Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Photo from STORYbyMia's Etsy shop.  Animal Note Cards
I have a new favorite Etsy store... well, really I'm just adding it to the long list of great artists who are on Etsy!  The shop is named 'Story By Mia', you can find it here.  She has a nice selection of super simple, yet beautiful, stationary.  It's the simplicity that gets me! She also has a nice photo blog, I wish I could be a little more proactive about photo documenting life!

I really like the idea of printing your own stationary.  Early this year I took a letterpress class and really enjoyed what came out of it.  I hope to do something like that in the new year too.  But I can't really buy my own letterpress, so I've been looking into some other, more manageable, printing methods such as the Yudu or the Gocco.  We will just have to see!



Picture from Louis Armstrong's Wikipedia page
Today I hear a song... La Vie en Rose, it's a song everybody knows.  You might think old movies when you hear it.  I really love Louis Armstrong's version, his voice is so nice and classic.  The original was sung by Edith Piaf and is of course in French.

Sometimes songs get you more one day then they do if it would have come up on another day.  I think this songs somewhat sad feeling goes with the grey, chilly weather outside today.  But I enjoy it anyways!  


Monday, November 29, 2010


On Sunday we decided to take it easy.  It wasn't until about 1:00 when we left the house. The plan was to get some food in our bellies.  Pizza Metro was the destination, only a little over a mile away from the condo.  It was a nice day and a walk was in order!  While we were exploring a street we hadn't been down... thinking, wow, that house is HUGE... it dawned on me.  This would have never happened in St. Louis.

We just didn't walk to get somewhere.  It was so much easier to drive, maybe more convenient is the right term.  I suppose here it's just easier to walk, parking never seems to be where you need it to be.  And then there is the fact that people in Chicago are actually out and about... it's just what you do.  So I'm enjoying the change of pace, walking to our destinations has been fun.  Mostly we are headed to restaurants but there are other places to go too... there is a 7-11 if we need a Slurpee, a dentist if it's time for a teeth cleaning or even a little neighborhood market if I need to stop to pick up some limes on my way home.

I'll get back to you when it's below zero... I may have changed my mind about walking by then!

Oh, and by the way, the pizza was yummy!  (As were the Suppli and Potato Crocchetta appetizers.)


Friday, November 26, 2010


Currently I'm enjoying The Devil in the White City... a story about the ideas behind the great worlds fair won by Chicago and wanting to rival the wonder that was held in Paris previously.  The architectural history is combined with a gruesome depiction of a crazy person who is obsessed with killing.  Killing women!  It all takes place in Chicago, of all cities.

It was recommended to me and so far it's really good.  I'm about half through with it and both the tales, the architectural dream come to life and the creepy serial killers ravage of Chicago's south side, are just so interesting!  And apparently true... I have a little more research to do on this point.  

It's super creepy and probably  not a story I should be reading as I have just moved to the city and at times must explore on my own!

What are you reading?  Any suggestions for my next book?



Picture from Kirta's Etsy website.
I've seen these wool felt balls quite a few places recently.  I'd really like to make something fun with them... I think I may be able to handle assembling a wreath like the one below but this fantastic rug would definitely be an item that would need to be purchased!  On their Etsy shop Kirta, they have a super modern pebble felt rug that is pretty wonderful too.

I don't think I will be attempting to make my own felt balls but am on the look out for a good deal on a assortment of colors.  This would be perfect on our condo door for the winter months and a fun little project to tackle in Chicago!  Here is the DIY info from Pickles blog!

Picture from Pickles Blog

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Intersection of Damen, North and Milwaukee. Taken by Matthew Sallee
Chicago Magazine recently put out a call to all amateur photographers who can show those 'undiscovered' pieces of Chicago, what they called 'your Chicago'... you know those places that aren't seen everyday.  The winner has been chosen and is featured in this months issue but the one I loved is this great picture of Mr. D and I's new neighborhood.  Isn't it a great picture!  That flat iron building is my favorite building so far.  This is where the Bucktown and Wiker Park neighborhoods meet.

