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?

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: Carry On Cocktail Kit

I hope everyone out there is arriving safely to their Thanksgiving day destinations. It took me three hours to get from Chicago to my parents’ house, a drive that usually takes less than an hour and a half… Let’s just say I was extremely cranky and in desperate need of a drink when I finally made it.

Those of you hitting the airports for transportation, I stumbled upon a great solution for your in-flight cocktailing needs—just in time for the holiday season!

d5179df5dffd3690aec94c8e4b371795The Carry On Cocktail Kit provides all the makings for two Old Fashioned cocktails—just add ice and whiskey. (From what I gather, it’s illegal to drink your own mini bottles of booze on the plane, so either risk it or buy from the flight attendant.)

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.03.26 PMAs you can see, the components included are: carry-on tin, recipe card, spoon/muddler, aromatic bitters, cane sugar and linen coaster.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 9.59.45 PMSo even if you’re stuck sitting on the tarmac or that toddler won’t stop kicking your chair, at least you can have a nice cocktail to take the edge off. Cheers my friends!

The Carry On Cocktail Kit, $24, carryoncocktailkit.com

(Images: The Carry On Cocktail Kit)

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.

On My Mind: October Edition

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1. If you don’t mind an essay filled with expletives, you HAVE to read McSweeney’s “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.” I. AM. DYING.  Though I’m totally guilty of loving an ugly gourd or two myself.

2. Sticking with the season, someone wrote into Dear Prudence complaining about having to buy candy for less fortunate children that don’t even live in her super wealthy neighborhood… REALLY?! Prudence totally verbally slapped this person: “Stop being callous and miserly and go to Costco, you cheapskate, and get enough candy to fill the bags of the kids who come one day a year to marvel at how the 1 percent live.” Touché, Prudence. Touché.

3. Have you seen IKEA’s hilarious ad for it’s low-tech catalog? “Introducing the new 2015 IKEA catalog. It’s not a digital book. Or an e-book. It’s a book book.” lol. Check it out.

4. Tory Burch has a new line of watches, and I’m totally crushing on the small gold one. But $800 for a basic watch?! I guess that’s her thing though, which I fell for with the basic black flats… But three years later, they’re still going strong so I think it’s worth the $200 price tag. Quality over quantity!

5. And finally, I’m Kansas City-bound tonight and I’ve never been, so if you have suggestions on things to do, bartenders to visit or BBQ to eat, let me know! xoxo

 

On My Mind: August Edition

1. OMG there’s only two super long runs left until the marathon! Where did August go? Granted, I have to run 12 miles today (because that’s not long at all… who am I?) and then 18 and 20 the next two weekends, but after that I begin tapering for the BIG DAY (Oct. 12). How can that be? I feel like I’m getting there physically, but I’m not sure I’m mentally ready for this!

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2. After the marathon, I’m hoping to take some time off and travel somewhere warm. I don’t want to sight see; I just want to lay on the beach, eat/drink whatever my heart desires and not set an alarm for an entire week! I’m lucky enough to have a job with a decent PTO allotment and a boss that encourages me to take it, but I feel like there’s been a lot of chatter lately about how Americans don’t use their vacation time, which is just plain stupid. I especially liked Gawker’s take:

That job don’t love you. That job is not your friend. That job is not looking out for you. That job is a machine in which you are a cog. That job has no human feelings. That job is interested only in sucking you for every last ounce of labor that you are physically capable of producing before you pass out. It is not the job’s fault; it is in the job’s nature. Therefore it is up to you to look out for yourself. You gotta love yourself in this world. Take that time off. Nobody else is going to take it for you. Take it. Take it all.

Touché, Gawker. Touché. Now where should I go? Suggestions?

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3. Um, so I woke up today and decided that I hate my bathroom. I hate the stupid black and white checkered floor, I REALLY hate the old-school mirror/light combo, I hate the cheap over-the-toliet storage cabinet, I hate the color of the green accents. OK, I can really only do something about that last one (maybe two), but I’ve decided it’s time to revisit this space. It’s pretty much been the same since I moved in two years ago so… Here. we. go.

Opening Ceremony And 'Birdman' - Premiere - 71st Venice Film Festival

4. I’m really excited to get my hair cut tonight. I have not had many good hair days lately. The truth is I was on a medication for awhile that started to make my hair fall out! It was awful. And it still kind of is because now I have all these new hairs sticking out like a baby bird. But I’m hoping my stylist can work some magic. I’m thinking I should cut a couple inches off to help the little hairs “catch up” to the longer ones faster, and I think I’m going to use Emma Stone’s new do as inspiration. I kind of have a girl crush on Emma. She was hilarious in the Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon.

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5. I’ve totally been slacking in the cooking department. I got the new stove/oven weeks ago, and I think I’ve only used it once—to warm up leftover pizza. That’s just sad. But now that my grad class is over (and I’m taking the fall off), I might be able to get back in the kitchen. First recipe I want to tackle? Spicy beer shrimp sounds pretty damn good. Or maybe jalapeño cheddar scones. Guess I’m all about the heat right now!

