impromptu visits

a few weeks ago my older sister, hjd, told me she had to go to indy for business. i thought to myself "self you should just rent a car and go to indy and see her" but then i realized it'd be way easier for her to get on amtrak and come see me...so just that she did! $30 ticket and four days later and there she was! 

we put together a pretty jam packed weekend. lunch at a delicious little french bistro near my office (with my co-worker, anna, aka scoots) a little shopping for her while i finished out my day and thai for dinner. that was just friday!
saturday we woke up and went to the gym. i made hjd do a bootcamp workout with me. she could tell you that she was so sore from this workout that she could hardly walk for three days. you're welcome :) after bootcamp we got dressed, had a nice lunch at the gage, and went to the art institute. woah holy crowds batman. i know it was free february and everything but woah. just woah. we literally spent about 14 minutes in the galleries. she saw her monets and i saw my favorite o'keefe...

after that we did a little shopping in the art institute shop in the modern wing. i got the world's coolest highlighter and we both got fuzzy pencils. yes you will find us in the kid's section. that's why it's fun to spend time with my sister-we get to be kids again sans any judgement!

we made our way down the nichols bridgeway

i do love this city


from there we hit up the ice skating in millennium park. um, let me tell you that ice skating is not as easy as a grown up as it is as a child. we waited in line for 45 minutes and stayed on the ice (including the zamboni) for less than an hour...still a good time was had by all.

we rounded out our day with tapas at cafe iberico. i gotta say this was not my favorite part of the weekend. but it was fun and tasty and the future mister came along so that is always a good time. sadly the next morning hjd had to depart. but not all was lost, she returned two weeks later with my mother! a girl could get used to this!



must have

there are a few things that almost every girl loves. i have found during my engagement that the things i love are becoming very important to our wedding day. those things being:
beautiful paper
wait. that's the entire wedding, right? i suppose. but in exchange for better accessories i got a simpler dress. and to make those gorgeous flowers a reality i have been slaving away for hello darling for over a year now. but everything wonderful is worth the wait and worth the work.

that being said, there is one thing i really really really really really really really want. and at first it was just an internet-fueled pipe dream. what is it that i really really want? the christian louboutin glitter pump. 

hello lover. ok i know. those are so tall! i figured they'd be a no go no matter how often i wear a tall heel. well yesterday evening before meeting up for dinner with my fiance i made it over to nordstrom with my mom and one of my maids of honor to try these gorgeous pieces of heaven on and i have to report that they are soo incredibly comfortable. i was sold then and there.

now how to get them...because i can't imagine anything else under my beautiful white dress than these sparklers!!


no more naked tree!

i have to say i'm very excited about having a home of my (our) own for christmas 2010. my parent's moved from my childhood home about four years ago, and moved in with my grandfather to take care of him as lived out the remainder of his amazing life...so we spent a few christmases (is that the right word? who knows) at his home. this past year we spent the holiday at my older sister's condo and it was so fun! it made me especially excited to have a home to hang stockings for brian, lily and me and a tree to decorate!

all photos from martha stewart. duh. who does christmas better than martha?

my only reservation? the fact that between brian and i, we only have about 10 ornaments (and 9 of them are mine...)  

one night in january i was walking down broadway, heading home from picking up dog food or something like that, and i spied a sign in one of my favorite home decor stores (that is historically too expensive for my paycheck...) that said "christmas decor 50% off" omg sign me up!!

an hour later i walked out with a bag stuffed with some gorgeous ornaments. will our tree be overwhelmingly dressed? no, but at least it won't be naked!!

red for indiana university
purple for james madison university
 the lot. please don't judge my "backdrop" i am not a professional
 what is christmas without kissing penguins?? 
hopefully i remember to make their scarves in the next 10 months
here's to a beautiful holiday, even though its a long way away!!

happy lovers day!


happy valentine's day to all you lovers out there! my sweetie and i will be spending our last valentine's day as un-married youngsters cooking at home and watching big love. it may sound boring but before the future mister  took the job he has now he worked at a big-four accounting firm and i learned quickly that this time of year is truly busy season-so instead of wasting time getting dressed up and sitting at a generic restaurant we decided to cook with one another and enjoy being at home. 

