Advent 2013


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:


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.


Cool & Peaceful Paint Colors

colors for house

I have discussed paint colors for my condo quite a bit on this blog. I first started contemplating it way back in 2009! It’s been such a fun work in progress for me. It helps me to stick with one paint brand (Benjamin Moore) and frequent my same favorite paint store (Thybony).

It’s taken me a long time to embrace and accept my love of cool neutral tones, but here I am. After all this time, and collection of ideas, it’s what I have discovered about myself. I also want my house to be cohesive and peaceful. I pinned this photo of the ocean a while back (via A Well Traveled Woman) because I loved the colors and emotion of it.

I am confident in the color choices I have already painted on my walls. Still very happy with the Deep Space with white chair rails in my dining room. (these are just random instagram pix from my feed, so bear with me.)

Screen shot 2013-06-04 at 3.20.35 PM

The kitchen took a bit to figure out. I do love the Black Panther on the two walls, the chalkboard paint on a select few, and I really love the Lacey Pearl on all the others. But the faux stainless backsplash I tried? That has since been painted black chalkboard and I like it much beter.

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Screen shot 2013-06-04 at 3.31.54 PMScreen shot 2013-06-04 at 3.28.01 PM

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Lastly, I do love the Stonington Gray in the foyer and hallway, but unfortunately I chose flat paint and now it’s already looking smudged and dirty. Big sigh – I’ll be doing it again someday soon.

It’s the rest of the rooms that I keep waffling on, but I think I am nearing the finish line. And here it is! Some reused from other rooms, some new!

Bathroom: Gray Wisp 

Master Bedroom: Lacey Pearl

Living Room: Revere Pewter

2nd Bedroom: Storm

All trim and ceilings:  Decorator White

But, these too could change! That’s the fun of it!

Away From It All: Packing List

Screen shot 2013-06-03 at 3.13.49 PM

As part of my ongoing quest to explore the midwestern area around Chicago (remember, last year I went here?), I am excited to report that my next adventure will be staying for a bit in a little house in Northwest Michigan – an area I have yet to explore! There will be lots of fishing, hiking, and canoeing in and around the many rivers in the area, along with cooking, camp-firing, and general laziness. This spot’s brochure promises that it’s a place to be “Away From It All”. As such, I must make sure I pack the necessites, and here they are:


  • Head Gear: Bandanas to pull back hair, sun hats for shading, and warmer beanie hats for the cool nights. Don’t forget sunglasses!
  • Backpack: To fill up with snacks and such on the hikes
  • Shoes: Hike worthy shoes/boots, fishing boat worthy shoes, comfy travel/loungy shoes.


  • Sweatshirts
  • Socks
  • T-shirts (long and short sleeved)
  • Swimsuits
  • Pants and Shorts
  • Underthings


  • Electronics + Chargers
  • Portable Record Player + Records
  • Water Containers for Hikes
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Sleeping bag / mats
  • Sleeping cot / Air Mattress
  • Life vests


  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Brush
  • Lotion
  • Lip Balm
  • Deodorant
  • Face Cleanser
  • Prescriptions / Vitamins
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit (Band-Aids, Pain Relievers, Thermometer)


  • Aluminum Foil
  • Veggie Peeler
  • Paper Towels
  • Garbage Bags
  • Granola Bars
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Some Pamela’s for baking
  • Olive Oil / Balsamic Vinegar / Dried Herbs / Pepper & Salt
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Good Chocolate



Am I forgetting anything?

Mixing Patterns

My long time favorite hotel is Austin Texas’ Hotel San Jose. One of the things that has always stood out to me is their mix of patterns used on all of the pillows in the rooms. It’s an amazing contrast to the minimalism around them. Like this, see?

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 3.03.53 PM

So it got me thinking, it can’t be that hard to whip up some pillow covers, right? And then I remembered that I sold a pattern on Spoonflower, so I have some credits. 🙂 (Note: I would so love to design way more patterns on Spoonflower than I currently have. It’s so fun!)

