Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Baby Announcements

We just received a charming baby announcement from our DOC, Katie, welcoming her new daughter, Anna. Look at this cute little detail:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Many Is "Too Many?"

We still aren't settled or organized enough to unpack and/or hang art in our condo - but we do have some wedding photos up. My question is, do we have TOO MANY wedding photos up? I'd hate to be THAT girl. Will they look less imposing once we have other stuff on the walls?  Am I just paranoid because my friends called the fireplace display a shrine? What do you guys think? How much is TOO MUCH? Has anyone else wondered this?

{Wedding Pictures in Photos by Sarah Alair}

Monday, November 23, 2009

Any Holiday Party Food Ideas from My Chicago Friends?

(No Charming Photo Because Blogger Stinks!)

Does anyone have suggestions for a place from which to pick up or order delicious bulk** appetizers? We're having a house full for a holiday party in a few weeks and I just found out that I'll be travelling for work the week leading up to it. (OF COURSE I would be, as I travel for work once every 5 years!)

I have an e-mail out to Appetizers and Inc. to see if they're open to the public.

  • Note: I don't have a Costco membership.

Our Fireplace Project

For some reason, our unit is one of the few in the building in which the developer did not put lights in the living room. I needed a quick fix for lightening up our fireplace wall until we can afford to wire the ceiling for lights. We decided that paint was the most affordable, dramatic option.

I'm not a big fan of our corner fireplace wall. The tile is so dark and the nook is awkward. In an ideal world, I'd hang some cool pendant lights there to fill the space and provide some light.

I chose to paint the wall green to play off of our couch, which sits across the room. Andy and I agreed on the color "Leapfrog" by Behr, which seemed to be just a smidge brighter than the couch.

Oh man! HUGE MISTAKE. It was bright. I mean, like Kermit-the-Frog-dipped-in-acid-and-then-plugged-in bright.

While I do not typically shy away from bright colors, it was just too much. Not to mention that it didn't align with the rest of our house. I went to Home Depot with a swatch of our couch fabric to see if they could color match it. As I stood in line, I realized that our swatch perfectly matched the next color on the Behr card, Wild Grass.

I wasn't wild about the color, so I had it mixed with only 45% of the color and it turned out perfect. A week later (I think that I got some bad paint because it was thick like batter and took days to dry.), the wall was finished!

Here's the final product:

The candles are the "luminere" line from CB2. I originally tried them without the side photos, but it was too bare. I love the way that they look with the green paint.

They look great when lit up at night - even if my photography skills don't show it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lovely Packages from My Lovely Friend

Back in August, I signed up for the oh, hello friend lovely package swap and got an extra surprise -- a lovely partner! I was assigned to swap packages with my friend, Tara, of In This Instance. How funny! We both got a bit overwhelmed with work and life in August, so we agreed to exchange a little later. My package arrived last month (ironically, when it was waiting for me when I arrived home from having coffee with Tara) and it was adorable. Craft Paper + Twine + Orange Flowers almost always = Happy Day!

The Lovely Package

The Goodies inside...

Each package contained a charming quote:

Gift Tags:

Mailing Labels:

Adorable Letterpress Note Cards:


And a beautiful tea towel (I love tea towels!):

{All Photos by Me; All Packaging by Tara}

My gift to Tara is in the mail and should arrive by Monday. I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that the packaging arrives in the condition that it was in at departure. Andy thinks that my note asking the postman not to jostle the contents of the package was an invitation to destroy it.

You can see my gifts to Tara (don't peek, Tara!) and all of the other participants' booty in the lovely package flickr group. Many thanks to Danni  of oh, hello friend for organizing the swap! And congratulations on her very adorable engagement.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Hunt for House Wine Continues...

Because I am such a kick-ass wife, I've been taking one (well, many) for the team and drinking a lot of bad/mediocre wines in an attempt to fine a good House Wine. We have a lot of fancy wine, but not enough what we've dubbed "Tuesday Night Wine," cheap affordable-but-sorta-delicious wine that I can pop on a weeknight without worrying about finishing the entire bottle (like if I've been dealing with those jerks at Priceline) or if I just want to have a quick drink with a friend. We also need a good dinner party wine for the nights that we're responsible for providing 2-4 bottles of wines for our guests. Here are a few recent winners that I can recall off of the top of my head. My desired price range is less than $10, but I often cheat and go up to $15. (Don't tell.) These are all reds. Whites to follow some other day...

  • Trapiche Malbec: $6.99ish @ Trader Joe's and Binny's. My friend VP brought this over for our GermanFest party and I drank it a few weeks later. Not knowing she brought it,  I sent her an e-mail saying, "I have no idea where we got this, but it's good and cheap." That's all that I remember about it.

  • Bear's Lair Cabarnet Sauvignon: $3.99 @ Trader Joe's. We served this wine at a dinner party on Saturday and I, pleasantly, wasn't horrified when I took the first taste. It's definitely light, but still pretty satisfying. And it beats the pants off of Three Buck Chuck.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I love these fancy pencils from iomoi. Then again, I love most things from iomoi, especially these.

