2014: A Year in Review

Can you believe it’s 2015?! Last year just FLEW by, but when I go back and review all the posts from 2014, it really is amazing how much happened. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around and continue to offer your advice and words of encouragement – I love you all!

I’ll create a to-do list for 2015 tomorrow, but first let’s take a look back of some of the best posts of 2014:

DSC00473Most popular post: A step-by-step look at how to turn an IKEA Ribba frame into a bar tray garnered the most clicks this year – and it was even picked up by IKEA Hackers!

Most commented on post: Remember when y’all helped me pick out a new living room rug? Great job, by the way.

DSC01014Best before/after: I’m so happy I finally bit the bullet and gave my living room a navy accent wall like the ones I’d been admiring on Pinterest forever. Will I regret it when I move out and have to paint it back white? Only time will tell…

Still on my wish list: This may just be the year that I tackle my first upholstery project, so I better pick up “Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design” to prepare.

11Best trip: Sometimes the best trips are the ones that are last minute and random and cheap – that happened to be Kansas City for me this year.

Best purchase: I know this is a home design blog, but this Kipling tote has been a godsend this past year. The blogging fashionistas of the world certainly don’t have anything to worry about, but I know a good bag when I see one.

friendsgivingBest party: I finally pulled off a Friendsgiving this year! The place looked great, and I hope it’ll mark the begin of many dinner parties to come. I love hosting.

Greatest accomplishment: I trained and ran a friggin’ marathon. 26.2 miles. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever say that. Hell, I could barely run the 5 miles during soccer two-a-days in high school! It felt amazing.

DSC00683Best recipe: I just made this Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix for a New Year’s Eve party… so, so good – and ridiculously easy!

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I Want That Wednesday: Amy Poehler’s New Book!

Amy Poehler, the Saturday Night Live vet and star of Parks and Recreation—and a major lady crush of mine—released a memoir yesterday, and I’m dying to read it! From what I hear, Yes Please covers everything from hosting the Golden Globes with Tina Fey to having a “great face for wigs” to being a world-class snooper. If Amy herself is half as charming as her characters, I’m sure the book will be a bestseller in no time.

2D274905957270-YesPlease.blocks_desktop_mediumYes Please by Amy Poehler, $18, Amazon

(Image: Amazon)

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.

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Quoted: Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams

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“Don’t let your bedroom be the last room you decorate. Even if it is a private space that guests rarely see, it is just too important when it comes to quality of life. This is the place that sets the tone for the beginning and end of each day.”

– Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, The Comfortable Home

(Images: FluffnStuff, Lark & Linen, Jillian Harris)

Design Inspiration: Pink and Gold Home Office

I’ve touted the merits of Adore before, but this latest issue really puts it over the top. Everything is so bright and cheery and beautiful!

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The theme is workspaces, which doesn’t usually interest me, but lately I’ve been dreaming of a home office (and a pink one at that!).

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This is blogger Monika Hibbs‘ home office. I’ve been lusting after those Kate Spade nesting boxes (I’m partial to the polka dots and stripes set), and I love that she DIY’d her coffee table and bookshelves from IKEA’s Vittsjo series. Chic and affordable. Who said it couldn’t be done? I think that’s why I like it so much. It’s gorgeous… and not completely out of reach.

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Even if you’re like me and don’t have room for an office, I still think you can still glean some inspiration from the fab spaces—office and otherwise—in the June/July issue. I swear I found something to love on every single page—even in the ads!

Flip through the entire issue here. And Adore editors, bring that new book of yours stateside, pretty please! I can only imagine the eye candy in there..A91Q9627 copy

I Want That Wednesday

With all this time forcibly spent indoors (thanks, Mother Nature!), I’m really itching for a project. I even saw a great little cane chair in the alley last week, but unfortunately (or fortunately, maybe) it’s leg was broken. If the skeleton was in better shape, it would’ve made the perfect reupholstery project.

Not that I would have any idea what I was doing, of course.