We are still discovering little places here and there... it's a big city and we have a lot to explore!



©2010 Ralph Hut, Zurich

Interior Design magazine had this small article on the transformation of Zurich's 19th century railroad viaduct.  The railroad is still operational (which is pretty crazy).  I remember seeing a different viaduct on my trip to Europe, they are quite substantial structures so I suppose it's not so crazy.  What they've done with Zurich's viaduct is pretty cool... it's now a shopping and restaurant destination.  I'd love to go shopping in this area!

But what I really like is the whole look of the development... the old stone arches that support the railroad in contrast to the new modern architecture that makes up each shop.  The shops are nestled into the arches and it's really just a nice complement.  

One of the most recent additions to the district is a store called Komplementair, which is what the ID article is about. 


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This year we are a bit misplaced for the holidays... I think we both kind of feel out of sorts with the move.  But last year was a different story!  Mr. D and I hosted Thanksgiving at our home in St. Louis with our family.  His family and grandmother and my mother.  It was a nice gathering... with lots of food!

I remember being so excited to plan the meal and get to cooking.  My mother and I cooked for days!  Those are memories that I'll have forever...

The menu was quite aggressive... most of the items chosen I'd never attempted before! 

While the turkey was cooking we started things off with a Thanksgiving cocktail and appetizers...
The signature cocktail was the The Poinsettia, a yummy champagne cocktail with cranberry and orange liqueur.  The appetizers consisted of Spinach and Artichoke DipStuffed Mushrooms and (we planned on making Baked Brie with Pear Chutney, but change of plans... instead we made...) a brie round with mixed nuts and fruit (pears and apples).

Dinner... which was a little later than planned (good thing for the appetizers!)... included a variety of Thanksgiving staples but with a little twist!  I consulted all sorts of magazines, websites and favorite cooks and chefs and ended up with the following mix of deliciousness! 
And of course there was still dessert!  We had a variety of goodies... there were chocolate coffee cookies and a blueberry crumble (YUM!), a powdery snowflake cookie, and a Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake (Mrs. Paula Dean's of course).

It was quite the feast!  I remember being so worn out from cooking that I wasn't even hungry... but I also remember everything being so tasty!  It was so nice to have our family celebrating with us in our home, something we were very thankful for.

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your loved ones... Safe travels!


Saturday, November 20, 2010


Well, probably not.  But in our house Brussels sprouts are the boss when it comes to veggies.  We don't always make them but when we do... we are never disappointed. Thanks to our lunch the other day we ended up concocting a pretty good recipe. Combining how we've made Brussels in the past (a great Real Simple recipe, we subbed pecans for almonds) with cooked Pork Chorizo.  It was delicious!  Served it with a little organic short grain brown rice (and for me a glass of wine) and we had a really nice dinner. The Chorizo was from Whole Foods... they have a great selection of pork and chicken sausages (as were the sprouts).  Add a little olive oil, garlic, almonds, salt & pepper and a hot oven and that's about it.

I must thank Belly Shack for the idea...


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Conan O'Brian and Russell Brand - Image from www.teamcoco.com

Mr. D and I have been watching Conan now that he's back on the air.  TBS is a good place for him... Leno can have NBC!  He seems more relaxed and loose which is what Coco's all about!

Russell Brand has been my favorite guest so far!  He was on Wednesday nights episode and it was laugh out loud funny.  Those Brits have a large vocabulary...

You can find the interview here.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I heart... Anthropologie.  I have a feeling that there will be many, many more posts about this store.  I recently got their November 2010 mailing and well, it's always a treat!  Their unusual shoots and beautiful styling always catch my eye.  This catalog looks like it is based on a dream theme.

My wish list is as follows...

I think these little stuffed animals are adorable!  Would be a cute gift for a little one.  The dress on the other hand would be for me!  It's so pretty and looks comfy.

