Weekend Rewind: Garden Party

Guys, I really let you down. I don’t have a single good picture of my garden party setup! I’m so disappointed, too, because the courtyard looked amazing (the sweeping alone took over an hour and gave me a huge blister!), and I’d made a bunch of fun snacks and drinks.


I’ll give you one hint why I didn’t get any pics…


Yup, right about the time everyone had gotten a drink and we were thinking about firing up the grill, it poured. POURED. We all went running into my apartment, everyone grabbing hot dog buns and chips and dip and whatever else was close by. Luckily, the storm cleared off, and we were able to move the party back outside after about 45 minutes. But by that time, the presentation was ruined. Womp womp.

Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to have another party to make up for it! ; )


Weekend Preview: Garden Party Inspiration

It was probably not the best idea to play hostess on back-to-back weekends. Last weekend was my high school reunion (luckily at a bar, not my apartment), and this weekend is the Garden Party, which I’m actually much more excited about!

I don’t have a garden so much as a courtyard, but it’ll do the trick. The plan is to drink and BBQ and welcome back a friend who has been abroad for a few months. An added bonus: The theme is Connecticut Casual. What is CC? It’s boat shoes and bow ties, seersucker and critter shorts, and basically anything salmon-colored or striped. See Vineyard Vines.

Since I genuinely love all of those things, I don’t even have to look for a “costume” (my mom actually bought me the perfect dress for such an occasion a few weeks back), which is great because it leaves more time to prep decorations and food! Here’s what I’ve got in mind…

Beverage Dispenser: These things are EVERYWHERE this summer! I keep going back and forth on whether I should buy one – I don’t really have a place to store it – but luckily for me, a friend is letting me borrow his. I’ll be mixing up a gin cocktail for the group, and it’ll be great just to make one big batch instead of taking multiple trips to the kitchen while the party’s going on.

Striped Bunting: Love the preppy look of this nautical party. Is it bad that this is a 1-year-old’s birthday party and I’m 27? Whatever, it’s adorable, and it should be easy enough to DIY. Could also go the tassel garland or paper fan route… we’ll see what kind of paper I can find on sale.

Christmas Lights: I think mood lighting is a must for a party that’s going to start in the daylight and move to night. I love the Pottery Barn-style globe lights as much as the next person, but there’s really no point in spending money on those when I have regular Christmas lights buried in a holiday box in the storage area. Wish me luck finding them!

Butcher Paper Table Runner: I just picked up a roll of butcher paper at the Dollar Store the other day for different project, but then I started thinking how great it’d be as a table runner too. I could write on it with chalk or just a Sharpie or create a design with washi tape. Gotta love getting multiple uses out of something that’s only $1!

Mason Jar Candle Holders: Mason jars? Check. Tealights? Check. Water? Check. Centerpieces made from stuff you already have around the house? The best. I don’t have any of that straw string stuff, but I’m not a big fan of that anyway. Too country.

Fruit Kabobs: I want to incorporate some healthy options into the party menu. I’m not on a diet or anything, I’m just attempting to eat healthier as part of marathon training. Plus, the boys are making hot dogs and hamburgers, and we have a few vegetarians coming so I need some meat-free options outside of dessert. I’m cheap and don’t want to buy plastic silverware, but I do have a pack of skewers in the drawer. Problem solved!

Have a good idea for me? Sent it my way! But you better hurry… The party is tomorrow!

Before and After: Interior Accent Door

Before I painted the living room and dining room a few weeks ago, everything in my apartment was this gross chalky white. Not like a crisp, Scandinavian starkness. The kind of white that, say, you touch with a dirty finger, and when you go to wipe it off, it just disintegrates into a little pile of dust on the floor…

Like I said, gross white.

Not only did they use this cheapo crap on the walls, they also covered all of the interiors doors with it to. Why not just leave the wood stain? Or at least something other than white. I mean, look how great these accent doors look:

So that got me thinking… I did have some leftover paint from the living room…

Ta-da! Say hello to my new navy door! Now I’m probably going to regret this decision when I have to paint it back white before I move out (all those little nooks and crannies did take awhile), but I love the way the brass padlock looks. Now if only the door handle matched… oh, rentals. I guess you can only do so much!

Weekend Rewind: 10 Years Later

I’m still kind of in disbelief, but it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school. 10! Honestly, it does feel like a long time ago that I was roaming the halls of good ‘ol CCHS, but to put a number on it sure makes me feel old. And so does seeing a bunch of my classmates with kids—plural! Oy vey!


Our reunion was this past weekend, and I actually hosted it. I thought people were joking that the class president has to plan the reunions, but apparently not. I have to admit: I phoned this one in. I mean, I did some stuff, like booked a venue and posted a throwback picture every week to keep people engaged with the Facebook invite. But decorations-wise, I definitely could have done better.

The truth is I didn’t want to spend money on people I probably won’t see again for another 10 years. Is that terrible? Everyone paid for their own individual drinks and food, and so it would have been all on me to fund any extras. But I’m also hosting a party this upcoming weekend at my apartment, and frankly, I’d rather put the money toward a party with my actual friends. Sorry classmates, I’ll make a better effort in 2024!

Did you go to your high school reunion? Was it something special? I kind of feel like Facebook has ruined the surprises of reunions, no?


Foodie Friday Returns Next Week

Hey guys, my apologies for the lack of posts this week. The summer solstice is technically tomorrow, but it really felt like this week kicked summer off. And from what I can tell it’s going to be a wild one! I’m insanely busy, but I’ll get back on my game next week, promise.

