10 Shades of Gray

I had a friend come to me this week freaking out about finding the perfect shade of gray to paint her new apartment. She came to the right gray paint obsessed gal! I had no problem ticking off 10 colors that I love. This is truly one of the things I really enjoy doing and thinking about.

I only know Benjamin Moore, as I find the process of choosing color so overwhelming as well, that I have to set some limits. I know I like BM paint, so I just go there.

I was thinking, oh I wish I could store these somewhere, and looky here! I have a bloggity to do that on! So here are my current fave BM grays:

perfect gray

Of all of these beauty’s though, Revere Pewter always seems to win with me. It’s the perfect neutral that reads both warm or cold to me depending on its surroundings. This is the one that I pushed my friend towards. Her question? But what accent colors could she pair with it? Easy! Pretty much anything! But of course I had an opinion to share, and here is what I gave her for her new lakeside abode: Bohemian Vintage Lake Michigan.

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Taking Stock: APRIL

Trying to get back in the swing of things after my wonderful spring break in Texas with my family and the Bluebonnets. Spring fever (and my pending birthday) always makes these kind of navel-gaze time-suckers irresistible to me! From a Pip’s blog from down under, here is me, wasting time by taking stock!

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Making : Cub Scout Scrap Book of the most meaningful moments of my 7-year-old’s life. (Well, helping to make. It’s a family affair.)
Cooking : Made a Paella over the fire pit for my father for his Birthday! It was totally cool. (sort of used this recipe. photo by the amazing jenna)
Reading: I am hooked (HOOKED) on the Divergent Trilogy right now. (On book two.) But I have to admit that it was humbling when my 10-year-old buddy Hank saw the book on my table and we discovered we both had just started book two. And both are loving it.
Wanting: My birthday is this weekend! I asked for this bag that’s on my spring 2015 capsule. (Spoiler: I just bought it for my boys to give me. Ha!)
Wearing: I’m on week 2 of my capsule project and so far it’s been GREAT. Packing for a trip was a breeze, and I have loved everything I have worn everyday so far. Also love my new spring minimal ‘do. 🙂 (Taking bathroom selfies? Not so great.)
Pondering: I have been really lax on the Gluten-free thing for the first time in… what, 6 years now? I wonder if I can eat it minimally and still feel heathy.
Questioning: Do I want to live in Chicago the rest of my life? If not, for how long? Where else might I want to explore? Will it wait until the boy is not school-aged anymore? Hmmmmmm.
Hearing: Can’t stop listening to the Magnetic Fields station on Pandora. Every song is fantastic.
Watching: JUST signed up for HBO NOW after being cable free for 7 years! Game of Thrones in real time? Heck yea!
Deciding: Where to go to dinner for my birthday this weekend. Or do we cook? What do we cook? Hmmm.
Looking: like a million bucks. Thanks spring capsule!
Wishing: that I was still on spring break.
Drinking : With my G-free break, I am sneaking a real true beer in every now and then. Heavenly.
Playing: Podcasts whenever and where ever I can! Some of the ones I am (see next line)
Enjoying: Fresh Air, Here’s the Thing, This American Life, Radiolab, RuPaul What’s the Tee? (love him/her!), Happy Sad Confused, Invisibilia
Considering: adding to the list: The Longest Shortest Time, Undisclosed, Upvoted by Reddit, and Startup (have any others to suggest?)
Wishing: I had more free time to listen to more podcasts.
Waiting: For the next big phase of my life to come. I feel like it’s close.
Loving: My little family, which now includes a cat that likes to pee on my favorite black leather chair.
Liking: Starbuck’s new Flat White coffee. Wish it didn’t taste so Starbuck’s-y.
Wondering: If I started my own business, what would it be?
Hoping: That someday I get off my duff and start my own business.
Marvelling: At how impossible that seems.
Cringing: About how it may never happen.
Needing: Some sleep. As usual.
Smelling: Like soap and coffee. As usual.
Following: Less blogs and social media in general than I used to.
Noticing: That I’m happy about that.
Knowing: I’m not at all ready to quit blogs and social media.
Thinking: That’s ok.
Admiring: Anyone that feels like they have all their shit together.
Sorting: All my stuff and getting rid of as many things as I can. Trying to live minimally!
Getting: my shit together.
Bookmarking: I still am a constant pinner of ideas and it’s helping me sort all that stuff. (I got lots of private pins, too y’all.)
Coveting: Stay at home moms. (sometimes. but not that often.)
Disliking: When my cat pees on my stuff.
Opening: A savings account for a friend/family trip to Provence in 2017!!
Giggling: Daily about all the funny things that my son says. I like him so much.
Feeling: Really clear headed and good these days. Hope to keep it up.
Snacking: Had an office bagel earlier. Perhaps I can’t be trusted with Gluten?

