Before and After: Bathroom Revamp

I decided to tackle one more project before year’s end: a revamp of the bathroom. I mentioned back in August that I woke up one day and decided I hated everything in there. Not sure where that came from, but I definitely think I’ve made some improvements.

Here’s what it looked like before:

IMG_1392Now, this is not a dramatic reveal – there’s still a lot I’d change, but you can only take a rental bathroom so far. (For instance, I am DYING to replace that mirror/light fixture, and I’d get rid of the checkered floor too.)

Here’s where I’ve landed for now:

DSC01981While I still need a few things (top of the list: a basket of some kind to put on top of the toliet), it already feels more spa-like, and I love that. The white shower curtain allows for more light to come through, and I bought these awesome new towels – Hotel Collection from Macy’s, if anyone is curious – that have made a huge difference.

But my absolute favorite part of the “new” bathroom is my gallery wall. I took a series of photographs in college in different barbershops around Bloomington, Ind., and I’ve always wanted to display them. I finally made it happen, and I couldn’t be happier! Plus, it meant I didn’t have to buy expensive artwork and could splurge on those towels I mentioned.

Maybe I’ll paint someday; there’s no doubt it could use it. I also attempted to recaulk part of the bathtub – turns out caulking is not my foray. I still have a lot to learn… I’ll save that for 2015!

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I Want That Wednesday: Maddie the Coonhound

If you haven’t been able to tell from my Instagram or Weekend Rewinds, I’m a huuuge sucker for my family’s dog, a vizsla named Coco. I would definitely have a dog of my own if my landlord allowed it, and it’d almost certainly be one from the sporting or hound groups—pointers, weimaraners, plotts, etc.

So that’s why I’m especially smitten with Maddie the Coonhound.

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It’s not actually Maddie that I want (well, sure, if she was up for adoption, I’d be all about it), but what’s more feasible is a few of these great photographs from Maddie’s owner, Theron Humphrey.

Is she not irresistable? I can tell just by looking at her that she’s a “Velcro dog” like Coco. I’m not sure how he gets her to hold still for so long though! Coco is a wild woman so I rarely get a good pic of her.

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Humphrey is also doing this awesome photo essay called Why We Rescue, about 50 people across 50 states who have adopted pets. Check it out. (And make sure your sound is on!)

Maddie the Coonhound prints, $20 each, Maddie on Things

(Images: Maddie on Things)

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.

Weekend Rewind: I Keep Runnin’, Runnin’

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Breakfast of champions.

I’ve hit the half way point of marathon training! Or at least that’s what I assume because this past weekend I was scheduled to run 13 miles, half of a marathon. I’m too scary/lazy to actually count the weeks—I’d be so disappointed if there’s still more than half the plan left to complete!

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The lakefront is pretty picturesque at 6 am.

So anyway, in lieu of another long run by myself, I snagged a Groupon for the ZOOMA Women’s Half on Chicago’s South Side on Saturday. I appreciated the change of scenery, but I wasn’t crazy about the route. It was a half marathon and also a 10K, so the half people had to go by the start/finish line again at about the 6-mile mark, and that was a real mental beat down. Not to mention, they only had two water stations between miles 6 and 13. WTF?! Or maybe I was just dillusional by that point.

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Ready… Set…

The good news is that I made it down there (quite a hike from my apartment, and it was Lollapalooza weekend), the weather was beautiful, and I finished. OK, I’m going to toot my own horn here for a minute: Not only did I finish, but I cut about 8 minutes off my half marathon time from last year! Woot! I was right on pace for what I’m hoping to run the full marathon at (9:30 per mile), though I can definitely tell I’m not ready for that yet.

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20th in my age group? I’ll take it!

Now things get real serious: This weekend, I drop back to 10 miles, but then I up it to 15 the following Saturday. Anything above a half marathon just seems  insane…

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Oh hey, Chicago.

But there’s no turning back now. Wish me luck—I’m a gonna need it!

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Best thing about running? Breakfast No. 2!

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Weekend Rewind: Celebrating America

Pardon my photo dump here… there’s just too many fun pics from this weekend not to share! (Click any image to see it bigger.)