This fabric combo makes me drool all over, but I really only want to pick about 4 of them. Which 4 would you pick?



1. Ocean_paisley by Wiccked

2. Traditional colonial with a half twist by edsel2084

3. Paisley_bright by Wiccked

4. Swirlyblue by Edsel2084

5. Ghostly paisley in bloodlust by Cateanevski

6. Snow_paisley by Wiccked

7. Blue and white paisley by Nimochka

8. Love birds – small gray by Holly_helgeson

9. Fern_paisley_batik by Wiccked

10. Paisley – black&white by Jane_kriss

(cute doggie pic via Superficial Snapshots Blog )

40 Before Forty (more updates)

It’s been another year since I looked to this list that I have been working on for quite a while now, and it’s time to make some more updates to the goals that I set for myself on my 36th birthday. Just one little tiny year left after this April 18th (yikes!). I better get cracking!

  1. Travel as much as possible while I am young.
  2. Finish college.
  3. Marry a man I adore.
  4. Move away from where I grow up, and experience new and different things.
  5. Buy my own house.
  6. Have a child.
  7. Work at a job that I really actually like.
  8. Start a personal blog.
  9. Grow herbs and/or tomatoes every summer. (2010 planted herbs; 2011 spread out a bit and grew upside down tomatoes, 2012 was a stinker of a year for tomatoes – but the herbs were strong)
  10. Repaint every room in my condo. (ENTRY/HALLWAY, LIVING ROOM, BATHROOM, MASTER BEDROOM, 2nd BEDROOM, DINING ROOM, KITCHEN – 2011: in progress 2012: DONE!)
  11. Finally create a bookshelf system for our condo that works. (2011: Boy, did I give that sucker a lot of thought. In the end, I went with Ikea’s white Billys in the dining room. I should probably share that someday, huh? I have sort of been waiting until I put doors on them and consider them complete. May be never then.) (2012: crossing this off. They look great without doors!
  12. Eat at Charlie Trotter’s, and at least two other restaurants on this list. (2011: Trotter’s is closing August 17, 2012. I waited too long, as it’s impossible to reserve now. Well, still plenty to get to on the list, anyway!) (2012: There are too many great restaurants to narrow down to just a few. Will cross this off and know that I will always TRY to fit in my fine dining when I can!
  13. Take a photography class, and learn how to use my SLR camera properly. (2011: My poor lonely SLR has been totally replaced by iPhone pix. Strange.) (2012: am obsessed with Instagram, but have been feeling the itch to pick up the SLR again soon…)
  14. Learn CSS or some other programming system. (2012: poop. not yet.)
  15. Take a cooking class. (No, but have been teaching myself! Loving it!) (2012: just don’t fee the need anymore!)
  16. Get into great physical shape.(2009: Wii Fit, Went G-Free, and lost some weight) (2010: still G-free, started regular yoga, did a couple of cleanses) (2011: still G-free (!), still doing yoga (!), will do another couple of cleanses. Still not even close to being in great physical shape.) (2012: still very happy with my progress of clean eating and moving as much as possible!)
  17. Volunteer for something. (2010: Earth Day Donation time; 2011 Earth Day time again, along with lots of other donation of stuff. 2012: FAIL)
  18. Have a date night with my husband at least once a month. (2011: Ugh, well – we try, but it’s closer to once ever quarter. Need to work on that!) (2012: FAIL)
  19. Visit these Chicago sites: Willis Tower Observation Deck and the new Modern Wing at the Art Institute. (2011: The Modern Wing is excellant, and my son and husband checked out the Willis. I am good with that for now.)
  20. Take full advantage of every summer in Chicago doing by too much biking, many picnics on the lake, attending street festivals, and going to the Lincoln Park Zoo often. (Always!)
  21. 2010- Obtain a year long membership to the Shedd Aquarium. Go often, take lots of photos.  (DONE)
  22. 2011- Obtain a year long membership to the Field Museum. Go often, take lots of photos. (DONE, except for that due to a Groupon, it was Science & Industry!)
  23. 2012- Obtain a year long membership to the Museum of Science and Industry. Go often, take lots of photos. (2011: not yet, but we are definitely thinking of the Field.) (2012: didn’t happen. FAIL)
