Monday, August 8, 2011

Found a Dress!

I made a bridal appointment last week even though I was dead set on making my wedding dress. My mom and Tom's mom, Shelley, were both in town and I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do. My plan was to get some ideas for my dress. I wanted to try on a few style so that I knew what looked good on me.

We arrived at the store with no intention of buying anything. I had a few pictures of the styles I liked with me. I showed my bridal consultant and she pulled a few dresses. I ended up buying the first dress I tried on! I really owe it all to the talented consultant. She knew exactly what I wanted before I did. When I tried the dress on for the second time, there were tears all around. It was one of those picture perfect moments.

My mom pitched in for the dress and Shelley purchased the veils. I am so grateful to both of them. Now, I just have to wait 9 more months to wear it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Silly Coloradans

As most of you know, we usually spend Memorial Day Weekend soaking up the sun in the Utah desert. This year we needed to find a new place to enjoy the long weekend. After some research, we decided on the Indian Dunes. They are only about an hour away from Chicago and there's sand. It seemed like a good alternative. The initial forecast looked okay for camping so Tom hauled all of our gear out of the basement and up three flights of stairs. Then, it started to rain. Silly Coloradans... we forgot that we are in the Mid-West. It rained, and rained, and rained, and ... well you get the point - no camping for us.

On Memorial Day itself the rain stopped and out popped the sun! We stood and stared in amazement at the big fiery thing in the sky. Then decided it would be a lovely day to take Chloe to the dog park on the lake shore. As we headed that direction we began to encounter traffic. As the traffic slowed to a crawl we were getting passed by numerous pedestrians in bathing suits. Bathing suits in the city? Hmmm. That doesn't make sense. Is there a pool nearby? Then, we began to get passed by people with bathing suits, lawn chairs, beach balls, etc. And that's when it hit us... ALL of these people were heading to the lake.

Instead of admit defeat we kept going east at a turtle's pace. Arriving at the harbor only to sit in a long line of traffic and watch some of the dumbest driving/parking fiascoes I've ever witnessed. Everyone and their mother, brother, sister, father, and dog was there. It was so bad that I literally hopped out of the car with Chloe, took her to the dog park for a while, and walked back only to find Tom had moved a couple hundred feet. Silly Coloradans... you live in a big city now. When everyone wants to go to the lake, you need to go the other direction.

For dinner we had a picnic on our roof. This was seriously the best part of our entire weekend. We were able to fully relax, tucked away from the crazy world below.

Our view of the city skyline was quite patriotic with the flag in front and the red, white, and blue lights in the distance.

Thank you to all of the brave Americans that
have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Back from Colorado

We traveled to Colorado last weekend for a friends wedding. This was our first trip home together, meaning we had to board our dogs for the first time. Luckily, after many hours of searching the web, I found a place that takes crazy dogs like our little Calvin.

We dropped the dogs off Wednesday morning. Both of us were nervous, perhaps it was like taking your child to kindergarden for the first time. Only, your child is the crazy, unsocialized one that bites people! The trainer handled Calvin extremely well. She let him know who was boss and he seemed okay with it. We were both expecting a call from her saying she couldn't handle him... but the call never came. They were even able to groom him.... and this is why I'm writing about it. He looks hilarious!

Calvin doing his patented "Prairie Dog" pose

The "Happy Dog"

And, of course, "Zoolander"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tom's Birthday

On Saturday we had some friends over to celebrate Tom's birthday. I made some of his favorites... lasagna, deviled eggs, and a variation of this recipe for Oreo Cupcakes. The Oreo in the bottom was the best part! Yummy. We ate, drank, and watched the Cubs kick the Rockies butts. (Bummer!)

As I had mentioned on here before, we purchased a grill for our deck earlier this month. Tom is usually VERY hard to buy gifts for. However, with the new BBQ he needed some accessories. Presents done.

Of course we had to try them out on Sunday night, which was his actual birthday. We made burgers stuffed with cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, basil, Trader Joe's Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade. They were delicious! (Have I mentioned how much I love living right by a Trader Joe's?) We spent the rest of the night relaxing and watching the Rockies beat the Cubs. (Go Rockies!)

It was a great weekend. I am so grateful to share my life with such a wonderful man :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Flowers!

This is our deck... empty and sad until a few weeks ago. The previous owners left us a couple of potted bushes. Very nice of them! One is a lilac which is looking very lush and green now. I'm still not sure what the other one is. It looks like a mini tree of some sort and is just starting to sport some tiny little buds.

I scored a bistro set on craigslist for $50 and we bought a few early spring flowers for our patio pot. It's amazing how much a little color will brighten up an outdoor space. I am still searching for the perfect window boxes to line the railings with, which will be filled with flowers and herbs.

