Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm crushing...

I'm crushing hard, y'all.

I'm the first to admit, I hugged the newly painted accent wall more times than I can count. It's totally not for everyone, but to me, it's awesome.

Here's a before shot:

In progress:
And after:

Now, it's a little darker in person than it is on camera... though it does drastically change color depending on the lighting in the room. But seriously, I love it. It's cheerful and Awesome!

The next step of the process was to get rid of those "curtains" that were hanging in the living room. Oh, and the wooden rod from which they were hanging. Icks.  After much debate, I decided that custom curtains was the way to go. I ended up falling in love with this fabric, and totally scored it at 50% off.

At nearly $20 a yard, the sale really came in handy since I needed about 6 yards. Luckily, I have a friend who sews and even has a cute little portable sewing machine. I scooped her up, treated her to a pedicure for her troubles and brought her to my house for some sewing! 

Just an hour or so later... These beauties were hanging in my living room.

I only wish the pictures did it justice. But having a giant window, doesn't make it easy to take photos. 

I still need coordinating throw pillows. I have a couple of fabrics picked out thus far... 

I'm hoping someone can be bribed with a tasty dinner and a bottle of wine (to be had AFTER sewing pillows)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

oooooohhhhhh shiny!

The big bathroom fixture reveal is here!
New lighting fixture: excuse the wall around the fixture. the holes need to be fixed and smoothed and the whole bathroom needs to be repainted. baby steps, kids.
New guest towel rod:
New double towel rod: why do i absolutely love this thing?
New faucet
New shelving



Now, tell me that these fixtures aren't infinitely better! shiny shiny chrome and brushed nickle! Ditto all these things in the downstairs 1/2 bath minus the towel bars. There are wonderful hand towels too, but apparently I forgot to photograph them.
Obviously, there's more work to be done... but for now, i think: VAST IMPROVEMENT!

Total sidenote: I've become obsessed with Gladiolas lately. I recently picked up these gorgeous babies at the Farmer's Market over the weekend. The color is amazing and I'm totally in love with them. The end of summer is near and then we'll be plunging into the dark depths of winter... so I'm all about bringing the color of summer in for as long as I can!

so much to do... so little time

Seriously... the to-do list for the new place is L-O-N-G and I hate the feeling of not being settled, so I want it all done NOW! I admit, we've knocked out quite a bit so far...

Change bathroom fixtures:

replace both toilet seats
change both sink fixtures
½ bath towel bar replaced with towel ring
replace lighting strips
replace towel bar in upstairs bath
add 2nd towel bar upstairs
add towel hooks on bathroom door upstairs
replace tp holders

paint LR- accent wall and adjacent walls- touch ups needed
Paint bedroom walls Touch ups needed
paint dining room/kitchen
paint guest bedroom
paint upstairs bathroom
paint ½ bath
paint stairway to upstairs
paint stairway to basement
paint man cave

Master bedroom:
Add wall quote to wall
Hang photos
replace closet door knobs

Guest bedroom:
buy screws and replace knobs for closets
select photos for wall buy frames
hang poster (buy frame)
redo nightstand w/map

Stair way:
apply wall quote "M" to wall
hang photos

Living room:
curtains: fabric has been purchased, so it's like 1/2 done!  
knobs for closet
new end table
throw pillows: fabric has been purchased, so it's like 1/2 done!
clean upholstery on sofas
hang photos

hang decor
wine bottle/candle project
hang blinds over patio door
purchase spice racks

So it looks like a lot, right? It's overwhelming when I stare at the list. But, when I look closely, it's mostly just painting and decorating and that just takes time (especially since I keep changing my mind! oops!). I'm thinking the best course of action is just to start with one room, and do a little each day. I think I'll pick the guest room... maybe I'll do some painting tonight!

Monday, August 15, 2011

oh so ugly

It's been a busy busy weekend here in the new place. My parents flew up from Texas and upon their arrival, I handed a To-Do List over to my step-dad. Before you start thinking, I'm some kind of slave driver... let me just clarify. My step-dad hates Chicago. LOATHES IT. He finds the people unfriendly and the city much too busy. No matter how many times I informed him that we were no longer in the city, but were going to be living in the suburbs, he didn't care. He had zero desire to accompany my mother on her visit. That is, until I mentioned that I was hoping he could do a few things around the new place for me. Suddenly, he was game for a visit. This man goes insane if he goes to long without working, so my little list was like hog heaven for him.
Since we are renters, not owners, we're clearly limited to the things we can change. (We have no idea where we'll end up living long term and right now in this economy, we're not as comfortable with job security as we'd like to be before taking on a mortgage.) We've already slathered paint on a few walls (still some painting left- anyone wanna help?) and it made the space more personal. There's one thing I was really hating about the new place... and that was all the bathroom fixtures. I don't even know what metal they're made out of but I do know that they're anything but my style.

