I Want That Wednesday

What do I want this Wednesday? To get the hell out of Dodge. This arctic weather is finally getting to me. I just about had a nervous breakdown yesterday. Seriously. The wind chill is about -10, my nose is running, my skin is dry, my lips are chapped and my hair is literally breaking off. I look a mess, and I just can’t schlep around in this anymore!

Luckily, I had the foresight to book a trip to Mexico. I leave today. THANK GOD. I almost want to cry with joy. But I won’t because my tears would probably freeze.

I’m leaving behind this…

For this…

I may be white as a ghost in my bathing suit, but I don’t care. Adios, amigos. Hasta martes!

(Chapala Image: Javier Ramos Salazar)

Long Live Expedit?

People are really up in arms about this Expedit news. If you haven’t heard, IKEA is discontinuing the iconic shelving unit. I somehow ran across the news on a record enthusiast’s (apparently the cubes are the perfect size for records) blog last week, but the outcry went mainstream before I even had a chance to bring it you. I’m not the journalist I once was… I’m sorry.

EXPEDITI don’t have a particular emotional tie to the Expedit, though I did inherit one from a friend who was moving cross country a few years ago and, damn, they can hold a lot of stuff. I had to get rid of it when I moved into my place in Roscoe Village because the piece was just too big, but I’d buy another if I had the space for it. It’s very versatile.

But the thing I think many people are missing is that IKEA is replacing it with… something that looks damn near exactly the same:

KALLAX with optional wall bracketThough I have to say the “optional wall bracket” it’s pictured with doesn’t exactly evoke confidence, IKEA says this new Kallax “is more durable (with a more scratch-resistant surface), more child-friendly (with rounded corners), and still fits all existing storage baskets and boxes.”

I’m not sure why it needs a new name, but I guess time will tell who wins the Expedit vs. Kallax battle. Maybe it’ll be like the Sears Tower/Willis Tower: The good guys will still call it Expedit.

Do you have a soft spot for Expedit? Share your story below.

(Images: IKEA, BHG, Because I’m Addicted, Dream Green DIY)

Weekend Rewind: Andy Visits!

One of my favorite people (and a past roommate, twice over) was in town this weekend: Andy! He lives in Portland now, but me and him go waaay back—like kindergarten back. Actually the town I grew up in is so small, that you pretty much know everyone your age (and your siblings ages) for your entire childhood. And I’m luckily enough to still call many of them friends. For instance, five of us in this pic went to elementary, middle and high school together:

GroupPicSilly Reilly with her eyes closed. Anyway, we went to brunch at Deleece. It was just ok, but I appreciated the fact that they could accommodate a group of 10, a rarity in Chicago’s packed brunch scene. I liked my breakfast the day before much better:

donutYup, that’s two doughnuts. Just for me. Deal with it. (Much love to Dinkel’s old fashioned, by the way.)

What were you up to this weekend? Hopefully you were more productive than I…

Foodie Friday: Spicy Shrimp and Roasted Asparagus Pasta

I love pasta. Just noodles with store-bought marinara or butter. Or even plain, cold ones. Boring I know, but I’ve always loved it and probably always will.

But my metabolism isn’t exactly what it used to be, and I’m starting to learn that a bowl of plain ‘ol pasta for dinner probably isn’t the best idea… There’s no way I’m giving it up completely though. (The horror!) Luckily, I found something just as good, if not better—and some omega 3 and antioxidants even sneak in:

DSC00097Spicy Shrimp and Roasted Asparagus Pasta
(serves 3-4)

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed if need be)
1 tablespoon + 1/3 cup olive oil
1 bundle fresh asparagus
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2  1/2 cups of your favorite pasta noodles

DSC00081In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, parmesan, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes (add more if you like extra heat). Put the shrimp and marinade in a large Ziplock, seal bag and shake to coat. Place it in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, snap the ends off the asparagus and throw them out. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces (or smaller if you prefer). Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to your taste. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and set baking sheet aside.

DSC00093Next, bring water to a boil in a large pot and cook noodles al dente. When you put your pasta in the water, also put your asparagus in the oven. Both should take about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add your shrimp and marinade mixture, and cook shrimp until pink (about 2 minutes per side). Do not over cook! As soon as the shrimp is finished, add drained pasta and the asparagus into the skillet and toss to coat. Then it’s ready to serve. Enjoy!

DSC00096 (Inspired by Food & Wine and How Sweet Eats)

How Much Money Do You Have to Earn to Buy a Home?

Big news guys: I’m meeting with a realtor tomorrow! OK, it’s very, very, very preliminary, but I’m happy that I’m being proactive about it—and there’s the added bonus of crossing something off my 2014 To-Do List. Basically I just want to figure out if it’s feasible for me to even be thinking about buying a condo or if I should scrape together ever penny for the next year and try again then. Is it a good time to buy? How much do I have to put down exactly? Why are HOA fees so friggin’ much?