Looks like I'm loving flowers... overszied on the sweater (great for Chicago's cold weather!) and small on the beautiful dress... so lady like!

And some of my favorite shots included animals... funny!  I do love the boots... and the sheep.  I also love the fox... not so much the chair but the wall paper is pretty!

Well, the catalog is always interesting and every month I daydream about spending an obscene amount of money.  Until next month...


(All images are from Anthropologies November 2011 catalog which can be found here!)


I am so excited to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!  It opens this Friday, the first installment of the last book.  A couple of weeks ago at Half Price Books I found the 7th book in the series (when I read it I borrowed from a friend and for some reason have never picked up a copy for myself).  But this version is the British publication, which is so cool, so it had to come home with me!  I plan to start it today and hope to be well through it by the end of the week.

Mr. D, who is not a fan of seeing movies on opening weekend, has agreed to go with me.  On Sunday afternoon... in an attempt to avoid the crowds.  We will see how well that works!  I couldn't be more excited... I really think that the story has such a great imagination and the movies, although not better than the books, do a great job of bringing the story to life (unlike the poor Twilight book-to-movies which I am also pathetically addicted to).


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This move to Chicago has really made me think about how to really maximize the space I have.  Moving from a 3 bedroom house to what is called a 2 bedroom condo has been quite the change.  Really it hasn't been a problem yet, we haven't moved all of our things... we haven't moved much at all!  But today I was swapping out all of our summer clothes for winter clothes (something I haven't had to do for 3 1/2 years because of ample closet space) and I thought... what in the hell are we going to do with all of our stuff when we do have to move it!!!

This move is going to be a great lesson in keeping only what we need. 

I saw this video about living in a very small space... the size of a parking spot in Japan.  This man built a $500,000 house with a foot print of about 8' x 12'.  Can you imagine??  The kicker... his mother lives with him!  Now that is small space living... They have only the necessities and large windows to maximize light and to give the illusion of space. 

Well, I think we still need to pare down what we bring with us but I doubt we will get to living as minimal as Fuyuhito and his mother!


Monday, November 15, 2010


Screen shot from Design*Sponge

Well, not sure it can be called a true road trip... only a mere 85 miles way.  Mr. D has given me the task of planning a short trip to Milwaukee!  A job I lovingly take on. Milwaukee is no longer just a beer and manufacturing town... the city has grown it's culture and diversity and boasts a strong restaurant scene, a growing indie and art following and of course great boutique shops, all while holding on to its roots.

When we travel there are a couple of websites that I (and Mr. D) like to look at, aside from the typical sites such as Yahoo Travel or Trip Advisor (which is great!).

I always go to Design*Sponge, they have some great City Guides that are written by locals who know where the great spots in town are... where to eat, what to see, where to shop and how to live like a local.  Every week they are adding more and more cities so I always go to see if they have our travel destination.

Mr. D always goes to Guy Fieri's Tripple D website... one of his main goals is to eat good food.  So in the past we've relied on Guy to find us some good spots, and he's done a pretty good job!

So for this trip, I've decided that I'd like to got to:

  • MAM, I must see the architectural wonder that was designed by Calatrava.
  • The Home Market, get a little shopping in... we will be driving so the possibilities are endless. :)
  • Maybe spend early evening wine tasting at Balzac.
  • And another evening tasting local beers at Lakefront Brewery.
  • I must also take a quick peek inside of Milwaukee's newest hospital project on Lakefront Drive, Columbia St. Mary's. It was a project I worked on while at HOK and this would be the perfect opportunity to hop on in and take a look see!
  • Must also find a local art shop so I can pick up a small piece to remember our trip by...
  • Maybe we could rent some bicycles and ride through Kettle Moraine State Forest
I now have some more planning to do!  Go check out Design*Sponge's City Guides... they are really great!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mmm... LUNCH!