this year's menu? king crab legs from dirk's, some delicious cheddar bay biscuits (i am making them, no need for red slobster) and our last bottle of wine from our trip to napa in 2007. i am sad that this is our final bottle, but now this is giving us an excuse to go back and stock up!

p.s. i realized i have about 8 different projects to post, so hopefully that'll happen since i totally skipped last week's post :( thanks in advance for your forgiveness!!


better late than never

when i was back on the east coast this winter for christmas i had the wonderful, delightful pleasure of watching my baby sister graduate from virginia tech!

hard to tell but there she is! yay katherine!

they were calling for some snow before graduation started, but we all (mom, dad, me, heather, katherine, auntie and uncle, and other auntie) figured, "hey, how bad can it get?" well, the short answer is bad bad bad bad bad.

arf arf. mom what is this stuff??
we got back to katherine's townhouse and did the world's fastest move out. filled three cars in 30 minutes. wouldn't you know that between 30 minutes to pack the car, 15 minutes to toast katherine with milk and papa john's (num num) and a few hugs more than an inch of snow fell? let me tell you people, virginia cannot handle the snow like chicago, and it was a m-e-s-s. heather and i had to drive a key 2 miles. TWO MILES (that is major because i don't ever use capital letters) and it took well over an hour. after we did that it took us another hour to get to the highway. the highway is a six mile stretch that leads to the interstate. would you believe it if i said that it took us six.hours. to get to the interstate? in those six hours we: 
got in a snowball fight roadside
got stuck in multiple snow banks-including me pushing heather's civic (wellington? is that the car's name?) out of the snow
got hit by a car that slid down the hill into us
contemplated the fact that we would inevitably starve to death
sang (mostly me-heather loves it when i sing)
contemplated where we (by we i mean me) would use the bathroom

holy snow batman!
so we get to the interstate. omg. the interstate is closed! fml! wtf! fmmfl! (sorry mom!) so what to do, what to do...well duh i will dig out a path and we will go the wrong way on the entrance ramp and head back to where we came from to our very warm and cozy hotel (thanks hawthorne suites!) and camped out for the next two days. 

sitting in this snow for 8 hours will do this to ya...

22" in total fell over the virginia/maryland area in less than 12 hours. that is a lot of snow in a short amount of time no matter where it falls, but in an area that is ill-suited to handle even 2" of snow, this was crippling. hence, we spent two days in the hotel and lived off of dorito's and diet dr. pepper (not a lot available in the sundries store of a limited service hotel). oh, and? my cell phone died and my charger was plugged into the wall in my office 1,000 miles away. perfect!

oh yeah, that's healthy.
the best part of this? spending 2 solid days of quality time with my lovely older sister and my gorgeous little puppy. there was no escaping each other. the tv had limited channels, and neither of us had the foresight to bring our laptops (oy!) lots of sisterly bonding.

heather + lily + hotel = lovely weekend

oh, and? lots of time for pictures!
aww best buy employees/college students are so cute

gangsta pup

the other best part of this, was, of course, how incredibly breathtaking the sky is after the downpour of flakes, when the storm has cleared and the sun is setting.


the worst part? shoveling heather's spot out when we got to her condo. hard work, but we are strong, able bodied women, and we got through the 2' (yes, that is 2 FEET) of snow in about 20 minutes. et voila!

 that shoveled portion? that is just the sidewalk.

one exhausted caro.


not the smartest driver...

good luck this weekend virginia! i hear it's supposed to be even worse this time!!


these old bones

i've noticed something lately. well not lately, per se, since i've always been something of an old soul, but definitely noticing it as a more consistent part of my life. what have i noticed? i have noticed that i'm getting old.

and please stop it before you lament upon your own age (hjd) because i only mean i'm starting to feel old(er) and less of the 20 year old i was just a few years ago. this isn't a complaint, either, just a general thing i have noticed.