(Images: 1. National Geographic, 3. The Gloss, 4. Chocolate Moosey)

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(Long) Weekend Rewind: Pure Michigan

Vacations are hard to come by when you’re training for a marathon—building in a couple hours a day for runs and watching your diet isn’t exactly fun while traveling. But you can find a sweet spot if you combine the two…

On Sunday, I did the Vineyard to Bay 25K (roughly 15.5 miles) in Traverse City, Michigan. This was the first time the race has ever been held, and there are definitely some kinks to be worked out, but I was just happy to use it as an excuse to get out of town for a few days. I’m getting tired of pounding out miles on the Lakefront Path!

We rented a house in Sutton Bay (more on that next week). It was a overcast most of the trip, so we didn’t spend much time sitting on the beach. Instead, we drove out to Sleeping Bear Dunes, shopped in Charlevoix, ate LOTS of ice cream and even kissed a moose. Don’t ask…

There’s no way this trip would’ve been possible without my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad! They are pretty great travel companions. We already have another trip in the works, too—Scottsdale for Spring Training!

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Liebster Award: Bending the Rules

I don’t usually partake in chains (emails, themed blog posts, restaurants… just kidding on that last one!), but I’ve been so stressed with grad homework, board commitments, travel plans and the like that I’ve warmed to the idea of having prompts for a post—because god knows, I’ve been slacking on the home front. My apartment is a complete and utter disaster at the moment…

So thank you, Ali from My Closet is Full, for nominating me for a Liebster Award! (Check out her blog: She’s vowed not to buy a new item of clothing for a full year! I don’t think I could do it.) I figure this is a quick and easy way for people to get to know more about me outside of just adventures in DIY, design, cooking, etc. Below are Ali’s questions.

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Spain, 1933, by Henri Cartier-Bresson

What’s something that you are proud of accomplishing? I’m proud that I was able to power through the recession. I graduated college in May 2008, which was right when the economy started to go to shit. A lot of people I know ended up living with their parents, working in bars or going back to school simply because they didn’t know what else to do. Sure, I may have been a “professional intern” for awhile, but I had some amazing experiences. (Hello, Wrigley Field!) I wouldn’t trade those opportunities for the world.

If you travel to one place, where would it be? India would be pretty amazing. I want to go before I’m old and cranky and can’t deal with the down-and-dirty-ness of a trip like that. It just seems like a place that can change your life. The colors, the food, the rituals—I want to experience it all.

Who is a hero in your life? As silly as it sounds, my high school yearbook teacher is one of my heroes. She introduced me to journalism and photography, both of which I continue to love today. She also taught me the importance of good work ethic and pushed me to try new things. I had her for a handful of tech classes as well, and she was teaching us Dreamweaver in 2002! Pretty impressive for a group of 16 year olds.

Why did you start blogging? I started blogging, in part, for my grandfather. Pop couldn’t make the trip up to my apartment because of health reasons, but he did have internet access so I set out to show him what kind of projects I was working on and how the place was coming together. Plus, a bunch of items in my apartment are originally his and my grandmother’s, and I thought they’d like the reminder of home.

liebster-awardNail polish or lipstick? Neither really. I like nail polish, but I’m too lazy to keep up with it. I’m pretty rough on my hands so manis don’t last very long. Lipstick I like, too, but I feel like I can’t pull it off. I’ve always been a lip gloss gal. In high school, I worked at the Western Open, and one of the sponsors was Chapstick… I used to hoard that stuff like a drug addict!

What is the best food you’ve ever eaten? Oh man, this is a tough one. Probably the tuna spring rolls at Café Des Artistes in Ubud, Bali. So. Amazing. It’s been almost six years, but my mouth still waters just thinking about them. I’ll return one day…

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? I’d like to meet Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was one of the early photojournalists, and he traveled the world shooting all kinds of people and events. I’d love to know how we was able to capture the “decisive moment” with the limitations of technology in the first half of the 20th century. Plus, I’d ask to buy one of his prints for my apartment!

What is your favorite store and what do you buy when you go there? Macy’s. I am such a lazy shopper, so I love that Macy’s has just about everything and all in one place. The days of me going store-to-store for hours on end are over. I’m lucky enough to work just down the street from Macy’s on State (RIP Marshall Field’s), so I have access to an amazing collection of clothing, shoes, outerwear, jewelry, home goods—they even have a wine cellar!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I’d learn carpentry so I could start flipping houses!

How do you spend your free time? I’m training for the marathon and working toward my masters, but in my true free time, I like to make Old Fashioneds, explore the great outdoors and watch college basketball. Go Hoosiers!

So here’s where I deviate from the rules… the next requirement is that you nominate other bloggers with less than 200 followers for the award and give them questions to answer. But so many blogs don’t have the number of followers visible! So instead, I’m just going to give you a list of blog that I like (in no particular order, and of all sizes), and you can feel free to explore them on your own:

Found this Painted That
Copy Cat Chic
Life with a Dash of Whimsy
Home for Now
Live Creating Yourself
Style by Emily Henderson
Better After
Vintage Revivals
Young House Love
Bright Bazaar

Hope this gave you some insight, and if you like Urban Nesting, I’d definitely suggest checking out the other blogs listed!

(Image: Magnum Photos)