Friday, September 16, 2011

His, Hers, Yours, & Mine

I love when there's no mix up over whose is whose:

According to my Amazon wishlist, I've had my eye on this last set since March. Sometimes it pays to hold off, since they're now over half off. So cute for water on the nightstands!

To get free super saving shipping though, I need to throw in at least $8 more of stuff. And for someone who always has quite a wishlist going, and for a site like Amazon that sells everything imaginable, I can't really think of anything that's not practical, like hand soap or dog treats. 

Then I remembered last time we were at the Art Institute that J really liked the nightlights in the museum store. (At first I thought he was kidding, but I guess he likes the idea of some Monet illuminating his path to the restroom in the middle of the night. And I suppose it would also be nice for me, since he goes to bed super early for work and when Trixie and I come up later we rely on my iPhone to make it down the hallway to the bedroom instead of risking waking him up by flipping on the light switch.) True to form, I told him I could track it down cheaper than the museum store and found them on Amazon in a few seconds. (Is that my superpower?) Too bad I can't remember which one he liked the best. (I have such a hard time coming up with Christmas gift ideas for him that it would be nice to save this for a stocking stuffer surprise.)

Perusing my Amazon wishlist again, maybe I should take these glass drinking straws for a spin. I'll use them to drink vin right out of my Madame carafe.

What's on your wishlist right now? Anything as random as glass drinking straws? Do you and your significant other or roommate ever have issues remembering whose glass is whose or is it just me?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Obsessed with Photo Editing

I stayed up way too late the other night playing with photos. Our guest bathroom needs some black and white prints for some frames I already have, so I went looking through pictures we've taken on trips to see if anything struck me.

First, I took these taken on our trip this past Spring and converted them to black and white using Picnik:
Eiffel Tower - even though I've seen photos of it so many times, coming up from the subway and seeing how large it is took my breath away

Arc de Triomphe

Notre Dame Cathedral
While pretty, they seemed a little generic. And then I played around in Picnik with this one taken from the top of Notre Dame and liked the mood:



For the other one, J helped me decide to go with a photo I took from the Bridge of Sighs in Venice back in 2005. (Which I will always be fond of because someone found it on Flickr and short-listed it to be on an online travel guide...even though I don't think it was ultimately selected.) 

I was originally thinking of blowing it up along with some other photos from that trip and putting them in large frames in our living room, but we decided it was just too much with the other things we have going on in there, so it freed it up to complete the pair of black & white prints needed in the guest bathroom. I like that they're both taken from a vantage point of a well-known place, and that it's not immediately clear where the picture was taken.

 The story that goes along with the Bridge of Sighs is that it was the last view of Venice a prisoner would see before being led through to the executioner (although not true by the timing of when the bridge was built)...but what a view to think of!

I kind of love it in color more, so I continued to play around with some other effects on it. The cross process used below is my new favorite one to slap on every photo I upload just to see how it looks.

I haven't ordered any photos in a long time, so I ordered quite a few as long as I was paying for shipping.  The mats for the frames I'm going to use are a weird size (6x8), so I ordered from RitzPix since that was the only place I could find that offered 6x8s -- hopefully the quality is okay.  If I do end up doing some enlargements of the other photos I was thinking of, I will most likely go with Mpix and get their metallic finish. What's your favorite place to order photos from?

And since I'm loving that cross process effect, and because I found a coupon code for 2 free 8x10s, I ordered these that I took for the gallery wall in my office area:

At the Texas State Fair a few years ago after the TX-OU game...I think my friends may be riding the swings at that moment.

Point Dume in Malibu taken during a residency interview trip...J may have taken this but I think it was probably me. (We each like to think we're the best photographer.) This is also where this fave photo of us was taken by a kind stranger, which I also finally printed out!

What do you use to edit your photos? Maybe some day I'll be fancy and own Photoshop, but for now Picnik and I are BFFs.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What We Do for Fun

To keep in touch since we've moved, J and I and our nieces send each other photos back and forth of what we did that day. (And if it's particularly interesting, we include the whole family.)

Often the photos are of our respective dogs, sometimes with captions.

Exhibit A:
I love my email buddies.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greetings from Chicago!

Greetings from Chicago! 

