Onward and Upward! Goals for 2015

sunset2015 is definitely starting off with a bang! Not only is it so cold that the boss has us working from home (the real feel was -24 when I woke up this morning…), but I’m enrolled in a couple graduate classes this quarter that are bound to keep me busy, and I’m doing a juice cleanse that has me craving – of all things – deli sandwiches, something I rarely eat anyway. Luckily, the cleanse ends tomorrow, but the other two will be sticking around for awhile.

What else do I have planned for 2015? Well, not much at this point, but I’ve put together some goals. I managed to tackled all of the items on the 2014 list, though the storage area is kind of a mess again and could use some TLC…

Lately I’ve been thinking about things I should cross off my bucket list before I turn 30 in 2016. I’ll try to keep the goals for 2015 and the holy-crap-I’m-almost-30 list separate, but some of these are probably a bit of both (and if you have suggestions for me, please send them along!).

1. Return to regularly scheduled programming. I was doing so well there for awhile, posting to Urban Nesting about four times a week, but lately I feel like my life has been so scattered, and I haven’t devoted the time to UN that I really should. I want to get back to contributing on a regular basis again. Let’s get to 200 followers! (We’re at 196 right now, for the record.)

2. Especially Foodie Fridays. Last year I blamed marathon training and I’m sure this year I’ll blame class (and maybe dating), but I’d really like to try a new recipe each week and share my findings with y’all on Fridays. Here’s to more culinary adventures in 2015! Nobody is going to make me a better cook but me.

3. Carve out an office space in my apartment. My coat closet is prime territory for this, but I’m not sure I can devote all that space to a desk. At the very least I’d like to set up some kind of landing strip to put mail and paperwork because last month’s gas bill may have gotten misplaced…

4. Transform my bedroom into a cozy retreat. I’ve definitely ignored my bedroom in lieu of rooms that are more public, but when it comes down to it, how many days a year am I entertaining versus home by myself? I should do something for me! The bedroom design is kind of all over the place right now, so it’ll definitely take some work. I’ll keep in mind Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams’ advice. (First project: Buy an alarm clock and move my phone away from the bed!)

5. Take a big trip. I know “travel more” was on the list last year, and I feel like I did do a few smaller trips that fulfilled that requirement (and we’re totally fun!). But I’m finally starting to feel like an adult with a real job and real PTO time and a (somewhat) real budget to take real vacations. It’s been awhile since I’ve been out of the country (minus Mexico). I think it’s time.

6. Ride my bike – or a bike – more often. Do you know how many times I rode my bike in 2014? Zero. I didn’t even get it out of the basement storage. If I’m too lazy to maintain it, I can get a Divvy bike sharing membership for something like $50/year. That’s just stupid cheap. I realize it’s not possible in the tundra, but I definitely want to keep this goal in mind for spring.

Sure, there’s some smaller things floating around in my head (have to get rid of those grubby kitchen rugs!), but these are the big picture items for 2015. What’s on your to-do list this year?

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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!

Chicago’s Best Vintage and Consignment Shops

I have yet another addition to the Summer Bucket List: Explore new (or new to me, anyway) Chicagoland vintage and resale shops! There has to be some gems out there that are just waiting to be discovered. But where do I begin?

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Enter Chicagoist’s list of The 7 Best Vintage and Consignment Shops in Chicago. Sure, these are some tried-and-true favorites, not diamonds in the rough, but it’s a start. And sadly, I’ve only been to one of them!

Modern Cooperative
Pilsen is home to Modern Cooperative, where owners Mike Biersma and Tiffany Paige have created one of the funkiest consignment shops in Chicago. Whether you’re looking for vintage furniture, kitschy yet functional wall art or tasteful accents for your home, Biersma’s and Paige’s fondness for 1950s design never fails to find the right piece for you. They work extensively with local designers and consignors and even open up their shop during the Chicago Art District’s 2nd Friday art walk, featuring the works of two local designers each month. Modern Cooperative is located at 1215 W. 18th.