You should do this, too! If you do – let me know. I want to see!

To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse, FALL 2014

I can’t remember when I started messing around with cleanses, but I know I mentioned it at least here in 2011. (Maybe earlier, I got lazy searching.)
Anyway, I know I have done about three a year for a lotta years now. The latest one is always my favorite because I keep narrowing down what works best for me, and my family. (My husband always joins me, and we try to be reasonable about healthy but tasty meals for my son during the process.)
We are just getting off a 7 day cleanse I thought I would share here, because – why not? I had a friend just asking about it, so I thought someone out there might also benefit.
I loved that this one was only 7 days (as we have done only 30 day ones prior – too long!), but I will still refine some other things for the next one (more lean meat!), which will come at the first of the year. I will try to post about that when it’s ready.
So, here was the FALL 2014 cleanse, in which I felt pretty darn good at the end of. I hope you enjoy!
Yes: Veggies, fruit, nuts, wild salmon, water, lentils, and plenty of fresh, organic, local produce
No: Sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, peanuts, artificial sweeteners, meat or poultry.Avoid: Citrus Fruits, Caffeine, Carbonated Water (in the form of seltzer or in soda) Why? It can cause bloating, unnecessarily stressing the body during cleansing

Water: Half your body weight in ounces daily

Each morning, upon rising: Glass of room temperature lemon water with Cider Vinegar. You may have 1 Cup Black Coffee – but only herbal tea and water after that.
  • 7-8am: simple smoothie
  • 10-11am: snack
  • 12-1pm: lunch
  • 3-4pm: snack
  • 6-7pm: dinner

SNACKS: a piece of fruit & nuts, celery & almond butter, rice crackers & hummus, plain rice cake with almond butter, steamed veggies & nuts, avocado with sea salt, even just a few nuts will do if you don’t have time to plan ahead

BREAKFAST:
Simple Smoothie:

  • Fresh or frozen fruit (½ a banana or ¼ avocado make a good creamy base)
  • Veggies (pick 2-4:  spinach, cucumber, kale, chard, collard, fennel, celery, carrot, parsley, mint, avocado, etc- careful with some of those if you don’t have a heavy duty blender like a Vitamix)
  • Handful of hemp seeds, almonds or walnuts
  • add protein powder
  • Water to desired consistency (can be half coconut water?)

Before Bed – Drink daily and prepare fresh daily.
Chamomile Tea

MEALS

DAY 1
LUNCH: Slow Cooker Savory Superfood Soup
http://skinnyms.com/skinny-slow-cooker-savory-superfood-soup/
DINNER: Autumn Arugula Salad
http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/10/autumn-arugula-salad/

DAY 2
LUNCH: Detox Salad
http://ohsheglows.com/2011/09/27/detox-salad/
DINNER: Slow Cooker Hearty Vegetable and Bean Soup
http://skinnyms.com/slow-cooker-hearty-vegetable-and-bean-soup/