Plus, it’s not all work and no play. My day is ending with an ice cream bar after all…

photoHave a great weekend!


I Want That Wednesday: Aqua Striped Pillow

Once the new rug comes in, I think I’m going to need to reevaluate my throw pillow situation. One or two just need a good cleaning or new insert, but a couple don’t quite fit the style of the room anymore and at least one the cat has gotten ahold of… grrr.

This cutie is at the top of the wish list right now:

You know I’m a sucker for damn near anything with stripes, but this pillow cover takes the cake with the herringbone detail. I love the colors for summer, but they’re still subtle enough that it wouldn’t look out of place year-round. It also comes in red and yellow if blue isn’t your thing!

Aqua Striped Herringbone Throw Pillow, $25, World Market

(Images: World Market)

Disclaimer: “I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. The products featured are never sponsored; they’re simply items I’ve come across that I’m crushing on and that I thought you might enjoy as well. Let me know if you love it/ hate it/ can’t get enough of it.


Choosing the Right Rug Size

I’m getting pretty good at visualizing concepts for a space, but I’m definitely NOT good at visualizing objects’ dimensions within a space (see the time I bought a Craigslist couch and it wouldn’t fit in the door… doh). I blame it on never having taken a physics class. Or is that more geometry? Hell, I’m really not good at any of the maths or sciences, so it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I’ve decided on a rug! The one I went with will be a surprise, but I had to figure out what size to go with first. So I consulted Emily

Since I don’t have cable, I didn’t watch Design Star when she was on, but I love Emily’s blog, and I feel like she’s the California version of my cool older sister. If I had an older sister, I mean.

Sooo… with Emily’s advice swimming around in my head, I set about taping off a few different options. I used painter’s tape so I could easily take it up and move it around. It worked surprisingly well.


I think I’m going to go with the 6×9… stay tuned! I’ll reveal the new rug soon!

Foodie Friday: Pesto and Arugula Pasta Salad


Whenever I use pesto in something, it makes me think of Jimmy Pesto from Bob’s Burgers. Who’s with me?


Just me? Well, ok then. But seriously, that cartoon is weird. And awesome.

But moving on. Fresh and tasty salads for summer are also awesome, especially ones that require minimal effort. I love a chopped salad just as much as the next person, but doing all that chopping yourself is a real pain in the patoot.


Enter the pesto and arugula pasta salad. It’s quick and easy; it takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s so easy, in fact, that I’m not even going to add measurements. It’s really just up to your personal tastes. Try it out.


Penne pasta (I used Barilla Whole Grain Penne)
Roasted red peppers (homemade or not, your choice)
Pesto (again, homemade or not)
Fresh mozzarella cheese, diced


Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water al dente. While you’re waiting for your pasta to soften, combine peppers (Full disclosure: I didn’t have any roasted red peppers on hand, so I just used raw red peppers, and it was still delicious!), pesto and cheese in a large bowl.

Drain pasta and rinse under cold water for about 1 minute. Add pasta to the bowl and toss until covered. Gently mix in the arugula, and enjoy! Feel free to make it your own by adding tomatoes, olives, asparagus, etc.


I Want That Wednesday: Color Reel Juicer


I have a new favorite summer drink: gin and limeade, with a slice of orange. It’s seriously so good!

I went to the store last weekend in search of Pimm’s, but they didn’t have any so I had to wing it. Out I walked with Seagram’s (don’t hate, I’m too broke for the good stuff right now) and Simply Limeade. Turns out it’s really refreshing—perfect for the backyard or beach.

I’d like to make my own limeade, but juicing all those limes by hand is a real pain. I’ve found myself in a need of a juicer a lot lately (caipirinhas, lemon scones, cilantro lime salad dressing, etc.), so it might be time to bite the bullet and buy one.

It might as well be a pretty one, right?


It’d look great with the wooden dinnerware I wrote about a few weeks ago!

Color Reel Juicer, $24, Anthropologie

(Images: Anthropologie)

Disclaimer: “I Want That Wednesdays” are a series of posts that, well frankly, are just of things (decor, fashion, food, etc.) I like. The products featured are never sponsored; they’re simply items I’ve come across that I’m crushing on and that I thought you might enjoy as well. Let me know if you love it/ hate it/ can’t get enough of it.


And So It Begins…

Today was my first official marathon training run! Granted, it was only 3 miles, but I still feel like I’ve accomplished something. In 18 short weeks—well, ok probably more like 18 grueling, intense, potentially hot weeks—I should be ready to take the starting line at the Chicago Marathon. (I’m doing Hal Hidgon’s Novice 1 training plan for anyone interested.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.27.23 PM

While I’m not exactly looking forward to those 10+ mile Saturday morning runs, I kind of like the structure of knowing what workout I’ll be doing on which days. I think pushing through all those miles is going to be just as hard (if not harder) mentally as physically. Those of you who know me know I’m not exactly a patient person…

But I’m also hoping to use the training to travel a bit—I think I’m going to sign-up for the Vineyard to Bay 25K in Traverse City, Michigan! I’m sure I’ll be sick of Chicago’s Lakefront Path come August, so it’ll be fun to run through the vineyards and sneak in a day or two of vacation time right around my birthday.

Brooks: Check. Yurburds: Check. Foam roller: Check. Protein powder: Check.

Let’s do this thing.