Spring Patio

Lilac buds!

Ranunculus, Dianthus, & Pansies

(Chloe wanted her picture taken too!)

We also purchased a BBQ for the space and are looking forward to many meals outside this spring and summer. It's going to be our awesome little city oasis!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shamrock Shuffle

Yesterday Tom and I ran our first 8K. Our plans to train for the race never really materialized so we just went for it. Much to our surprise we both finished without any major complications. However, the post race care has included a lot of ibuprofen, ice, and aloe vera. (Yep, we are getting old.)

We ran the race together and finished in just over an hour; 1:00:32 and 1:00:33 to be exact. With over 40,000 participants, Chicago's Shamrock Shuffle is the largest 8K in the world. The course weaves through downtown and starts, and ends, in a park along the lakeshore. The weather was amazing. We had 80 degree temps and sun shine. It felt like summer!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Argentinian Steak - So Yummy!

We went to an Argentinian steak house with our neighbors a few weeks ago. It was AMAZING! The place is called Tango Sur and if you look at yelp you can read all sorts of fantastic reviews of it. They do not take reservations, so if you are the impatient type you probably want to go in the middle of the week at like 3:00 PM. Otherwise, prepare for a wait. We waited three hours to get in on a Friday night. It was 11:00 PM before they even sat us. When we left it was almost 1:00 AM and the place was still hopping. Gotta love Chicago!

Tom and I both agree that we would wait again for it - yes, it is that good. In addition to delicious empanadas and melt in your mouth steak, it is also BYOB. Ahh... BYOB, something we haven't explained on here yet. Many restaurants in Chicago are BYOB! Save some money by bringing your own adult beverages of choice. It's awesome!

We like to play a "Who would we take here?" game when we try new restaurants. This was a tough one. It would be a sure bet for any of our meat loving friends. However, I think Logan and Megan would especially enjoy it, and my dad if we didn't have to wait to get in.

Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Patty's Month

Tom and I knew that St. Patrick's Day is a huge holiday in Chicago. What we didn't know is that it's like a month long drunk fest for Chicagoans. We made a error by scheduling our housewarming party the same day as the St. Patty's Day parade. Even the green liqueur and Guinness cupcakes (which were amazing BTW!) didn't entice many people to come. That being said, we had a wonderful time with the people that did make it.

Prior to our party, we headed downtown to see the dyeing of the river. I was really excited about this. It did not disappoint; it was pretty darn cool. They say that the dye, which is a secret formula, is completely safe for the environment. I have to wonder if their "secret formula" is a lot like the "special ingredient" in Coca Cola. They didn't think that was harmful either. Anyway, we took some great pictures and learned some valuable lessons, which I have been nice enough to summarize for you below.

The Coloradans Guide to Surviving St. Patty's Day in Chicago:
  1. St. Patty's Day celebrations (a.k.a. drinking and wearing emerald green beads and headgear) start around March 1st and end... well I'm not sure when they end. We are running in the Shamrock Shuffle on April 10th, so maybe after that?
  2. Even though Chicago is not a morning town apparently people will get up as early as 6:00 AM to start drinking green beer.
  3. People drinking green beer all day = green puke.... watch your step.
  4. I'm sure you've heard that the traffic is really bad in Chicago... well, this goes for the sidewalks as well.
  5. If you want to see the parade, instead of the back of people's heads and the occasional tip of a bagpipe, you must claim your parade spot early.
  6. It turns out that pushing your baby in his or her stroller through a crowd of drunk people isn't the best parenting decision you've ever made.
  7. Don't be fooled by pictures of people in Chicago without their winter clothes on for St. Patty's Day. It is NOT warm here, they are simply too intoxicated to notice the real reason they can't feel their legs.
  8. Side affects of green beer at 6:00 AM include, but are not limited to the following: having trouble controlling the volume of your voice, dancing around like a moron, slurring your speech to the point that no one can understand you, and the inability to realize that no one else cares how much you've had to drink. If you are exhibiting these behaviors - stop F#%@ing drinking!
HAPPY ST. PATTY'S DAY!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We've Come A Long Way!

The rest of our furniture came in while I was in Colorado last week. I came home to dinning room chairs, kitchen stools, a new washer and dryer, and our murphy bed installed in Tom's office. Everything has finally come together! As I was flipping through photos today I realized just how far our home has come in the last few months.

It seems like only yesterday I was standing in a disaster zone taking these pictures. I was tired from a long drive, amazed by the home that Tom had picked for us, overwhelmed by the idea of designing the space for us to live in, and excited about my future in a new city. The movers had just dropped all of our belongings in a huge pile in the main living area. I remember wondering how this mess was ever going to get put away.

