Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How Do You Say...?

I've realized one of the biggest dreams of my life this year and booked a trip to France!

After lots of hemming, hawing, and Interweb searching, we finally decided to reign ourselves (i.e. me) in and split our 12 days among Sarlat and Paris.

Everyone keeps asking me what I'm most excited to do and my answer is...everything!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Postcards from Italia

I am most definitely a "live in the moment" person. This is demonstrated no better than in the postcards that I sent Andy during my 2007 tour of Italy, which I recently stumbled upon. I don't know if they're weird or charming. Either way, I guarantee that I was feeling every single exaggerated line that I wrote in these cards. Please enjoy at my expense!

Ciao, Zuccherino (sugar pie)!

As you know from my e-mails, I <3 VENICE! What an amazing, magical place. With each turn, I see a different version of the scene on the front of this postcard - only with people's bras and underpants hanging outside of the window to dry. I am adding Venice to our "Travel To Do!"

Tons of Amore,


Ciao, Dolce Come il Miele (honey bunch)!

I have a girl crush and her name is "Florence." Oh, Love, I love Florence almost as much as I love you! We must come here. The Duomo took my breathe away and a statue in Palazzo San Vecchio moved me to tears. They city is so colorful and full of life - the old and new co-exist perfectly.

Miss and Love you,


Ciao, Amore!

This is my favorite stop so far. The water is so gorgeous and they sell Moretti in vending machines. We rented an umbrella and chairs for 20E and have been planted here all afternoon. We did a tret-ning (Note: Chicago-speak for "threatening") hike through two towns this morning. I can't wait to try some seafood and pesto for dinner - if Piehole ever gets me off of this beach chair!

Ciao, Love!

Hs & Ks,


Ciao, Dolce Come Il Miele (Honey Bunch. Again? Did Rick Steves have limited love phrases in his phrase book?)!

So, do I love Rome? Put it this way...I am rescinding (mispelled, of course) my girl crush on Florence. She is nothing more than a notch on my mental bed post. From now on, when I see Wrigley Field from the el, I'm going to be all, "PISH, PISH, Wrigley Field! You may be IN RUINS, but are A RUIN? I don't think so." I am so over new construction. Old is where it's at!



P.S. I think that I am a Lutheran. Catholics are historically too violent. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

You Can Never Have Enough Blue Eye Shadow

I am allergic to the red and violet dyes used in eye shadows. I *always* tell make-up artists this, but, somehow, managed to bring home a bunch of eye shadows with both dyes last fall. Long story short, I haven't worn eye shadow since October. And I *love* eye shadow.

I was feeling beyond bored with my thick eyeliner and heavy mascara look, so I decided to give it another go with some new, bright colors that I've never had before. I picked up the following colors by Bobbi Brown.

So far, so good! It's been a week and save for a few bumps that went away overnight, I haven't had any problems. I'm so excited to brighten up my tired eyes going into fall.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

{Paper + Parties} Whimsical, P*nis-Free Bachelorette Party Decorations

I recently helped a friend, JK, with the paper projects for her best friend's bachelorette party at Mercadito restaurant.

JK ordered invitations from Wedding Paper Divas.


Then she picked out an assortment of scrapbook papers that we used to make  personalized drink parasols.

We used the scraps from the parasols to decorate some whimsical menus that we designed in Adobe Illustrator.



JK said that many of the girls wore their parasols in their hair.
I had so much fun on this project, JK! T Lou + J Lou + Paper + Parties + Wine + WW Recipes/Chinese Food = TL4Eva

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Art Nouveau Garden Wedding Invitations

I recently designed some invitations for a friend who is printing her own wedding invitations for her and her fiance's upcoming wedding. The Art Nouveau garden graphic was purchased from iStock and manipulated in Adobe Illustrator.

I used an earlier draft of the design to print a fast invitation for another engaged friend who needed an invitation sent to a family member quickly for visa purposes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

{Gifts} Chicago-Themed Kids Gifts

One of my best friends from college got in touch with me via LinkedIn back in January. I am so excited as he is one of my most favorite people in the world.

I had a chance to see my old friend and meet his wife and incredibly smart daughters last month, when Andy and I met him at the Shedd Aquarium. I'm always excited when guests come to Chicago, so I welcomed them with some Chicago treats in hopes of wooing them back with awesomeness.

The only thing that I knew about his daughters is that they love dinosaurs and fish. I used some photocopied scrapbook paper to dress some some plain gift backs with designs cut with my Silhouette SD.

I filled the bags with a Chicago coloring book and crayons, a chocolate sucker from Fannie May, and little snack size bags of Garrett's popcorn

I can't find the Chicago coloring book online to show you the inside, but it's pretty cute. You can find coloring books for Chicago and other cities on Amazon. My friend said his daughters really liked them.

We're counting our vacation pennies, so I cut myself off there. I would have liked to include the Count to Sleep Chicago book for his younger daughter and this wonderful Larry Gets Lost in Chicago book for his oldest daughter.

I usually use stickers to mark our office location. Please don't kill us.

For more ideas on assembling Chicago-style treats, see the Out-of-Town bags from our October 2008 wedding.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sorry, Ladies, He's Taken

Other ladies get flowers or the clap from their men when they return from trips. I get a hooded sweatshirt from Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty, fudge, two pounds of cheese curds, and a loaf of English Muffin bread from the local grocery store.

I think it's most definitely love.

{Gifts} Chicago-Themed Baby Gifts

In most of my social interactions, I am the only true-blue Chicagoan in the group. Actually, in all of my extended, post-college and work social groups, I have only one friend that I can think of who grew up with a 606XX zip code. Given this, I like to recruit some fresh blood to the city whenever I attend a baby shower. Here are some of my Go-To Chicago-Style baby gifts. Notice that none of them mention the phrase "Chi-Town." That's because nooneshouldeverusethephraseChi-TownasitmakesyousoundlikeadouchebagoraDJorworseaDoucheyDJ. 




There are a few other books on the market, but I like to save a few of those for when they get older.

Chicago Onesie

Depending on the gifting scenario, I also try to include a little Chicago t-shirt or onesie or two. My all-time favorite go-to, which was recently discontinued, is this hot dog and mustard onesie, modeled by a throw-back Eddie.

I have a matching t-shirt because I like to be THAT aunt. I know it's technically not a "Chicago" onesie, but any real Chicagoan would get it and love it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

{Paper} Customized Gift Bags

As you know, I am v popular with the Under 2 set these days. I've been trying to uphold my status as a Favorite Mom Friend and encourage a discerning party eye in them by using my Silhouette SD to design custom gift bags to match their party themes.

Genevieve received a caterpillar bag made from some project remnants and a shopping bag that I had laying around the house.

For Lucas' car themed party, I used the patterned paper that we designed for the flags to create some bag decorations, which Andy deemed "not very masculine."

Lucas can pretty much count on me cashing in my 401K for his college fund as a result of his reaction to my flag envelope.

Photo blogged with permission from Lucas' mom

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{Paper + Parties} Car Birthday Party

My friends were very Fertile Myrtles last summer, so I've been going to a lot of first birthday parties this summer. I helped my friend, Piehole, with some paper projects for her son, Lucas', first birthday party. Piehole designed and assembled everything. I only printed and cut things.

Piehole asked me to make some special cupcake flags for our recently engaged friend and her fiance.

My favorite detail was the big trucks full of treats.