I've managed to lose some photos, but imagine a toilet paper holder that matches the faucet, a toilet seat that matches the light bar and some random white towel bars. Not only did these fixtures live in the main bathroom, but also the half bath on the first floor. *sigh*
I know there are people out there that think, "why pay money and change out fixtures when you're only renting?" My answer? When I can bring down the level of ugly in my living space, I do. A few hundred bucks to spruce up a place I'll be living in for at least 2 years... totally worth it in my mind, especially when the labor is free.
There's still some tidying up, hold patching, and painting  to do before the bathrooms are done... but I'll give you a sneak peek at the new fixtures...


because as I've just found out... walking around a huge Botanic Garden while simultaneously trying to make space on the memory card for more photos... not such a good idea.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

the dust has finally settled

It's been one full week since we've made the big move to the suburbs and I'd like to say the dust is finally settling around here. Sure there are still bins to be unpacked, walls to be painted, and photos to be hung... but we're getting there.

Today, I was finally able to display a project I started TWO months ago here.

Finally... they have a home:

The spot isn't totally done, but for now, it'll do!

The only other spot around the house that looks "finished" is our patio, which I'm totally in love with. It's so much bigger than our old deck and I enjoy being able to just sit outside with a drink and watch the hubs cook on the grill.

We've got more painting on the agenda for tomorrow, which should allow us to start decorating and getting things in place. My parents are coming on Thursday... maybe I'll just put them to work!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

totally MIA

my goddess self has been MIA, I realize.

I've been busy picking paint colors...

Finishing up the art project I started here.

And turning my dining room from this:
to this:

Just 10 days and it'll all be over. Then the unpacking/organizing/decorating will being. I've got a million projects planned that are way more interested than "I've run out of storage bins... AGAIN" and "Do we really have an entire bin full of hard liquor?" 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 4: Photo Challenge

Day 4: Something green

Day 3 photo challenge

Day 3: Clouds

taken with my blackberry today from the cafe in my building at work, Cafe 37 (appropriately named since it's on the 37th floor)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 2: photo challenge

Day 2: What you wore today

Clearly, this is a huge test to my creativity, because I found it impossible to make this interesting!

not pictured: black pants 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

homemade sugar scrub

One of my favorite parts of getting a pedicure is when my legs get slathered with the fragrant lemon sugar scrub and the technician exfoliates away. "Heaven!" she always says, and I couldn't agree more.

Sadly, I don't have someone willing to exfoliate my skin for me at home. Summer is here and bare skin is essential, so exfoliation? a must! So, I'm sharing my awesometastic soothing Lavender Sugar Scrub.

Lavender Sugar Scrub
1 part sugar
2 parts oil 
vitamin E capsuls
Lavender essential oil

For my scrub, I use Sunflower oil. I just happen to have a huge bottle from my homemade facial cleanser (you can read about that here) Olive oil is totally acceptable as well. You could substitute Lavender oil for whatever fragrance you'd like... again, I just happen to 1. love lavender and 2. have it on hand. 

For my scrub, I gathered all my ingredients and a cute little jar I picked up recently at Ikea

I added a cup of sugar, and a smidge more than 1/2 cup of sunflower oil (personal preference, I like a bit more oil). 

Next, I punctured 4 vitamin E capsuls, and squished the liquid out into my scrub
please excuse my out of focus edamame thawing in the background :)

Next up, 5 or 6 drops of lavender essential oil

Give it a quick stir and VOILA! you have a wonder sugar scrub!

Does anyone else make their own scrubs? What's your favorite recipe? 

as an added bonus, a gratuitous photo of Cisco, who enjoys knocking over and arranging the throw pillows however he sees fit:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

and so it begins...