It has been a long process but, little by little, things have come together. Don't get me wrong, there are still little pockets of that original mess stuffed into corners (mostly in my office!) However, for the most part we are living in a finished space.

The spot where all of our stuff was originally dropped is the great room. It includes the back entryway, the living room, and dinning room. The kitchen also opens up to this space. Three months later, after lots of hard work and new furniture, it looks like this...



Monday, February 21, 2011

Master Bathroom

This color was the first one I picked and the last one I painted. Meaning... yes, I'm all finished painting! (Still behind on posting pictures though.)

I picked the light green/blue color for the walls because I loved the way it looked with our orange accessories. This bathroom does not have any natural light so I also wanted a color that would brighten it up.

A few weeks ago Tom went to Miami for a dairy conference. FYI - the dairy conference is always held somewhere warm and after living the midwest for a winter you realize why. So, anyway, while Tom was enjoying the warmth I was stuck here with the dogs and the cold weather. As a consolation prize he brought be back a little piece of the ocean, complete with an orange starfish that goes with our orange towels. Look at him go! They are the perfect accent for the bathroom.

BEFORE

AFTER


BEFORE

AFTER

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Heart of Our Home

Our kitchen was originally painted a warm buttery yellow color which I really liked. However, the paint was beat up in places so it had to be redone. They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home and I couldn't agree more. It's a place where I spend a lot of my time and I wanted it to be perfect.


I have never debated so much about what color to paint a room. Although the granite looks black in these pictures it is actually a very dark green with teal and gold accents. After lots of time and staring at samples we finally picked a teal blue color.

When the teal blue color went on the wall the teal was clearly missing and all we had was blue. It was dark and dreary. I hated it. It literally made me want to be anywhere but the kitchen. I'm not sure if we picked the wrong shade or if they mixed the color wrong at the store... but it was ALL wrong.


After more debating, and painting a bunch of sample colors on the wall, we went with a light and bright green. Problem solved. I love the color; it's very light and inviting. I like being in the kitchen again... so no more eating out for us. Well, okay, less eating out for us.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bedroom Bliss

It's Valentine's Day and I happen to be to the bedroom... coincidence? I think not. I really think that the master bedroom should feel like a retreat. I love the way ours turned out. It's beautiful and cozy.

The bedroom, and master bathroom which hasn't been painted yet, are Moab inspired. It was Tom's idea and I had found a bedspread a while ago that I loved that was "Moab" colored. Eventually, we will have some of the photographs that we've taken there on the walls.

Before After

We upgraded from a queen bed to a king. It pretty much fills the room but we love it. No more fighting the dogs for space while we sleep! There is plenty of room of all of us.

Happy Valentine's Day! Love to all :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hair and Chicago Climate

Since I arrived in Chicago my hair has been crazy frizzy and isn't curling like it use to. As a result I've been straightening it a lot. Which, as time goes by, seems to be adding to my unruly mane. Today I had enough. I researched a salon that I walk by and found out they had a stylist that specialized in Ouidad cuts. I decided to give it a shot.

Since I'm getting so good at before and after shots here are a few of my hair :)

This Morning - Before:

This Afternoon - After:

It looks like she took two or three inches off the length but she just trimmed it. The cut and style made it spring to back life.

I highly recommend Fox Hair if you are looking for a salon on the North Side, especially if you have curly locks. Everyone there was great. Jenny is the one that specializes in the Ouidad cut and she was fantastic!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pumpkin Bellini Room

Today, my focus is the family room. Which in the before pictures is still the color of.... well... let's just call it Pumpkin Bellini (a drink at snooze that is also this exact color.) When we first moved in I said that this room HAD to be the first one I painted... turns out it wasn't. Others rooms came first for different reasons.

The color actually began to grow on me. I can see why the previous owners picked it. It goes very nicely with the wood floors and adds a very rich feel to the room. However, it did not go well with our furniture and was the color of... well... you know. Here's what we did...

BEFORE PICTURES


This room was so much work to paint. One of the great things about this place is all the different angles. It's not as great for painting though... especially awful for taping.



AFTER PICTURES

I think it's safe to say that this is our dogs favorite room in the house.
It is hard to get a picture of the room without them in it.


This is also one of my favorite rooms. It has a great view of the Chicago Skyline and is the perfect place to relax with a yummy hot beverage and curl up with a good book.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Painting Update

Like I keep saying I have been busy painting. However, I have not had a chance to post before and after pictures. I have family members asking for these so I am going to post a room a day for the next few days to get caught up.