Lulu’s Vintage
Lulu’s on the Avenue is a dream for ladies who love elegant vintage. They carry dresses, jewelry and other accessories all the way from the 1920s to the 90s, all hand selected by the owner, Laurie Davis. Shopping through the racks is like flipping through a catalog as each article of clothing is hung in its own clear garment bag. Their knowledgeable staff will help you pick the perfect attire for whatever event you’ve got coming up, even your own wedding. With vintage bridal gowns and other alternative wedding dresses, Lulu’s could be a one stop shop, or the spot you pick up that one special accessory from Davis’s extensive collection (or her own jewelry line). These styles are not for the faint of heart though, they’re suited for ladies who like to stand out in a crowd. LuLu’s Vintage is located at 900 N. Michigan on the 3rd Floor.

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Broadway Antique Market
I love a good treasure hunt so an afternoon digging around in an antique mall is an activity passed on from my mother and grandmother that I still enjoy. But I don’t want a heap of trash with my treasure and prefer a more curated collection, which is why I always find myself heading to Broadway Antique Market (BAM) when I need my vintage fix. There is a ton of variety but the one thing I’ve found consistent that I appreciate is everything in the store is exceptional quality. From the furniture to the wonderful display of bakelite, everything I’ve found at BAM is in excellent condition for vintage merchandise. I love being able to dig through old photographs, buy a pair of mint condition pumps from the 60s, marvel at the amazing costume jewelry collections and daydream about being able to afford the marvelous designer furniture. If you love a good dose of kitsch, BAM serves up a lot of that as well. One of my first gifts from my boyfriend was an Art Deco style ring from BAM and I still get loads of compliments years later. For quality, variety and a fun time shopping, head north and visit BAM or peruse some of their wares online as well. Broadway Antique Market is located at 6130 N. Broadway.

Lost Girls
Not all vintage shops are stationary: Lost Girls Vintage operates their business out of Winnie, a 1976 RV-turned mobile vintage shop that contains some of the chicest old school clothing in Chicago. Art Institute alumni Sarah and folk-musician Kyla are behind the wheel, selling high-quality, edgy items for both ladies and gents. Last summer, I scored a 90’s-tastic pair of lavender velvet sneaker heels made in France. Aside from having an ever-changing, always exciting inventory, the girls are awesome and will match you up with something that suits your style. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter to locate Winnie. Lost Girls is a mobile shop in Chicago. Check their website for locations.

Click here to see the rest of Chicagoist’s picks (including the fab store featured at the top). If you have suggestions of your own, please leave them below!

(Images: Chicagoist)

I Want That Wednesday: Colorful Wooden Dinnerware

You guys. It’s 82 degrees outside right now. FINALLY. After this winter, I honestly wouldn’t care if it was 115 degrees. All I want to do is get out there and play!

But alas, I’m stuck in the office daydreaming of alfresco dining with these…

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Goodbye, reds and purples—hello, turquoise and hot pink! Ah, how I’ve missing having color in my life. Not to mention eating outside. These fun wooden bowls and plates would go pretty perfectly with my summer bucket list item to grill more often.

For those of you who are crafty, I’m sure you could paint plain wooden bowls and plates (like the dipped wooden spoons) and save a few bucks, but I’m going to leave this one to the pros.

Wooden Bowl Set, Serving Bowls, Plate Set, $45/each, RedEnvelope

(Images: RedEnvelope)

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.

Summer Bucket List

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 8.37.25 PMHappy Friday! I don’t know about y’all, but this week has felt forever long. I think it’s because it’s been raining all week. I’m not (really) complaining because I’m happy it’s finally above 35 degrees, but I have to say I’m pretty excited for summer to hurry up and get here. I dream of the beach… yes, even our fake Lake Michigan “beach.”

But speaking of summer, it’s time to put together a bucket list! For the past couple years, some friends and I have assembled a bucket list for each new season. Some of the stuff frankly isn’t possible (create a time machine), some of it is too ridiculous (Sketchers Shape Up bar crawl) and some of it we just don’t get around to (go skydiving), but a lot of the items do get crossed off. It’s a great resource to have when you find yourself with a random free Sunday, and you’re looking for something to do. Then again, maybe I’m just not creative enough to think of something on the spot.

Anywho, here’s some of things on my personal Summer Bucket List:

Train for the marathon. This isn’t so much a fun bucket list item as a straight-up necessity. The Chicago Marathon is Oct. 12, so that’s means the training program starts about the second week of June. There’s going to be some eaaaarly mornings this summer… (This also means on your bucket list should be “Make signs to cheer Kelsey on at the Chicago Marathon!”)