this has become clear to me with the actual verbage in which i speak. this morning my girlfriend lola (of the invites) and i were talking, and her g-chat status message was "i want to make banana pancakes and pretend that its the weekend..." a la jack johnson. oh lola, how wonderful that sounds! i told her my plans for the weekend included taking tylenol pm, ignoring my playful puppy all morning, and maybe playing mario brothers wii all afternoon.

she said "who have we become?" i lamented "oy, i do not know" to which she replied "i'm going to power hour." i was shocked. she can't be old if she's going to power hour. my response of "oh i'm so jealous" (though not really, i still enjoy my plan) was met with "oh, that's not reality. that's what i would have said four years ago."

power hour? not so fun.

power nap? sign me up!!

can you blame me?


better in pairs

can i just say.
i wrote a gorgeous post.
it somehow got deleted.
and only because i really told myself that i'd blog
am i going to re-do it.

that being said...

sometimes i dabble in things. recently i have been dabbling in custom stationary. when my girlfriend lola asked me if i felt up to doing some baby shower invitations (babies! yay! twins! double yay!) i basically had to beg her to let me do it. we planned the theme (two peas in a pod) i got to work on an idea for the invitation design. lola wanted something sort of traditional but not too girly since the shower is for the mama who is having two boys. i sent her a mock-up, and started my shopping list. i hit up my neighborhood paper-source (twice-rookie mistake) and got to work.

i printed the body of the invitation on 8 1/2 x 11 pages of vellum (3 to a page) and set to work using my brand new paper cutter to slice them down to the appropriate size.

this is probably the most time consuming part of this project because vellum does not really absorb ink, so it takes drying time. i also had to be very careful not to smudge the ink even after an hour of drying. i only messed up one.

after that i got started with my hammer and eyelet setter to attach the vellum to the flat card. as mentioned above, we wanted a traditional idea but modern and a bit more masculine. so we nixed the (seen everywhere) tied ribbon and opted for the eyelet (and also my new favorite embellishment). mental note: when setting an eyelet you actually hole punch then insert the eyelet and hammer from the back. i may or may not have spent 20 minutes hammer from the front and wondering how the scrawny woman at paper-source could make it work but my swimming muscles couldn't make it happen. um, use your brain maybe? once i started doing that it went much quicker.

it was an afternoon of hole punch then eyelet insert then hammer than admire. oh, and a break every now and thing to PING lola and tell her how gorgeous it all was. (the modesty? i do not has.) (omg i just lol-cat spoke. how humiliating) (and i did it twice because that was in the original post).

a few hours of this et voila. completa.

for those of you who are wondering, the wording at the top is as follows:

two peas in a pod
two bundles of joy
two gifts from heaven
two sweet little boys

lola provided that little rhyme and i love it. don't you?

p.s. hear that? its my biological clock.


santa loves me

if by santa we mean my darling fiance, then yes, santa loves me.

this year for christmas the future-mister totally fooled me. i love to get clues from him to try to figure out what is going to be under the tree, and i'm always right. this year, however, he became keen to my tricks, and his clue of "Belgian Waffles" really threw me. could he have bought me this gorgeous waffle iron that we registered for {and that i have been lusting over long than i have even known him} but then i thought "he knows better than an obvious clue like that." so then i thought maybe he got me the leg massage machine thing from brookstone-and tried to throw me off his scent by telling me an obvious clue to a big ticket item. so that's all i came up with. my mom suggested he was surprising me with a trip to europe, but even i know that's a little far fetched at this point (with the wedding and everything, there's certainly no time/money for a trip to europe, let alone vacation days...) so i was stumped.

christmas morning he brought me a very nondescript manila mailing envelope. inside was a 5x7 note-card, and the picture was a replication of an oil painting by an artist we had scoped out at the farmers market two years ago. i still didn't quite get it, until he told me that the real thing was waiting at the studio for us to pick up. he also told me he was a little fearful to pick out the frame himself (yet he was confident in his choice of paintings...) so that would be a little task i would need to help with.

so, when we returned to chicago from our trip back to my parents on the east coast, we set out to art de triumph and commenced picture frame designing. with all the options out there in the custom framing world, i'm not surprised that he was afraid to do it without me-not that i'm particular or anything (hehe).

