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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A Last-Minute Christmas Wish List

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  1. “Be Dazzling” Scented Candle, $40, Kate Spade
  2. Buzzed Cocktail Napkin, $32, August Morgan
  3. Decorative Leopard Pillow Cover 18×18 (other sizes available), $42, MakingFabulous
  4. Osito 2 Jacket, $99, North Face
  5. Gilded Portable Charger, $40, Nasty Gal
  6. Dali Llama Mug, $12, Urban Outfitters
  7. Dry Gin,  $15 (200-milliliter bottle), Koval Distillery

(Images: 1. Kate Spade, 2. August Morgan, 3. Etsy, 4. North Face, 5. NastyGal, 6. Urban Outfitters, 7. Chicago magazine)

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

Weekend Rewind: Fall Fun

It’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish in a weekend when you don’t have to fit in a 15-mile or so run—and all the preparations that go into that. I’m still adjusting to life post-marathon, but I did go for my first jog and caught a beautiful fall sunrise over Montrose Harbor. IMG_2851

I’m REALLY liking that I have more time for projects around the apartment. Much more on this later, but here’s a sneak peek…

Once I’d scrubbed all the stray paint off (I somehow managed to get it on the strangest things, like my work bag in the next room!), I had to quickly get ready for my first Halloween party of the season at a friend’s apartment. He’s a great host, so the party was a blast! I can only hope my Friendsgiving in a couple weeks is as successful. (Speaking of, it’ll be my first dinner party so I welcome all tips and tricks! Send ’em over!)

And that still wasn’t the end. We decided to go for a scenic drive… and ended up in Milwaukee. Whoops!  We picked up some cheese and meats and enjoyed a nice view from the lakefront near the art musuem. It was very Wisconsin.

I hope everyone is getting out there and enjoying these beautiful fall days!

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Design Inspiration: Brynn Olson Design Group

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Brynn Olson Design, a Chicago-based firm that an old co-worker introduced me to, just launched a new website, and I am loving these simple-yet-sophisticated residential spaces.

I think I like them so much because they’re completely do-able. There’s no crazy architectural elements, just fresh paint, clean lines and an attention to detail.

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Just a little eye candy for your Friday commute. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Design Inspiration: Macy’s Wedding Display

I am not one of those people that has a secret Pinterest board of wedding ideas for a date (oh right, and fiancé) that I don’t have. Honestly, the more I hear from friends about everything that goes into planning weddings, the less excited I get about the whole thing.

But I happened to be near the wedding registry at Macy’s the other day – I was stopping in the home department to check out the exciting selection of bath mats, woohoo – and stumbled upon this cute fall wedding display:

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I have a strange attraction to warm colors used together. Like I would never think to mix pink, orange and red, but it totally works here. Plus, I’m a huge sucker for all those gold doilies…

Now how do you convince guests to only bring gifts wrapped to match the theme?

Weekend Rewind: Ice Bath Challenge

I finally did the ice bucket challenge! Well, in a sense…

IMG_2484OK, there was no charity involved here. No, this ice bath was just a necessity after running 18 friggin’ miles. Who am I?! #chicagomarathon #orbust

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For those of you familiar with Chicago, 18 miles is essentially from the Montrose Brown Line stop, out to the Lakefront Trail, down to the Shedd Aquarium… and back. This was the halfway point, about 7:30 Saturday morning. I was slow, but steady. I’d say it went better than expected.IMG_2491

My plan was to go out to the suburbs for a flea market (something that’s been on my bucket list for a year!), but I couldn’t muster the energy to be on my feet all day at a fairground. Hell, I didn’t even want to put on shoes. I guess I’m single-handedly bringing back the slide sandal. Who needs Birkenstocks when you’ve held onto these beauties since 8th grade soccer? That was 1999… they’re practically vintage!

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Luckily, by Sunday I had recovered enough to make it to the bar for the Bears game—and more importantly, to kick ass at Jenga!