Why does it have to be Monday already? Long live the (long) weekend!

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Design for You

I don’t often dole out advice on here—an expert, I surely am not—but I (accidentally) learned a valuable lesson recently, and I think it’s important to pass it along.

I’d been going back and forth for a few weeks about where to hang two photographs—beautiful images I bought while traveling in Cambodia. They were originally part of the gallery wall but, as you know, I dismantled that after painting the dining room.

So my idea was to move them to my little foyer. Option 1 was to hang them on the wall you see as you as you open the front door, a great first impression for guests. Or Option 2 was to hang them on the wall to the right, next to the bathroom door and perpendicular to the front door.

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Option 1 on the left, Option 2 on the right

While Option 1 seems like the obviously choice, there didn’t seem to be enough visual space for both images on that wall. It’s a little narrower than Option 2, and they’d have to contend with a light switch.

Finally, I stopped humming and hawing and just went for it—Option 2. I wasn’t crazy about the fact that guests would be getting a side view of the frames when they walked in instead of the images themselves, but I could always change it later, right?

AfterThen the next morning when I woke up and opened my bedroom door to hit the shower, there they were. I realized that every day I get to start my morning with these serene images and memories of a great trip long past. It’s been about two weeks, and still every single morning, I take a second to look at them.

after2So here’s my advice: Don’t forget to design for you. Think about how many days a year you live in your home without guests, and then think about the number of days you entertain. Unless you’re a socialite or run a business out of your home or something, the time you’re there alone probably greatly outweighs those days when you’re playing host.

So don’t just think about what would make others happy. What would make you happy?

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Weekend Rewind: Land of Beer and Sausage

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I hope everyone had a great weekend! I don’t think we could have asked for better weather. I took Friday off, and me and the boy took a little road trip (OK, I’m not sure an hour and a half drive constitutes a road trip, but whatever…) up to Milwaukee. Here’s the highlights:

IMG_1564It ain’t a road trip without snacks…

Our first stop was Lakefront Brewery, which I’d highly recommend. You get four beers, a brewery tour, a pint glass and a coupon for a free beer at a local establishment—all for $7! Our tour guide was great, and we had fun trying the different beer styles. That says a lot since I’m not big on beer.

Then we walked down Brady Street and grabbed a pie at Zaffiro’s. The hostess was a middle-aged Italian women, the tables were covered with red and white checkered table cloths, and the pizza was super thin—so super charming (just a little too saucy). The place not to miss in that area is Wolski’s, an old school neighborhood bar with a patio. I’d be a regular if I lived up there!

The Cubs were playing the Brewers, but that was really just the excuse we used to get up to Milwaukee and explore. We concealed our fandome (Well, I did—the boy is a Yankees fan…) and rode one of the free bar shuttles from downtown to Miller Park. The Cubs were sucking so bad that we ended up leaving the game early. Typical.

The next morning we grabbed brunch at Zak’s Cafe in Old Third Ward. Sweet potato hash = delish. (I want to try to make it at home, so stay tuned!)

And finally we went on a crazy long walk and ended the trip with custard, naturally!

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Weekend Rewind: Memorial Day Adventures

Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 mi - 26,000 participants!

Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 mi – 26,000 participants!

Chicago at sunset

Chicago at sunset

Clare's Birthday Celebration at Shoe's Pub

Clare’s Birthday Celebration at Shoe’s Pub

Story of my life...

Story of my life…

Frostys with Mimi

Frostys with Mimi

Can we puhlease go to the park?

Can we puhlease go to the park now?

Omgomgomg

Omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomg…

Goose Lake State Prairie

Goose Lake State Prairie

Bridge to Nowhere

Bridge to nowhere

Back to Chi City!

Back to Chi city, my city!

Montrose Harbor

Morning run to Montrose Harbor

Treat yo self!

Treat yo self!

There's only one way to kickoff summer: ice cream!

There’s only one way to kickoff summer: ice cream. Lots of it.

Thank you to those who have served and those who continue to protect our nation! Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day!