And 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.
Good 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…
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.
Just a little eye candy for your Friday commute. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
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…
Me and my pops picking up my race packet
Black Star Farms vineyard
The starting line!
Sweet action pic… Not!
The “medal” was a coaster on a lanyard! WTF?
High school dreams do come true! lol jk
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!
Birthday cake ice cream
My new friend!
My wedding venue? Only seats six people!
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…
If only there were still some left…
The Dairy Lodge
Kissing the moose at Sleder’s
Annnnnd one more cone
Sunset over Traverse City
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!
I celebrated my birthday last weekend with some friends at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. We always plan one camping trip each summer, but this was a new venue for us because we wanted to throw tubing into the mix.
By tubing, I mean floating down the river (in this case, Sugar Creek) in a big intertube with a bunch of friends and usually beers. Unfortunately, when you float down the river absolutely everything gets wet, so I wasn’t able to bring my phone or camera. But you can get an idea of our shenanigans from the rest of the pics.
For the record: The campsite left something to be desired, but tubing was fun and the hiking was what was really impressive. I was shocked by all the cool rock formations and waterfalls. It was hard to believe we were in Indiana! But again, my camera was at the campsite, so no photos. FAIL.
But after a weekend of sleeping on the ground, drinking whiskey and dealing with the rain (yes, it rained again—second year in a row!), I’m definitely feeling all of my 28 years, if not more. I hope I’m not getting to old for this!
Aug. 1 came and went so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to celebrate my two-year home-iversary! I resigned my lease, so I’ll be in my current apartment for at least one more year (barring any major life changes). There was a bit of a rent hike, but it’s only an additional $20 a month—not something I’m excited about, but definitely not worth the expense (and hassle!) of a move. Plus, the consensus seems to be that my place is a steal for the amount of space and the neighborhood (Chicago’s North Center). I do love it!
Let’s take a look at how far it’s come:
It’s not perfect. It never will be. Design is a constantly evolving process—and that’s exactly what makes it fun!
Outside of a few little things here and there, I’m VERY happy with the living room and dining room. But putting everything side-by-side here makes me realize that the kitchen and bathroom are kind of a different style than the rest of the apartment… Looks like I know where my next projects will be! Stay tuned.
Oh man, it is going to be a struggle to make it through today. Portland is exhausting! Between kayaking the Columbia River, drinking all afternoon at a beer festival, hiking up to Angel’s Rest and eating just about everything in the city—not to mention a cramped red-eye flight home—I’m wiped out.
And ready to go back! I really enjoyed the city and having access to all kinds of outdoor activities—plus spectacular ice cream. I can see where some of the Portlandia generalizations come from, but it wasn’t nearly as obnoxious as I thought.
Must do? 1. Eat at one of the many food cart “pods” around the city. 2. Hike. There’s all kinds of trails to explore. 3. Reward yourself for being active on vacation with Salt & Straw ice cream!
Check out all my adventures (and click on any image for a slideshow with commentary):
Bloody Marys with homemade jerky at Tasty n’ Sons
Portland Rose Garden
Portland Japanese Garden
Andy and his boo, Kenneth
View from Pittock Mansion
Lounge Lizard, a neat vintage shop
LOVE Portland’s food cart culture
Salt & Straw – a must eat! Prepare for a wait though
Andy’s idyllic backyard
Le Bistro Montage
Jam on Hawthorne
Kayaking the Columbia
Not much has changed in 15 years lol
Yep, this is Portland
Reunited with Carrie, a friend I met while studying abroad in London
Andy pretending to fall off a cliff…
Walking Man Brewery (technically Washington)
50 Licks (Salt & Straw is better, in my opinion)