DAY 3
LUNCH: Detox Salad Leftovers
DINNER:
 Mixed Greens with Steamed Salmon, Olive Oil & Lemon Juice

DAY 4
LUNCH: Detox Rainbow Salad
http://www.theskinnyfork.com/blog/detox-rainbow-salad
DINNER: Black Bean & Quinoa Chili
http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2013/09/black-bean-quinoa-chili/

DAY 5
LUNCH: Black Bean & Quinoa Chili Leftovers
DINNER:
 Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew
http://www.wholeliving.com/216569/red-lentil-and-sweet-potato-stew>

DAY 6
LUNCH: French Lentil Salad
http://www.wholeliving.com/216351/french-lentil-salad
DINNER: Roasted Beets on Greens
http://www.wholeliving.com/216567/roasted-beets-greens

DAY 7
LUNCH: LEFTOVERS
DINNER: Roasted Portobellos With Kale
http://www.wholeliving.com/216568/roasted-portobellos-kale

Capsule Organizing

It has just hit my radar, and quite timely too, as I plan to use the holidays to get some coset clean out done. This blogger has really nailed the idea of coming up with a minimal, but effective seasonal wardrobe.

I love her philosophy on the “rule of three.” Keep contents down to maximum of three choices. For each of these sets, she includes one basic, plain pair + one crazy-fun statement pair + one pair that falls between the two.

9 pairs of shoes (example: 3 pairs of flats, 3 pairs of heels, and 3 pairs of boots.)

9 bottoms 9 (3 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of shorts, and 3 skirts.)

15 tops (3 sweaters, 3 tee shirts, 3 button up shirts, 3 tank tops, and 3 vests)

I started a Polyvore to think it all through. Excited about this!

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Advent 2014

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This is the fourth or fifth year that I am blogging my advent plans (who’s counting?) This year I am excited to be trying something new with the help of these guys.

This year, I will be joining in a global Advent calendar on Instagram.  From Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 — they will be sending out a daily word, meditation and beautiful image to those who want to join.

Participants are invited to take a photo with their phone or tablet to share their interpretation of the word for that day – these include #Abide, #Thrive, #Become, #Imagine – and then post the picture to Instagram adding the day’s tag plus #Adventword.

Should be fun! Hope you decide to play along, too!

Happy holidays, ya’ll!

I Made Art (or #38 in the #100in500)

If you have been following along, you know that I am plugging away at my “do 100 fun/important/just ’cause things” in my deadline of 500 days. Number 48 on that #100in500 list is to create at least 30 blog posts talking about completing items on this list. If you count the first post about the list (which I will), this will be post #3. Still a lonnnnng way to go, but here it is!

NUMBER 38:   Paint an abstract painting

AND HERE SHE BLOWS:

art

 

Please allow me to explain. I have been a fan and follower of Illustrator, Artist, Blogger, etc Lisa Congdon for many years. She always amazes and inspires, but lately she has been doing a ton of abstract paintings. They are really amazing. I have been thinking to myself lately, “Self? Wouldn’t it be fun to put paint on a canvas and create something?” But here’s the thing: I’m not a painter. I know amazing artist and painters – and I am just not one of them. At least I didn’t actually get a formal education in fine art. But I put it on the #100in500 list anyway, hoping to inspire myself.

 

Then, I came across this:

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Then, I found a blank canvas at our condo garage sale for $2. The universe – and my list, were trying to tell me something.

I pondered on an image, a thought, that inspired me. I came across this amazing piece, I pinned it, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was the white space and the reflection that really spoke to me. So I ordered some silver leaf and stuff that Amazon  recommended I might need with it. I’ve never used silver leaf, and have no idea what made me think of it – but there you have it:

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I painted the canvas with my favorite interior white, that I just happen to most always have around: Ben Moore’s decorators white. Then made a half circle maker with a ruler (to center), tack (on the back), piece of tape, string, and chalk:

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Then I painted the circle with some silver paint I had leftover from the failed ‘stainless steal’ backsplash. (I was on a budget!)