T minus a month and a half until moving day, and your obsessive compulsive goddess here has already begun the packing process. I admit, I'm pretty much a packing nazi. I'm in the business of packing and purging.  The thought of having junk around the house that we haven't touched in over a year, packing said junk, and moving it to another house makes me itch. I do a little each day so it isn't overwhelming and in 6 weeks it is all done. Of course, the downside to this process is having a room in your house that looks like this:
And it only gets worse from here on out. actually... I took this photo two days ago and it's already worse today! Luckily, we sold our dining room table on craigslist this past week, since we're upgrading, so the room is a wide open space. Unfortunately, it's a wide open space through which we have to walk to get to the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. But, it's a small sacrifice to make for 6 weeks to have a perfectly organized move, right? RIGHT?

Wanna take a closer look at the piles? Of course you do! 

I picked up these cushions for the new patio furniture. I love the bright colors and patterns. Our decor indoors tends to be a bit for muted, so I wanted bright bold colors outside. I even found a matching drink bucket:
Note the bright colorful place mat/napkin set I found last week. Seriously, it's going to be like bold colors puked all over the patio, and it's going to be awesome!
Though, we'll likely leave the Tiffany candle sticks indoors (a wedding present from work, I don't typically shop for home decor at Tiffany's).

Day 1: photo challenge

Day 1: Self-portrait

I had great intentions of attempting at least a semi-cute photo of myself. But the moment I grabbed the camera, Cisco got a wild hair and catapulted himself up in my face for an attempt to lick my entire face off.
This, right here? a pretty accurate photo of my life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

30 day photography challenge

While browsing pinterest today, I ran across this pin:
I've seen a million of these, but this one? I actually like. So, I think I'll give it a try. It won't be 30 days consecutively.. I can already promise you that. I'm hoping it'll spark my creativity and renew my love for photography, a subject I studied for years in school. Ya know... in the days of 35mm and dark rooms. The days before digital and photoshop and every person with a Nikon thinking they're suddenly Ansel Adams.

So I've typed out this list (from for anyone who's interested in joining in!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 1: Self-portrait
Day 2: What you wore today
Day 3: Clouds
Day 4: Something green
Day 5: From a high angle
Day 6: From a low angle
Day 7: Fruit
Day 8: A bad habit
Day 9: Someone you love
Day 10: Childhood memory
Day 11: Something blue
Day 12: Sunset
Day 13: Yourself w/13 things
Day 14: Eyes
Day 15: Silhouette
Day 16: Long exposure
Day 17: Technology
Day 18: Your shoes
Day 19: Something orange
Day 20: Bokeh
Day 21: Faceless self-portrait
Day 22: Hands
Day 23: Sun flare
Day 24: Animal
Day 25: Something pink
Day 26: Close-up
Day 27: From a Distance
Day 28: Flowers
Day 29: Black and white
Day 30: Self- portrait

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Texas, our Texas... all hail the mighty state.

Texas our Texas, so wonderful, so great!!!
Those of you not from Texas probably didn't read the title while singing, as you're unaware of the rocking Texas state song. if you're interested, I personally like this kid's dramatic interpretation:

Okay, now that I'm done with my patriotism, lets move on to the subject at hand. A month or so ago, I while scouring pinterest for anything of interest, I ran across some pins that really caught my eye.
I believe this particular pin linked to an etsy shop... however I pinned a few variations of this, all linking to general locations. So basically, I'm pretty sure I'm not stealing one person's idea here. 
I picked up some paint, canvas and brushes at hobby lobby and searched the internet for a silhouette of Texas, which really wasn't difficult at all to find. Since I didn't have any cardstock on hand, I printed it on regular paper, taped it only a manilla envelope and cut out the shape then decided where to place it on the canvas.

Once I picked a spot, I taped it down to the canvas and began to paint around it.

Once done, I carefully removed the Texas from my canvas.

I painted the sides of the canvas, and ended up putting a second coat of paint on it. When all was dry here was my result:
I haven't decided if I'll add a heart shaped pin around the location of Houston... or if I'll pin it in some other way. I do plan to make an Illinois version of the same thing to represent where the hubs is from. I think they'll be cute side by side in our new place! 

Anyone else out there have anything they've recreated from pinterest? or any art projects like this? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the neurosis begins...

A few weeks ago, the man and I signed a lease for a townhouse in the burbs *moment of silence*
Despite the fact that I'm leaving the city that I love, I'm in true domestic goddess form... obsessing over where all the furniture is going to go, what will arranged how and what needs to be purchased/sold/painted, etc. obsess, obsess, obsess. What can I say, I'm a planner. In fact, the day after our first viewing, I sketched a little floor plan from memory:

My drawing skills are mad-yo. I know.

