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A Last-Minute Christmas Wish List

xmaslist

  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)

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I Want That Wednesday: Serial Notebook

You guys, please tell me you’ve all been listing to Serial. It’s. so. good.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s an NPR podcast, a spinoff of This American Life, where they tell one story over 12 weeks, with a new episode out each Thursday. (Only online, never actually broadcast on the radio.)

This “season,” Sarah Koenig, the reporter-turned-narrator, tells the story of Adnan Syed, a then-high school senior who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfiend, Hae Min Lee. Each episodes delves into a different topic surrounding the case, from Hae and Adnan’s breakup to inconsistencies in the investigation to Adnan’s alibi.

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It’s all kind of messed up really, but it makes for great storytelling. It absolutely appeals to the old-school reporter in me. Not only is it a type of long-form journalism, but it harkens back to the days when people used to crowd around the radio to listen to their favorite programs. In this world of instant gratification (think new shows being released all at once à la Netflix), it’s refreshing to me that people are excited for Thursday to come each week so they can listen to another part of this documentary.

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But tomorrow is the last episode! I’m so sad. (If you haven’t been listening but would like to start, you can catch up on all the episodes online.) Luckily, the podcast gained such popularity that enough donations came in to have a second season. Woohoo! I can’t wait to find out what the story will be.

If you would like to donate to Serial in a way – or just know a super fan that you still need to buy a Christmas gift for – NPR just released a Serial notebook in the This American Life Store! I want.

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Serial Notebook, $15, This American Life Store

(Images: SerialThis American Life)

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.

DIY: PVC Pipe Christmas Tree

Last year, I saw this fun tree made out of PVC pipe in Martha Stewart Living. I said something to my dad about making me one and then promptly forgot all about it… until he showed up at my apartment last week with a surprise!

I am OBSESSED with it! He even made an upgrade to Martha’s design by adding lights.

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It just happens to fit perfectly above my bar. (We tried the entryway bookshelf first, but it was too big.)

I filled with it ornaments I wasn’t using on my live tree, mostly a mishmash of vintage pieces that I’ve inherited over the years from my mom’s collection. But I’m excited to see how the tree evolves every year – and even as the season goes on.

What’s really fun is that it doesn’t even need to be an ornament to go “on” the tree – it can be memorabilia, knickknacks, maybe even food. The possibilities are pretty endless. Maybe I’ll have to throw a party at the end of November next year, and the idea would be that everyone has to bring one “ornament” for the tree!

DSC01859-textWant to build your own PVC tree? For a list of supplies and the step-by-step instructions, head over to Martha Stewart.

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It’s Beginning To Look…

DSC01703And smell a lot like Christmas on Belle Plaine! I went and bought a balsam (from the lot at Belmont and Wolcott, for those Chicagoans who are curious). The attendant was really nice and talked me into tying the tree to the roof of my Civic instead of putting it in the truck… luckily it didn’t fall mid-commute.

I’d never heard this before, but he told me to put boiling water in the tree stand and then the branches would fall faster. I tried it out, and I don’t know if it made the branches fall faster, but DAMN, my apartment spelled like an entire forest when I opened up my bedroom door the next morning! I’m complaining though; I love that smell.

DSC01722Good thing I didn’t go any bigger – I almost need more ornaments! I’m going to work on a new tree skirt too. This one is looking too rustic. And I obviously need to hide the extension cord better. It’s a bit of a work in progress.

Now, I just need to get shopping for some gifts to put under there…

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(Long) Weekend Rewind: Turkey-less Thanksgiving

Let’s just go ahead and admit it: Turkey, it’s not great. I mean, I enjoy it once a year, probably more for nostalgia reasons than anything else. So I was not upset when our meal looked more Cinco de Mayo party than Thanksgiving dinner.

IMG_3258We had tortilla chips, two kinds of salsa, queso, guacamole (which I’m getting pretty darn good at making btw!), ceviche, sausage and cheese puffs, AND tacos with all the fixins… It was definitely still a ridiculous feast. Oh, and margaritas. I’ve never eaten to the point of literally throwing up – I came close Thursday. It was all so good!

The dog and I looked the same after all that food – practically comatose. Mimi looked the best per usual.

IMG_3274We didn’t bother trying to fight the Black Friday crowds. That is just really not my thing. Plus, by some kind of miracle, I already have some of my Christmas shopping done. I had to give my dad his present early because… it’s a trip! I bought us tickets (and flights and a hotel room) to see our Hoosiers play Louisville at Madison Square Garden in a couple weeks. I. am. pumped!

Then I rounded out the weekend with a wedding – last one of the season! It’s crazy how many weddings you attend in your late 20’s… I already have two save the dates for next year! But I’m super happy for Mark and Kara, and it was fun to celebrate with the old high school gang. That’s what the holidays are all about!

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)

On My Mind: September Edition

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 9.45.49 PMYes, I know it’s already October… But I missed out on September’s On My Mind, so I’m cheating a bit.

1. You guys, HGTV has come to Netflix. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited this makes a non-cable subscriber like me. I’m literally watching Love It or List It right. now. YES. (Just a quick rant: I hope deals like this, Netflix original series and the like will come to mark the beginning of the end of the cable provider monopoly. Down with the man! I frankly refuse to pay $75/month for a crappy package that really only includes two or three channels that I actually watch.)

2. Is it acceptable to wear white after Labor Day now? I’ve noticing a lot of girls still rocking their white jeans. And I know there’s all this talk of “winter whites.” (I don’t really see the difference, but that’s me.) How do we feel about breaking the rules?

3. Speaking of, right after Labor Day my family started asking for my Christmas list… It’s four months away! But I’m not complaining because I come from a family of pretty fantastic gift givers. I asked for the new Adore Home book, a North Face backpack and Maddie the Coonhound prints. Have you started thinking Christmas? What’s on your list?

4. But before we jump to winter, can we just talk about how awesome fall is? Crisp air and changing leaves, flannel and riding boots. I LOVE it. We took a little road trip to Coloma, Mich., last weekend to go apple picking (the pic above) and even stopped in at a distillery on the way back. Now all I can think about is making Apple Cider Bourbon Punch. Yum, yum!