On My Mind: November Edition

grace-71. Back in August, I talked about how I woke up one day and decided I hated my bathroom… Well, I’ve finally gotten around to giving it a bit of a refresh (reveal to come soon!). I’ve been looking around for artwork, and I happened upon Grace Lee, a Toyko-based Australian artist. Her drawings are so whimsical and fun. I thought the one above would look adorable in a bathroom, but I also really like this one and this one.

2. I’m sure people have moved on to the next big thing in impractical footwear by now, but I have to admit: I kind of still love UGG boots. (For the record, I was NOT one of those college girls who wore ’em with yoga pants and a North Face jacket… I was way too broke for that nonsense.) For someone whose feet are always cold, they’re a godsend. But after last year’s polar vortex madness, my pair got so much salt in them that the left boot literally cracked… I’m thinking it’s time to upgrade. Luckily, UGG just came out with a water-resistant boot. It’s about damn time! What took so long?

3. Kudos to Linda Merrill of Decorative Surroundings for putting together an awesome Pinterest board of design resources, including guides to pillow sizes, molding styles and chair backs. Ever wondered the difference between a camelback and tuxedo sofa? She’s got ya covered.

4. Do you guys have a morning routine to kick off your day? Not like brush your teeth (hopefully you do do that), but, say, take five minutes to stretch or download a news podcast to listen to in the shower? I’ve started making the bed as soon as I get out of it, and I’ve really grown to like it – it brings a sense of order to one little corner of my life. I’ve been debating moving my phone away from my nightstand… haven’t gotten there yet. Apartment Therapy’s 10 Things to Do the First 10 Minutes of Your Day offers some good ideas, but I’d love to hear yours.

5. And, of course, how could the holidays not be on my mind? The stores have been pushing Christmas on us for the past three-plus weeks already! When do you think it’s appropriate to bust out the tinsel? Tomorrow is Dec. 1. I know what my plans are : )

(Image: Lamington Drive)

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I Want That Wednesday: Carry On Cocktail Kit

I hope everyone out there is arriving safely to their Thanksgiving day destinations. It took me three hours to get from Chicago to my parents’ house, a drive that usually takes less than an hour and a half… Let’s just say I was extremely cranky and in desperate need of a drink when I finally made it.

Those of you hitting the airports for transportation, I stumbled upon a great solution for your in-flight cocktailing needs—just in time for the holiday season!

d5179df5dffd3690aec94c8e4b371795The Carry On Cocktail Kit provides all the makings for two Old Fashioned cocktails—just add ice and whiskey. (From what I gather, it’s illegal to drink your own mini bottles of booze on the plane, so either risk it or buy from the flight attendant.)

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.03.26 PMAs you can see, the components included are: carry-on tin, recipe card, spoon/muddler, aromatic bitters, cane sugar and linen coaster.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 9.59.45 PMSo even if you’re stuck sitting on the tarmac or that toddler won’t stop kicking your chair, at least you can have a nice cocktail to take the edge off. Cheers my friends!

The Carry On Cocktail Kit, $24, carryoncocktailkit.com

(Images: The Carry On Cocktail Kit)

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.

Kitchen Revamp: A Work In Progress

A few weeks ago I gave y’all a sneak peek at the new kitchen paint job – however, prepare to be underwhelmed at the reveal. We painted a white kitchen… white. BUT, in person, it’s soooo much better! These pictures do not do it justice. There were nasty greasy hand prints from when the management company replaced my furnace and what looked like smoke stains behind the stove (thankfully, it’s been replaced since then!). And the paint itself was the same stuff that was used everywhere else in the apartment – chalky, cheap crap.

So here’s what it looked like before I moved in:

kitchenAnd here’s what it looked like after I gave it a bit of attention a few months ago:

DSC00584And here’s today:

kitchen_overviewI thought I was decluttering, but now it almost looks too sparse next to the previous pics. Well, it’s still a work in progress anyway. There is A LOT I’d like to do (those hideous beige outlets!), but of course there’s limits given that I’m a renter.

kitchen_window_commentThis kitchen is definitely lacking in the counter space category. That spot next to the fridge is pretty much it when I have my dish drying rack out on the little sliver of counter next to the sink. So one thing I bought to combat that is a magnetic knife rack – magnetic on both sides so it can hang on the fridge! While I can drill into my walls (as long as I fill the holes before I move out), a lot of renters can’t so is a great solution to eliminate the boxy knife block. Plus, it was less than $20!

kniferack_commentI so rarely use my microwave that I’ve considered getting rid of it, but I just can’t get myself to do it yet. (It’ll die one of these days – it’s a hand-me-down from a former roommate, so I can’t imagine it has much time left by this point.) But what would be ideal is if I could replace this makeshift microwave cart (really an iron outdoor table that I made a cushion for) with some kind of shelf that has a butcher block on top.  Bonus counter space!