I used my memory, and the photos we had been provided, but there were still things that were fuzzy. When we returned to sign the lease, I brought the camera, for all those places I had questions about. Once armed with additional information, I found a site online and created these:

Now, they still aren't perfect. I'm missing closets and my dimensions aren't totally correct. But for the basics, it totally works. I can use it to mentally arrange furniture (especially since I highlighted windows on the paper copies I printed). The current tenants are pretty awesome. The wife is admittedly as neurotic as I am and is happy to answer any questions I have (Is there an electrical outlet on that wall in the kitchen where you currently have a pantry?) and she's passed along some great information, such as avg. utility bills/highs and lows/ recycling etc. All super helpful in planning!
With less than 2 months to go, we're slowly buying new things and stashing them in our current place. We'll be upgrading some items (new dining table!) buying new stuff (new guest bed!) and re-purposing items in different rooms than that in which they are currently being used. There's lots of planning and brainstorming going on in our casa lately. But that's just the way I like it. I don't have time to be a "figure it out when we get there" kinda girl. Especially since I hate living in chaos... oh and did I mention my parents are coming for a visit like 2 weeks after we move? Yeah, there's that too.
So, if anyone out there is wondering where the heck I've been... chances are instead of blogging, I'm tossing around ideas on where to put the bookcases, dreaming of the extra kitchen storage I'll be building in the basement or I'm packing. Yes, I've already started. That's just how I roll.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's not like me to be quiet for so long... but things have been pretty busy lately. Traveling, fighting germs and finding a new home have been taking up my time lately.
That's right kids, we signed a lease for a new place starting August 1st in... *gasp* the SUBURBS

*moment of silence please*

it's the end of an era

Anyway, I'm alive... working on getting well. so don't worry!
Stay tuned... I have a few crafty things up my sleeve. details to come soon! 

In the mean time... pop on over to to my BFF's BLOG and read about her homemade laundry detergent! I plan on trying this out myself when we have our own laundry room... IN THE 'BURBS *sigh*

Saturday, April 30, 2011

pucker up

Last month, my bff blogged about making her own lip balm (you can read about that here.) I love lip balm, can't go a day without it... so naturally, I begged that she send me a little pot so I could try it out for myself. Luckily she agreed to my demands and a few days later I had some in my hot little hands. I have to say, the stuff is great. It's so very similar to my beloved Lypsyl, which seems to be the only thing that keeps my lips moisturized during the grueling Chicago winters, but also happens to be very difficult to find. The homemade stuff takes the cake though, because obviously... it's made with LOVE.

I've spent the last couple of weeks gathering ingredients. I purchased beeswax ($15) and peppermint ($5) essential oil at Hobby Lobby and Shea Butter ($10) and Coconut Oil ($7) at Whole Foods. I found the lip balm tubes online. This was the annoying part... 50 tubes= $9 + $9.50 shipping. UGH, really?! $10 shipping on something that weighs a few ounces? It was the cheapest I could find, so I went with it. The rest of the ingredients, I had at home, so I was all set.

Lip Balm
0.5 ounces beeswax
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon shea butter
4 vitamin E capsules
20-25 drops peppermint essential oil 

In a double boiler, melt the beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. Once thoroughly melted, pierce the vitamin E capsules and squeeze them into the mixture. Add the essential oil.  Pour mixture into containers and let it set and cool completely before adding lids.

I created a double boiler with a pot of water and a glass measuring cup (I totally thought that I photographed it... but apparently not?) In order to get the mixture from the measuring cup into the tubes, I used a food flavor injector syringe sans the "needle" part. It hadn't been used before, so no fear of the lip balm tasking like cajun butter or some such thing. Of course, now I'll need to pick up another one before we have rotisserie chicken on Monday, but I digress.
Once cooled, I added the lovely silver caps:

The total cost for all the supplies (I did have vitamin E already, which runs about $6, I think) was just under $60. I got 50 lip balms out of it, so it's roughly $1 a lip balm... plus, I only used a fraction of my ingredients, I could probably make 100 more out of what I have left, I just need more tubes and ya know, an immediate need for 100 more lip balms! I'll be passing on half of my current stash to my sisters and mom in Texas and which still leaves me with plenty to share with friends!

You want some too? leave a comment before midnight CST on Sunday and I'll send 2 lucky people 2 free tubes of lip balm!