Make my own popsicles. This one has been on my mind for awhile even though I don’t eat that many store-bought popsicles. I’m weary of what exactly is in there. (Is high fructose corn syrup good or bad for you this week? What about chemical sweeteners? Why are they always slimy?) But I’m always looking for new healthy snacks, and if I can make my own, then I’ll know every ingredient. Plus, I’ll have an excuse to buy these super cute molds. Yes, I’m really 6 years old at heart.

Go floating. This is a repeat item from a many a summer bucket lists past, but it’s finally happening this year—for my birthday! For those of you not familiar, floating trips involve, well, floating down a river in a big inner tube with a bunch of friends and usually a cooler of adult beverages. It’s like a real-life lazy river. We’re going floating at Turkey Run State Park and camping out nearby. I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday!

Attempt to grill pizza. In general, I want grill out a lot more this summer, but I’m especially interested in trying to grill a pizza pie. This idea could very well stem from the fact that my oven is terrible. (It won’t consistently stay above 400.) I really want to try this grilled pesto, sweet corn and avocado pizza recipe. Check out that dessert pizza she makes too, omg…

Eat at Hot Doug’s. Sticking with food, I want to make it to Hot Doug’s one more time before the beloved sausage joint closes in October. I’ve only been once—see above, that’s what just me and one other person shared. It was sad… but delicious. After Charlie Trotter’s closed, I wished I’d made an effort to get there. I should feasibly (read: financially) be able do Hot Doug’s at least.

Hit up the Kane County Flea Market. The rumor is that this flea market about an hour outside of Chicago is the place to be on the first weekend of every month (March-December). Like any flea market, I’m sure the Kane County Flea Market is a hodge podge of junk and treasures, but I’ve heard there’s some quality mid-century items up for grabs if you get there early.

Bike ride every weekend. I have a bike; I need a helmet. Then I’ll be good to go on weekend biking adventures around the city. I’m just a tiny bit scared…

That’s all I’ve got so far, but I still have another week to brainstorm. (I consider Memorial Day to be the summer kickoff.) Do you have a Summer Bucket List? What’s on it? What should I add to mine?

Bucket List: 26.2 Miles Ahead

Oh god, what the hell was I thinking?!photoYes, that’s a confirmation of my acceptance into the 2014 Chicago Marathon. A MARATHON, people! 26.2 miles. That’s potentially five straight hours of running…

I got the email last night (it was a lottery system, according to the Tribune 71,000 entered and 33,000 “won”), so I’ve had a little bit of time to get over my initial freak out. That doesn’t mean I’m any less terrified.

But I’m putting together a plan of attack. It starts with buying cute new running shoes—hey, they say half the battle is feeling good about yourself. In all seriousness though, it’s just time to retire my current pair. I’ve already picked up a couple marathon training books from the library and looked into getting a trainer at my gym (less for the running aspect, more for cross training).

I can do this.

After my half marathon last year, the idea of running a full marathon started to creep onto the ‘ol Bucket List. It was like it was penciled in, something I’d thought about but hadn’t seriously considered. What changed, I’m not sure. I think maybe this awful winter made me so completely stir crazy that I started to believe that I’d want to spend hours outside running once it’s nice enough. We’ll see if that’s true…

What’s on your Bucket List? Have you crossed anything off that just seemed crazy at the time? Inspiration welcome!

To-do list: A-ville edition

With only 17 days left before I leave Andersonville, I’ve started to put together a bucket list of things to do before I leave the ‘hood. At the top of the list: Great Lake. It hasn’t come out in the blog much yet, but I have a semi-serious obsession with restaurants, and I’ve been wanting to try this pizza joint ever since GQ named it the Best Pizza in America. They’re all about fresh, local ingredients, and the owner makes every pie himself (making it notoriously slow though). The 14-seat restaurant is only open four days a week and doesn’t take reservations, so it’s not really a drop-in kind of place. It takes a plan. A plan I intend to execute sometime in the next two-and-a-half weeks. STAY TUNED FOR A REVIEW!

Nick Lessins co-owns Great Lake where he makes every pizza by hand. NY Times.