This afternoon, after a morning of watching Zombieland (and actually liking it!), Mr. D and I braved the chilly and drizzly weather to go grab some lunch.  I've been talking about going to Belly Shack for a few weeks now and from our experience today I will be back.  Initially, I liked the look of their causal style and the sound of the unique menu.  And in the end we were not disappointed!

Belly Shack is located at Milwaukee and Western right below the Blue Line stop.  The sound of the L going by is definitely part of the charm.  The interior is pretty minimal with an exposed plywood soffit and plywood counter, dark grey walls and industrial light fixtures.  There are also graffiti like sketches and decals on the walls that match the Belly Shack logo and fit in perfectly with the music playing.

And here's what we ended up with!

Mr. D ordered the Korean BBQ Kogi with Kimchi & SSam Paste - DELISH!

I ordered the Asian Meatballs with Somen Noodles & Korean Chili Paste - there was a hint of mint in the meatballs, it was very interesting.  Very good and very filling!

 Now, my favorite part of the meal was these fries, Togarashi Fries!  They were salted with chili powder and lime with a Curry Mayonnaise dipping sauce.  SO TASTY!!!  The chili and lime were such a great combo.

Have I mentioned we will be back?  A couple of other things I'd like to try... well, the rest of their main courses (!), the Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and their soft serve ice cream (Hucklerberry-Lime and Mint Brownie sound good to me!  Mr. D will be getting the Bacon Chocolate Chip, I'm sure...)


Friday, November 12, 2010


Today I was reading through Interior Design Magazine and came across a designer who put together this fun design style website.  It's called Sproost and it was developed by Melissa Winn (and a group of very important others!).  It's been around since 2008... so once again, I'm a little late.

They give you a short quiz... it's easy!  You select varying options of loving or hating the images that pop up.  With your input they are able to get an idea of what your style is.  The images range from traditional Asian or country to rustic or modern.

My design style ended up being 'Vintage Modern'. (50% Vintage Modern / 33% Hollywood Couture / 17% Rustic Revival).  Here's what they say about Vintage Modern.

"Flea Market anyone? You know you are drawn to modern furniture and interiors, and yet you really don't like a space that feels cold and sterile. And who could blame you? And that's why Vintage Modern is so appealing to you. Though the backdrop of the room, the walls and windows, are many times white or monochromatic, the furniture and accessories have the color, shape and texture to bring the warmth into the space. The great thing about Vintage Modern is ease of mixing different styles in the one space. You can have a new modular sofa mixed with a great pair of chairs that your grandmother purchased in the late 1950's and the new and old work appear as though they were destined for each other. What's great is that even if you don't have time for swap meets and garage sales, so many of the pieces from the mid-century were so great that they have been remade and mimicked year after year."

They go on to talk about material and color... what a fun idea!  They also suggest pieces of furniture and accessories that match your style... if you are in the market for some new items for the home.

Whats your design style?


Thursday, November 11, 2010


I seem to always be a couple of years late to some influential social trends.  Might be small... like a movie everyone is talking about (still haven't seen Avatar).  Or bigger... like Facebook (which if we are FB friends you realize that I am pretty much addicted).  Blogging could definitely be counted, as well as the current fashion trend of leggings (just can't bring my self to sport them... and they are so cute on others)!

A recent discovery of mine is Pandora Radio.  Yes, I'm about 3 years late but I'm loving it and am ready to be able to stream great music like this in my car!  You can, with only minor effort, create your own personal radio station!  And you can have multiple stations, so if you are feeling like listening to Fiest's I Feel It All, make a station and they will play it and other songs that you may love, then change to your Micheal Jackson radio and songs that are similar to his music will play.  After a little time liking or disliking songs... you've got yourself a winner!

My favorite, of my many stations, has got to be American Honey Radio.  It plays the perfect mix of country, alternative rock, instrumental, indie and also artists that i've never been exposed to.  I've heard new artists like Matt Costa or old that I haven't heard in a long time like Anna Nalick.  It's really great and makes for some great sound for my ears.