First, is the hallway. I guess it could be debated whether or not this is really a room. It is, however, a very important part of our home. From this hallway you can access our front door, both of our offices, the extra bathroom, and the family room.

Tom and I really liked the original green color. However, the walls were pretty dinged up and it needed to be repainted. The color we choose will be used in three different areas of the condo. Our home is very long and narrow so the idea is to unify it some with the same color being used in different places.

Before After

See that messy room at the end of the hall? That will be tomorrows topic...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Storm Update

Turns out this week's storm was the third largest to hit Chicago in recorded history. The snow fell for a total of 22 hours. O'Hare recored 20.2" and Midway recored 20.9".

Today was nice and sunny. The bummer about that is with the sun comes the cold; we had a high of 14 degrees. Tomorrow is supposed to be colder. It seems like in Colorado when the sun comes out the snow starts to melt no matter what the temp is. Not here. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for this snow to melt. May, perhaps?

The side streets are busy with people attempting to dig their cars out. Sidewalks are single file paths the width of a snow shovel. It's making it a challenge to walk the dogs, especially with Calvin's "issues."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicago Blizzard of 2011

Like most of the country we have been experiencing extreme weather. For those of you in Denver this is not normal for Chicago. In fact, there have only been 5 storms with snow accumulation over 16" in 126 years of weather records. There have been reports of up to 22" of snow in some of the suburbs. It sounds like we probably got around 16" here last night. I have no clue how they were be able to measure it considering wind gusts reached 70 mph. Here's a video of what it looked like. The video doesn't really do it justice.

video

When we woke up this morning the snow had stopped and the wind had died down. Chloe loves the snow... I think she is part rabbit.

video

It started coming down again right as we headed back inside and it's been going strong ever since. It's accumulating on the rooftops since the wind is not blowing as hard today.

(We probably have got about another 2-3" since this photo was taken.)

I'll keep you posted on the final snow tallies. Tom's working from home today so we are both safe and sound :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Coming Along...

Our home is coming along quite nicely. I think we have purchased most of the big stuff for it. We are just still waiting to receive most of it. I've done a lot of painting that I haven't posted pictures of yet. I wanted to wait until the rooms where complete. However, finishing most of the rooms has been a challenge. It seems like something keeps each one from being completed. For example, the bedroom would have been done this weekend except the mattress and box spring set we got was too high. They are switching out the box springs this weekend... making it just not quite complete yet - but very close.

That being said, I am going to set aside my perfectionism and post a picture of the room anyway. Here is a quick shot of our master bedroom looking into the family room. More photos, including before and after shots, to come soon...


Friday, January 21, 2011

PIZZA

Well, it's about time I discuss pizza... I am living in Chicago, right? Chicago is know for it's deep dish pizza. The problem is Tom loves a thin crust. Although, as our search for Tom's perfect piece of pie continues, we are realizing that he's not really looking for a thin crust either. He's on the hunt for more of a medium crust option. Abo's is our Denver/Boulder area fav and so far we haven't found anything like it in Chicago.

While his search continues, I am finding that I like it all! Deep dish? Delish. Thin crust? Divine. My favorite pizza place so far is Apart Pizza Company. They have thin crust pizza in all sorts of yummy signature combinations that are to die for. They also have awesome salad options. We had a Caprese type salad with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, & fresh basil on top of arugula (Logan, you would have loved it. Even with the tomatoes!)

Now, can someone please point me in the direction of the nearest gym?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dogs and Wood Floors = Hilarious

The dogs got really excited the other day.

For the sake of our floors I know I should have stopped them...
but I was laughing too hard :)

video

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nature Meets City

I decided to tackle our second bathroom yesterday. After my first project, Tom's office, this bathroom seemed perfect. Tom's office was probably the most difficult room to paint and this one is probably the easiest. The whole project only took a few hours. Awesome!

I had a hard time deciding what color to use.
The bathroom is full of tile and has a very modern flare to it.

These rust & gold glass tiles cover one wall...

... and this marble tile is everywhere.
It's shades of rust, black, and gold cover the shower, floor, and walls.

It seemed like using a rust or gold color would take away from the tile or be too intense. A light tan or yellow seemed too boring. That left only one more option...
That's right, BLACK.

Much to my surprise there were many versions
of the color black to choose from.


BEFORE PICTURES:
(Like Tom's office this room is also hard to get a photo of.
Below are my best attempts at before shots.)


AFTER PICTURES:
The theme for this bathroom is nature meets city.




The photos on the walls are pictures that I took hiking in Colorado.
I think it came together perfectly!