Let's see, when I last left off (which was a long time ago, forgive me!), we still had to: find a place to live up here, rent out our condo in Dallas, and pack up everything and get up here. We were successful on all accounts, although finding a good place proved stressful until a last-ditch browsing of Craigslist apartment postings led us to where we are today.

Hey there!

Moving went more smoothly then I had envisioned. (I attribute that to not riding in the moving van being driven by my husband - I am a horrible backseat driver and no one driving a large Penske wants to have to deal with that.) The keys did get locked in the moving van, but this was luckily after everything was unloaded, so we just ordered some deep dish pizza while waiting for the locksmith. It became a bit of an impromptu party with J's parents, two friends that came up with us to help, and some other friends that stopped by to help out and have some 'za. (Future moving note: pack a box with things like paper towels, plates, cups, and a wine opener, and label it to be unpacked first.)

Trixie got up here on her own and made a bed...I think she was just as tired as we were!

We've been here about two and a half weeks now and are doing as much exploring as we can before J's residency starts.
 My first Cubs game!
Free concert in Millennium Park
All of the neighborhood kids and dogs are so adorable. We passed 2 lemonade stands and easily 10 strollers and 20 dogs on a walk this weekend. I feel silly, but everywhere I go I marvel at how many people are out -- one of the first walks we took was to a nearby park at lunch on a weekday and it was packed with people -- nothing like I would see in Dallas, even when the temps are lower. I feel like we lucked out in where we ended up - it was a little out of the zone we were originally looking, but it's still very much a part of things (with the bonus of not having the same level of traffic and noise from the bar scene) and is an even closer drive to J's hospital than anywhere else we looked.

Sorry these are all iPhone-quality photos. I couldn't for the life of me find my camera from day 2 on of being up here: it was on a table in the living room, and I moved it so nothing would happen to it as we rearranged furniture for the 18th time, and then I couldn't remember where I put it! I looked in my purse, in my bedroom, kitchen drawers, cabinets, the utility room, boxes...

Guess where I found it last week after I was convinced it was somehow thrown away with moving materials?

My purse. It must have a door to Narnia in it that my camera was hiding in. That, or I have too much junk in there.

I'll let you decide.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beautiful Knot Necklace

Like I've said before, I can't resist something with a nautical knot. Sadly, this baby will not become part of my collection -- at least for now (moving in less than 3 weeks and must pare down possessions, not add to them!).

So please feel free to snag this $18 beauty for yourself...I promise not to be too jealous.

Friday, May 6, 2011

To the Second City I Go

I haven't disappeared, I promise. (Tam, thanks for reminding me that I haven't blogged in forever!)
from Etsy shop Remixed Vintage

I've just been a little busy with my to do list below:
1. Pack up house
2. Rent our place out (Please, please rent...unfortunately not a good time to sell)
3. Find a new job in Chicago Taken care of! When I talked to my boss about how we're moving for J's residency, she offered to let me work remotely up there and come back to Dallas when needed. (I foresee I will be needed in TX a lot in the winter.) I'm so excited, and I wish I had talked to her earlier -- I had already started to put in a lot of time searching job postings and talking to recruiters.
4. Find a place to live in Chicago

I am crossing my fingers that #4 will be accomplished this weekend! (I don't know what we'll do if not...eep!) J flew up Thursday morning and will be seeing 6 or so places today. I fly up this evening, and we'll see some more places tomorrow and hopefully will find the perfect place to spend the next 3 years. 

I'm a little nervous, because so many that we see online and like are gone in an instant, and not a lot are dog-friendly. (But many will take cats; what's up with that? Our poodle is 12 pounds dripping wet (what is the origin of that phrase?) and stretches and pounces on her toys like a cat. We've been joking about passing her off as a feline, much like this urban legend of sheep being passed off as poodles.)

So to the Second City I go! Wish me luck...I'm going to need it! (And not just this weekend...I need a lot of luck packing and getting through the move with my nerves intact. Have I mentioned I don't like change?)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Channel Tunnel Time!

...and today we take the Chunnel from London to Paris. Cannot wait to catch my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh, Olivia

As I'm packing for our trip (we leave Thursday!), I can't help but wish I was taking Olivia Palermo's suitcase. She always look so amazing, no?


Now I'm off to try and figure out what to take that will be comfortable, warm, and stylish...if it's possible to have all three!

Sources: All saved to my Fashion Inspiration board on my Pinterest addicting!