yesterday i went to pick it up and today i set out to hang it. that involved going to the hardware store (twice) for a stud finder and the accompanying 9 volt battery to make it work. a quick tap of the nail and we go from





 well that flash isn't very attractive

there we go.

he did pretty well, i think. this will be a gorgeous piece that we can enjoy for years to come, and i'm so excited to hang this behind a {hopefully new} sofa when we get a new place in a few months!!


well hello there...again...

i am the first to admit that i'm not the best with follow-through, and i believe that is what makes me a good event planner. i love to envision things, create ideas, make them, and then pass them off to someone else. this does, however, make me very afraid that i'm going to be an awful mom! that being said, my new years resolution is to follow through with something i started in 2009, and that, my friends, is going to be this here little bloggity-blog. that means blogging once a week. (say a prayer now!)

so, although i said "check back next week" for an update on my craft project, what i should have said was "check back next year" because i knew i'd get it done at some point, but i had no idea it would take me three months!

in addition to following through, i am not good at estimating times for projects! this one took me a good five hours, and that's not including the hour spent roaming around joann's deciding on a color scheme, then changing my mind entirely. i started with pink and black but realized that my furniture is all black and my bedding is green, so why not compliment that? (this also leads me to maybe possibly re-finishing my desk which is currently a natural wood color. we shall see about that).

um. holy hot mess, batman. 

the two focus areas for this project were the message board on the right, and the top shelf.

the only project that got completed was the message board. like i said, time management? i'm no good at that.

sidebar: how did santa know how much i love penguins?!?

hot glue gun and about six glue sticks (depending on how much glue you use. i use a lot!)
individual cork pieces (for this built-in type cork board, if you're doing a regular board, get the pre-framed one)
2 yards of fabric (WAY too much, so i might make a pillow...)
batting (again, bought way too much, but i knew i wanted it super cushion-y and doubled it up, still have enough to make a dog bed...)
grossgrain ribbon (my favorite!)
super cute flair for the criss-cross part (the ones i used were actually in the jewelery making section)
(i love parenthesis apparently tonight)


other supplies:
sustenance (in the form of pad thai)

well thanks sura, you took me quite literally when i said "lime on the side"

i used a cardboard box (leftover from christmas gifting) to make the back of the board a bit stronger, and have a base to build upon. after that i hot glued the now cut pieces to the backing

for all you multi-tasking people, i labeled the pieces so as to not get confused while still keeping up with the kardashians.

i then flipped it over,and proceeded to cover with batting

no lily this is not the bed i'm making you. patience! 
(see prior post about difficulty crafting with 3 pounds of lovable puppy)

then covered in fabric


the space waiting for its new cover

about this time my blackberry started ringing, and an old friend needed dating advice, so unfortunately i forgot to snap pictures while i tried to figure out how to stretch the one spool of ribbon i had (the thought of going back to joann's was exhausting, so like tim gunn, i decided to make it work).

after the ribbons were on it was time to install. mental note: hot glue is not like duct tape, and does not fix everything. onto plan b. i knew i wanted a tufted look, but was having a hard time making that work before...i thought well, i'll just hammer every criss-cross into the back! perfect, and solves two problems at once (the inability to tuft because i don't have a thick needle and the whole connection problem) so i got out my trusty toolbox (thanks dad!) and got to hammering.

(in case you've never seen a hammer or nails)

 things to note:
all those little silver dots are nails that i handily hammered in myself, only hitting myself once
yes they are a little crooked. as i said, i was on the phone, and i knew that perfect lines were not a requirement of this project, so i did not sweat it. 

then for the fun! adding the gems, and putting on my stuff!

pretty gems!


everything put back together.

so you might be thinking-what's the big deal? the big deal is that this board is fluffy. this board will not fall down from my desk. this board is sturdy and will hold my massive amount of cards, receipts, photo booth pictures, and other assorted fun things. so yes, it was five hours very, very well spent.

check back and maybe i will have taken five more hours to organize every other cubby and space in my desk, and hopefully i'll remember to take pictures to prove it!