P.S. Peach Post is having a giveaway! Entry ends on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hold the Boat!

How did I miss this? An At Home Letterpress Kit? I was on the Paper Source Web site looking for something completely unrelated (Floral Wire, if you must know. And, yes, they do sell it outside of the kits.), when I wondered "Why would they be selling red letterpress ink?" and then I saw it:

What the What? For reals? I couldn't believe my eyes and thought that this, surely, is just another instance of me being the last to know. So I went to my Google Reader and did a search for it and what is the first thing to pop up? A GIVEWAY GOING ON RIGHT NOW! From the prettiest blogger in all of the land, iDiY. It's like the Universe, God, and everyone else with spiritual powers beyond my immediate realm is saying, "Tina! You must have this!" Fingers, toes, eyes, legs, hairs, and absolutely anything else that I can get to cross is officially CROSSED! Please hold while I go cross all of Andy's stuff...


Ok. I am back.

I don't even know how I am going to sleep tonight knowing that this exists. My heart hurts. I feel like a Stevie Wonder concert was just announced or something equally as wonderful happened.

Although I hate to stack the odds against myself, I know it's the right thing to do. Go here to enter.

The Sample Sale at the Merchandise Mart

Did I ever score at the Sample Sales at the Merchandise Mart last week! I've been staying away from the sales as I was traumatized after I lost a bunch of sample sale purchases in a flood back in 2007. I finally went back to see if I could find a mirror, chairs, or some lamps for the house. I didn't find any lamps or chairs, but I TOTALLY made out.

I bought this incredible beveled mirror for $79.00. My coworker found it at and Nieman-Marcus for $325, but it's no longer online. I found this bad photo on

I bought nine rolls of TapeSwell tapes. I bought all of the ones listed below; but only because I cut myself off. I think that I left a few Christmas ones behind.

I bought three table runners from my favorite brand, Chilewich. One of these is a Christmas gift for a friend. (Shhhhhhh!)

Our niece carries her diaries with her EVERYWHERE that she goes. I scored her a year's worth of journals for Christmas for only $36.00!

I picked up a party tray from MacBeth collection in this pretty peacock pattern as a Christmas gift for a friend that loves parties AND the color blue!

I also scored a huge stack of pool, fuschia, and moss A2 envelopes for only $5.00! They actually had more sizes, but I just couldn't think of any projects that warranted them - and we all know that I need more paper like I need a hole in the head.

I scored these Christmas cocktail napkins too:

I actually got quite a bit more, but it's mostly gifts for people who read this blog or small stuff - like 35 greeting cards for $7! Hooray! I saved $619 on the above listed items alone -- all stuff that I might have bought anyway! It was totally worth fighting all off the old ladies in seasonal sweaters and their garbage cans full of bubble wrap.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grateful Boxes from Paper Source

I just adore this idea for "grateful boxes" from the Paper Source blog. Each guest at the dinner table is greeted with a personalized box of notes listing something that another dinner guest likes about them.

Just imagine if you used the same box year-after-year. You'd have a lifetime of memories showing changing penmanship and new additions as people marry and new babes are born. I don't think that anyone in my immediate family would go for this, but if I ever have mine own family, I think that it would be a beautiful tradition to start. Maybe I should make give it a try anyway...I just might receive "I am thankful for: Tina starting a new tradition" card.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Favorite Reusable Shopping Bags

This is how lame working too much has made me. I've actually have enough alone time to ponder and deem certain reusable shopping bags as my "favorites." BUT, I do think that these are good gifts, so humor me and file this under "Bridal Party Gifts," "Party Game Prizes," and/or "Stocking Stuffers" so that I can feel like this is a worthwhile blog post.

I've given Environsax as gifts several times and finally bought myself one this spring. While they are cute, the straps are too short and they always come unfolded in my purse, which is a total nuisance. Sorry friends and Mom and Sis who I've given this to.

I am very, very loyal to my Reisenthel bags. They're lined and sturdy beyond belief. The only cons are that I keep losing the carrying case and they take up a lot of room in my purse. Still, LOVE. People often stop me on the street to ask about this bag (which is kind of odd when you think about it). When I'm organized enough to have it with me, it's definitely my pick for heavy duty shopping days. And the ladies at Paper Source always say, "Oh, you have your bag" when I pull it out.

The Container Store has finally brought Flip and Tumble bags to Chicago and I love 'em! They're so tiny that I almost always have one in my purse. I just picked up a second one last week. They're so soft and launder perfectly, which is good, as I may or may not have stuffed my jacket into one to make a pseudo-pillow to nap on during an all-nighter in the office and drooled on it.

Check out these super cute Flip-and-Tumble ECObag Kits that include three totes and a set of produce bags. What a great gift for the ECO-Bandwagoner in your life.

Maybe I should get a life and carry it around in my reusable bags, huh?