I hope she’s ready for those questions and about a million more. Poor woman. But in doing some background research to prepare, I ran across this new Business Insider article about how much money you have to earn to buy a home in 25 different US cities. Here’s Chicago’s numbers:

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 5.56.31 PMI don’t know about you, but this seems extremely low. Then again, I live in a relatively clean, violence-free and accessible part of the city, and that’s generally where I’ve been stalking places on Zillow too. We’ll see what the realtor has to say. A 2BD/2BA for $187K? I could do that—but I doubt she could.

See the dets for other cities here.

I Want That Wednesday

“I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. Egotistical, right? I’m hoping in time it’ll help me define my personal tastes. Let me know if you love it/hate it/can’t get enough of it.

Every day I go back and forth on whether or not I like the oriental rug in my living room. I know it’s a high-quality, vintage piece—and actually it hides dust and dirt very well—but something about it just isn’t right to me. Maybe it’s too dark for the space?

Anyway, you know I swapped out the oriental rug for the yellow striped one in the bedroom at one point. It looked ok, but the dhurrie quality (not very plush) and light coloring (showed every single cat hair!) did nothing for me. And I actually missed it in the bedroom more than I thought I would.rug_livingroom

So it’s still a work in progress. Such is life. Maybe I layer a light sisal rug underneath it? Or I’d love to give this rug a go:

sci18-58_corner-suryaIt’s almost a hint at nautical without the sailboats or anchors, so of course I love it. It’s colors are light, but not so much that you worry about any little thing getting on it. I’m partial to this color combo, but if you’re curious, it also comes in berry/purple and lime/emerald.

Scion Patch Rug, about $825 for a 5×8 from Rugs Direct and Rugs HQ

(Rug images: Scion)

This Goes Out to my Homies

homiesWhat are The Homies, you say? It’s Apartment Therapy‘s annual web awards for blogs in the home design and home cooking space. Past winners include some major players in the home blogosphere including Young House Love (whose book I talked about here) and design*sponge (who also has a book I’ve discussed). I’m not saying I’m anywhere near that level, but just to be nominated would be an honor.

Which is where you come in. If you’ve gleaned some inspiration from one of my round-ups, attempted one of my DIY projects or whipped up one of my recipes—or you’re just a fan of my witty banter—please go over to Apartment Therapy and vote for Urban Nesting in the Home Design & Inspiration category. You have between now and THIS Friday (Feb. 21) at midnight EST to vote. You don’t have to write a paragraph explaining why you like the blog or anything; you just have to paste in the URL (https://urbannesting.wordpress.com).

Please vote now! (I’m sorry, you do have to sign-in, but please, please do it for me! It only takes a minute, I promise. xoxo)

(Image: Apartment Therapy)

Quiz: What’s Your Design Aesthetic?

Everyone’s favorite listicle website, Buzzfeed, now has a fun new design quiz! The questions range from “What color is your soul?” (definitely navy) to “How would you like your eggs?” (deviled, duh).

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 12.12.13 PMI got… Pottery Barn meets a Pinterest search for the term “rustic.” At first I was VERY upset. I’ve never bought a thing from PB or searched “rustic” on Pinterest! But then I read the description:

You love to keep your stuff in baskets and mason jars. Your dream house features a wood porch, exposed beams, and lighting fixtures made from twigs. When you are old, you will move to a log cabin or a cozy barn-like structure and live by lantern light.

OK, so it’s about half right. I do not have baskets, but I do like to drink out of mason jars. My dream house does have a wood porch and exposed beams, but definitely not lighting fixtures made from twigs. (What does that even mean?) And I can see myself going the log cabin route when I’m old and cranky, but I highly doubt I’ll give up electricity.

What’s your style? Take the quiz here, and let me know if it more accurately portrays your tastes!

I Want That Wednesday

My feet are in some desperate need of air. And that’s not to say I have cheese feet. I don’t take after my dad in that regard, thankfully.

It’s that I used to love boots, but this friggin’ forever-long winter has me anxious to slip into anything that starts below the ankle. Sandals, flats, cute sneakers. Hell, even heels sound appealing right now, and if you know me at all, I would never say that.

But these would make my feet (and heart) especially happy:

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 12.48.17 PMHow could they not? They’re so ridiculously cute. Sure, I don’t summer in the Cape or Kennebunkport or the Hamptons (yet), but I may have to splurge on these nonetheless. Are whales appropriate for the Midwest?

Whale Canvas Smoking Slipper, $138, C. Wonder