Luckily there’s brilliant little book out there like this one for people like me:Spruce-Book-440x600OK, so at 400 pages maybe it isn’t little per se. Page-4-5_goodSpruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design is written by Amanda Brown of Spruce, an upholstery shop in Austin. It’s packed with instructions for upholstering just about any shape and size piece, and it also gives advice on replacing the guts—the springs, padding, webbing and the like. 328-329_good1Isn’t it beautiful? I’m dying to get my hands on a copy—not that it’s hard to find, I’m just trying to save money and thus am waiting my turn for Chicago Public Library’s copy. (You can find it here and here, and probably your neighborhood bookstore, too.)378-379_goodYou can learn more about Amanda, Spruce and the book by watching the trailer!

I Want That Wednesday

If you’re an Urban Nesting regular, I’m sure you’ve picked up on my affinity for the dark stuff. I ain’t afraid to hide it: I love whiskey. It didn’t really seem all that strange in college, perhaps because of Indiana’s proximity to Kentucky. But in Chicago, I’ve certainly gotten some looks over the years for ordering a whiskey instead of an appletini or coconut rum or some bull (ahem, Red Bull). Vodka is disgusting, except in Bloody Marys—there’s plenty of other crap (Worcestershire sauce, anyone?) in those to mask the taste.

Anyway, I’m happy that Chicago’s mixologist are embracing the tipple, and that it’s now picking up a following even among the lady folks (perhaps it’s more approachable served in a tiki drink like at Paul McGee’s Three Dots—haven’t been? GO. For any of their wskywmnlgdrinks, whiskey or not.). But according to Fred Minnick, a bestselling author with a thing for ascots, women are the unsung heroes behind whiskey (and whisky, and scotch, too!).

“Women invented beer and distillation, and they owned Bushmills, Dalmore, Laphroaig, Johnny Walker’s most important distillery and were instrumental in every aspect of the business, including Maker’s Mark’s Marge Samuels redefining packaging and Jacob Beam’s wife having the money for the first Beam distillery.”

Yeah, girl power! I had no idea we were so instrumental to the liquor. I plan to pick up his new book, Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey ($16 on Amazon), tonight at a Whiskey Women event at Hungry Brain. The author is going to discuss the book as part of a panel with female whiskey specialists (including distiller Sonat Hart from Koval Distillery, just up the street from me!).

In the area? Join us! Click here for the details. It’s free! (But extra to buy the book, of course.)

Phew, now I need a drink…

(Image: Amazon.com)

Need to Read: Young House Love

If there’s one thing I’m a huge fan of when it comes to Chicago city services, it’s the new Ventra cards…

I kid. I haven’t even gotten mine in the mail yet, but from everything I hear they’re terrible. I’m certainly not holding my breath for something amazing when it comes to the CTA.

No, what I do love is the Chicago Public Library system, and as nerdy as I am, I’m super excited about my new job being close to the biggest one, Harold Washington Library, so I can visit on my lunch breaks.

But I digress. What I’m trying to get to is that I checked out Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love, and I’m really enjoying reading about all the DIY projects Sherry and John Petersik (they have a blog by the same name) have done over the years and the step-by-step instructions. They cover everything from headboards to IKEA hacks to table runners. One this that I found particularly inspiring was this sidebar:

Stuck? Frustrated? Overwhelmed? That’s par for the DIY course.

Everyone makes mistakes. Look at mistakes as a sign that you’re moving forward, not stagnating. If you’re doing something, even if it turns out to be the wrong something, it’s still teaching you how to get there faster the next time.

Tastes change. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a few things that no longer suit your style. You can always put them on Craigslist or paint them or otherwise adapt them.

Relax; it’s only decorating. Things happen, and sometimes the budget or the time line can get you down, but it’s nice to take a few deep breaths and remember that no one’s life is on the line.

Keep at it. Hang art. Paint. Nearly every design decision can be undone pretty easily. And chances are you’ll like most of what you do, so there’s only a marginal amount of true error in the whole trial-and-error thing.

In the end, it’s all worth it.

Now this is paraphrased, so I recommend you check out (either from your local library, or if you’re too cool for that, it’s on Amazon for only $15) the tome for yourself, but it’s great advice nonetheless!

young-house-love-book(Image: How About Orange)