 Do you have a favorite station... or a great song that I should make a station with?

I heart music, for sure!



The reason I went back to St. Louis this week was to join in on a big surprise.  I heart surprises and the suspense of keeping them... and the face of the guest of honor!

Well that person happens to be a friend of mine, we call her Lu.  She is pregnant with baby #2, who I have lovingly named Baby Cucumber.  If you are a mama, or know a mama... there are weekly updates on the size of the baby, comparing them in size to veggies and fruits.  A cucumber was funny and it stuck for me.  I was informed of the surprise with plenty of time to prepare so I had this fun idea of making her some cute personalized onesies.  Onesies are cute enough because of their size but then when you put cute or clever saying on them they become irresistible!  At least to me... haha!

So when I was in KC for a short stay my Mom and I worked on a little project.  I had already developed the graphics that I wanted to get on the clothes we just need to gather all our supplies (really simple... ink jet printer, tee-shirt transfer paper, cutting surface and exact-o, extremely hot iron and the little adorable onesies).

We printed them, cut 'em out, and ironed them on (all while enjoying a glass of wine... or two).

I was so in love with them!  I knew we needed to get some pictures of them so the next day we went out to a section of new fence and had photo shoot.  Here's what we ended up with...

And after we saw the pictures I knew I had to make some sort of card to go with the gift.  So I decided to write a little note to Baby Cucumber.  It's just a little 4x6 card printed front and back.

In the end it was so much fun, the whole process.  Spending time with my mama and celebrating with soon to be mother of 2!  It's just really exciting time and I wouldn't have missed it.  Lu was very surprised and will soon be able to enjoy all of the gifts her coworkers showered her with.  And we all can't wait to meet Little Miss Cucumber!



This Monday was my second week of blogging.  And I failed!  Monday-Wednesday my page was blank... and that was definitely not how I wanted my second week of this to go.  I do have a great excuse... driving back and fourth from Chicago to St. Louis and spending time with my lovely girlfriends (and a sweet little one!) and co-workers and taking care of a house that wants to find a new loving owner.  The driving and the socializing was exhausting but I loved every minute and am always so happy to catch up with those wonderful people who make up my life.  

So the rest of this week I am back in Chicago job hunting and exploring my new spot in life. 

And I will make up for the last three days!  Bad blogger... no more. :)


Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm always looking for the next little piece of art that I'd like to frame and hang in the bare corner of the hallway...

For the past few years I've really relied on a site named Tiny Showcase (in addition to local shops and places we may stumble upon while traveling).  This is a site that focuses on small, affordable artwork. Each week a piece is chosen to be reproduced, in limited quantity, and sold to the public at a great price.  Every Tuesday a new artist is featured and a portion of the sale is donated to a charity of the artists choice... which is pretty neat-o!

This print, Ocean's Don't Freeze by Jen Corase, hangs in our dining room.  I loved the pop of red in the sea of greens.  Dining Room photo taken by Christopher Thiemet (agent broker/owner of Circa Properties)

Well, today I spied a new source.  Some Prints.  Another great way for independent artists to get their names out there and show the world what they have to offer.  I will be keeping an eye on this site and hope to see a lot more artists work featured.

catch the worm, early bird - and - montparnasse by graphic nothing

There are so many places online to find great artists.  Do you have any favorites... online or in your own community?


Thursday, November 4, 2010


All of my high school friends will remember this old guy!  Ebenezer is a donkey who lives off of Main Street, just west of Grandview's 'downtown'.  I remember driving out there to get to Jack's Stack or to get to 119th (and do some shopping!).  He was always there, and there were always people bringing food to feed and pet him.  

Recently the old guy had some health issues and the couple who owns him didn't have enough money to take care of him, they are in their 80's with health problems of their own.  A story ran in the KC Star and just like that they raised enough money ($10,000!) to get him the treatment that was need.  While he was away at the vet (83 days) a group of people tore down his old shed and built a new one on a concrete slab to keep Ebenezer's hoofs dry.  This guy really brought the community together!