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Then I used the ‘glue’ that I got from Amazon and painted over the silver part, waited for about 30 minutes until it was just very tacky, and then my son and I went to town on a windy Chicago day sticking super thin silver leaf all over that bad boy. Until it looked like this:

 

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SO there you have it! Post #3 complete! I kind of love it in all of it’s reflective glory. I AM an art-teast!

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Advent 2013

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I have (not always successfully) been trying to simplify things these days. So this year, advent is going to get a little simpler than the last few years around here. This year, I am going to use up the bags I have left over from last year – and hang up on a wall. In a Christmas three shape? Maybe. In each bag will be a little chocolate or treat, along with something that I love, admire, and/or appreciate about my son. Ahhh. Here’s to simplicity! Cheers!

Here’s a sneak peak:

  1. That he loves to learn street names and cares about how he gets places
  2. That he loves broccoli
  3. His handwriting
  4. His great cuddles
  5. That he loves Classical Music and Hot Tea
  6. That he’s a morning person
  7. That he remembers the little details of things
  8. That he always, always washes his hands after using the restroom
  9. That he is always rethinking what he will be when he grows up
  10. That he is reading Moby Dick with his father – and that he loves to read in general
  11. That he helps me make great fort
  12. That he takes public transit like a champ!
  13. That he is a very loyal friend
  14. That he is a good dinner conversationalist.
  15.  That he loves a long bath.
  16.  That he plays video games with his pops.
  17.  That he always asks great questions
  18.  That he likes to sing.
  19.  That he is always working on his story.
  20.  That he is such a great swimmer.
  21.  That he loves Lake Michigan, the beach and the water.
  22.  That he is so very sweet with all animals.
  23.  That he is so curious about everything.
  24.  That he likes to tell knock-knock jokes.

Happy Birthday To The Ci!

Today is this blog’s 4th birthday! *shoots confetti*

What a whirlwind it was for this gal (is a blog a gal?) yesterday! Record views and all that good stuff. It was fun and very, very scary to share this little bloggity with my whole social network. Everyone was really nice and the Chicago’s classifieds beta is: so far so good!

Thanks to everyone for their support! Now let’s go and look at some more classy-fieds!

A beautiful vintage purple dresser with the sweetest little wheels at its feet? Just around the bend in Uptown? Don’t mind if I do!

Purple dresser

 

 

 

Trying Something New

Here’s something I don’t think I have mentioned here before: I don’t share this blog with very many people. Well, really anyone. It’s been here for years as a spot for me to (publicly) privately share my thoughts. Well, I’m changing that today. And here’s why:

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Let me back up… Now’s where I finally come clean on what it is I do for a living. For the past 5 years, I have worked at the nation’s largest city monthly magazine – Chicago, as the Classified Advertising Manager. Working in Classifieds, for a city monthly no less, has always been a bit of a challenge in this day and age, as you might imagine. I have embraced and enjoyed that challenge however. If you know me, (or even if you don’t and have just perused this blog,) you will know that I am a fairly progressive and digitally-minded girl. What does all that translate into? Well, moving Classified advertising into the future, of course!

There has been a few very notable exceptions for success in this arena, but no hyper-local content publisher, to my knowledge, has done it in a way that is as big as I would like to see it. Until now.

Please allow me to be the first to introduce you to the brand new Chicago Classifieds, powered by Krrb. It is in beta test right now for the next few days, so please try it out. Browse these listings by neighborhood, by price, or whatever you want! Just have fun! Have some great furniture, jewelry, or other things that you have been thinking about selling? If you happen to live in the Chicago area, I hope that I have made that a little easier, more comfortable, and more fun than it was yesterday.

Thanks in advance for being a first adapter with me, and let me know what you think!

Here’s to growing, evolving, and making life better.

Cheers!