YUMsign_commentThere’s plenty of that type of kitchen cart out there, but finding one that will 1. fit the microwave on the higher of the two shelves (so it can be plugged in when needed), 2. is wide enough to take up this wall space, and 3. still has a butcher-block top… not so easy to find. It maybe need to be a custom job (hint, hint, dad…). I’m thinking something like this (it has adjustable shelves) with a custom-cut butcher block top. That may be too cost prohibitive though, so I still need to do some research there.

vintage_apronsOther areas I tackled: cleaned out and wiped down the fridge; completely emptied the pantry and reorganized with the addition of storage tubs; went through the cabinets and donated items I no longer use; and re-hung my vintage aprons!

Weekend Rewind: Friendsgiving Dinner

I know it seems like all I do is live for the weekend, but… well, I kinda do live for the weekend. (I have been working on some new projects around the apartment though; I’ll share those later this week.) I kicked off the best time of the year – college basketball season the holidays! – by hosting a Friendsgiving last weekend.

It’s amazing how much work goes into hosting a dinner party – and I didn’t even cook all the food! I made pork roast instead of turkey (I like my mom’s once a year, but I don’t need it more often than that), and all of my friends pitched in an appetizer, side or dessert. We had sooo much food: brie and crackers, nuts, baked garlic, spinach balls, potato casserole, collard greens, roasted vegetables, Amish chicken and noodles, derby pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin rice krispie treats… I’m sure I’m forgetting something. It was gluttony at it’s finest.

Despite all the hours spent cleaning my apartment, Pinterest-ing my dining room table and stocking up on beer, wine and whiskey, I would absolutely do it again tomorrow. I’d love to hold a regular dinner series once a month or so with different themes. Unfortunately, I just don’t think it’s in my budget – all that stuff adds up! But I do have the perfect table for it, which is exactly why I bought it in the first place.

At the very least, hopefully this can become an annual Friendsgiving because – bear with me, I’m about to get sappy here – it really did make me thankful to all the wonderful friends, both old and new, in my life! xoxo

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Weekend Rewind: Exploring Kansas City

I’ll (mostly) let the pictures do the talking here, but we had a blast in Kansas City! Like I mentioned, I’d never been before, and we snagged roundtrip flights for less than $70—and then a helluva deal on two nights at the Westin—so off we went exploring…

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It’s a great foodie town: We ate at two places with James Beard ties (and didn’t break the bank), drank at an underground speakeasy-of-sorts, ordered waaaay too much (in a good way) from a BBQ place in a gas station and still had time for a sampler at Boulevard Brewing. Needless to say, any weight I lost during marathon training has returned! But whatever, it was worth it.

Three of my must-sees, in no particular order:

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Stroud’s. This soul food mecca has A LOT of things going for it, including family-style pan fried chicken and sides, Coke with maraschino cherries, red-and-white checkered table cloths and—and—bottomless fresh cinnamon rolls for dessert! It was ridiculous. And amazing. Oh, and did I mention it’s housed in a renovated log cabin from the 19th century?

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This is a badass art museum—including impressive modern and Indian art collections—but the real kicker is that it’s free! Save time to explore the grounds, including KC’s iconic shuttlecock sculptures.

Oklahoma Joe’s. This is the aforementioned BBQ-joint-in-a-gas-station. But don’t let the ambiance fool you—this is some DAMN good BBQ.  For the record, all of that food pictured… it was mine alone. I ended up taking ribs home on the plane, and if I could’ve carried on more than 3 oz., I would have snatched up a bottle of OJ’s BBQ sauce for sure. It’s thick and tangy without overpowering the meat.

Honorable mentions: Extra Virgin (pricey, but stop in for Happy Hour deals 4-6 p.m.), Weird Stuff Antiques (strange location, strange items) and Boulevard Brewing (free 40-minute tours with tastings).

On the wish list for next time: Mexican food, Swope Park, Rye brunch and Town-Topic Hamburgers.