Well, today my mom and I were driving by and there he was!  We stopped by to say hi and give him some love.  I heart... animals!

And I just love these stories... they warm the heart.



I can always go on to Anthropologie's website and find something I must have.  They continually gather the greatest collection of accessories, classic and quirky to statement or casual pieces that you can add to your perfect outfit.  What a job that would be... travel the world to find unique and fun items!

I think these necklaces are gorgeous.  They'd be the perfect addition to freshen up a cute white top or... a wedding day... for a bride who isn't afraid of a little color!  

You can find these beauties on Anthropologie's website... here, here and here!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I couldn't snap a good picture of tonights sunset but found a great one online.  Photo by Jeremy Karouta of Eindhoven, Netherlands 
Over the years I've started to realize that flying in an airplane is completely unnatural, you are in this large (and very heavy) thingamabob with tons of other people and you are floating through the air (defying gravity) at very high speeds to some far away destination.  To me it is just weird but I put all of those thoughts to the back of my mind so that I can get from one place to another quickly.  And there are many other things about the whole process that I do not enjoy (this book was great and put a lot of complaints about flying that I've had down on paper) but what I'd really like to focus on is the beauty I see in it.

There is something so magical about being 30,000+ feet above the earths surface and watching the sun set.  You can see the curvature of the earth and the dark blue sky fading to a fiery pink.  It really is a pretty site... I heart!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Packing!  It takes me FOREVER to pack a bag.  Even for a long weekend!  And let's not even get into a longer trip.  I have to pack for days when there are more than 4 days involved.  There are all these what-if's that pop into my head.  What if it's unseasonably warm/cold?  What if it rains?  What if I want to wear yellow?  Serious questions my friends!

Then there are toiletries.  You'd think it's be no problem... I use this stuff everyday... you know what you need!  Nope.  I sit there and stare in the cabinet, the drawers.  Oooh.  This is a cute necklace (haven't worn it in a year).  I'll need blush (never wear it).  I should bring nail clippers, a nail file and polish.  What!?

I'd love to figure out a way to simplify my packing process.  A list helps but I just always seem to get stuck packing a hundred things that I would never use.

This week I'm taking a little trip back to KC to spend some time with my mother and a good friend.  I decided to set some boundaries for myself when it came to packing for this trip.

Rule #1 - No List (I figured it's only a 4 day trip, I can figure out what I can't live with out for 4 days with out a list... sometimes the lists get out of control...)

Rule #2 - Only pack what is absolutely necessary (Mom has a hair dryer, along with shampoo, conditioner, nail clippers, etc)

Rule #3 - (this is my biggest problem) I am only allowed to pack one top per day, plus one extra for the whole trip.

I didn't time myself but these 'rules' really helped me!  I definitely feel that I cut my packing time down significantly!  Hopefully I can stick with this idea and quit obsessing about packing. :)

Here is our little monster Coach... upset that i moved his favorite sleeping spot to take over the bed while packing but it turned into a cute little photo op!

Does packing take you forever?


Monday, November 1, 2010


It's November 1!  The end of the year is quickly approaching, I really can't believe it.  Well, I'm very glad that Halloween is over.  Very soon I will be able to walk into the store and not be tempted by my, hands down, favorite candy.

This year we didn't have any trick-or-treaters... we really didn't expect any with the way the condo is set up.  We watched Beetle Juice... is that Halloween enough?  Did you hear about the kid who dressed up as the Rangers manager?  Pretty funny... that was my husbands favorite costume.  I liked one I saw on the Today Show... a lobster and cook.  The mom was dressed as a chef, white coat and big white hat, and the baby was dressed as a lobster (kind of like the one here... i heart!).  She was carrying the lobster baby in a big pot.  Really, too cute...

Here's a comparison picture of the little boy and the real Ron Washington.  He got to call out 'Play Ball!' before the start of the game.  That's pretty cool for a kid-o!