  24. 2013- Obtain a year long membership to an Art Museum. Go often, take lots of photos. (2012: hmmm, not yet. and probably not this year either. We’ll see.)
  25. 2014- Obtain a year long membership to an ??? Museum. Go often, take lots of photos.
  26. Do more yoga. (2011: Loving my class at the Parks district!) (2012: Pretty good yoga at the office gym, turns out!)
  27. Eliminate more meat from my diet. (Sometimes. My son has just proclaimed himself a vegetarian. I suppose that’s something?)
  28. Enroll my son in at least one fun class a year. (2011: He’s a busy kid, alright.) (2012: he can swim!)
  29. Find the perfect school for my son. (2011: Still working hard on this one. We have a year and a 1/2 left and counting – but already found out that we are wait listed for the one and only private school we did early admission with.) (2012: WE FOUND A SCHOOL. It’s private and means that our life is going to change a bit as we are going to be ‘school poor’. But I am excited to be sending him to such a great school. This is the most satisfying one to check off for me for sure.)
  30. Recycle all of my glass and paper products. Getting a recyle dumpster with our condo assoc. makes this a no brainer.
  31. Create a list of 40 must read books, then actually read them. (2011: Ugh. Too bad I didn’t put the Hunger Games on there. I would have 3 knocked out then.) (2012: I have decided to cut myself slack on this. It’s nice to have the list anyway.)
  32. Take a family vacation at least once a year. This includes leaving the city for at least three days or more with my family. (2011: Yes, we have been ON it. We even did a NYC trip this year!) (2012: went all over again! Including an amazing farm in Wisconsin!)
  33. Throw a holiday party every November or December for all of my friends. (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
  34. Stay on top of new technology as much as possible. ie OWN AN iPAD. :)
  35. Explore Illinois on small weekend car trips. (2011: want to do more of this, but have done some!) (2012: did! – see above)
  36. Think about the transition to a single family home. (2011: uhh, hello real estate market. this is going to take awhile.) (2012: Not going to happen before 40 – see note on being ‘school poor’)
  37. Think more seriously about starting my own business. (2011: uhhh, hello economy – this also might be stalled.) (2012: Not quite interested in this yet.)
  38. Evolve this blog and let it grow with me. (2011: Yes, I think I have done this. Can keep it up, though.) (2012: have been neglecting it, but I feel ok about that for now.)
  39. Continue to stay in touch with my family via Skype as much as possible. (2011: I do! Except now I call it FaceTime!) (2012: still FaceTiming as much as possible!)
  40. Continue to try to be the best me I can be. (2011 – Well, that is my biggest daily goal! Do I make it? Not always, but I’ll keep trying.) (2012 – sometimes I win, sometimes I fail, but I always try.

Next year, in addition to trying to complete this list, I am inspired by the great and wonderful Amy Guth’s life list. I don’t know if I could possibly come up with 1000 – but I think it’s a very noble goal. Let’s see what happens!!!

How did you feel when you found out you were going to be a parent? (And goodbye Storylane)

Just learned that the noble social try will be shutting down soon. This is such an intriguing time of thinking  trying, doing, failing, and trying again. Throw as much at those walls as we can! Something’s bound to stick. This is one thing that did not. But I did put a story on there a while ago that I will share here so that it still will live. Here you go!

How did you feel when you found out you were going to be a parent?


Kelly Zech

As with every other person I have ever met that is thinking of trying to start a family, I was so afraid that I would find it difficult or perhaps physically impossible to have a child. I deal with my own personal health issues, and my husband was himself adopted as a baby, and had no interest in raising an adopted child himself. This made the decision simple: either we had a child easily and naturally, or would not have children at all. When we decided it was time to start trying, I tried not to get emotional about whatever was going to happen.

It was only the first month into trying when my husband and I took a vacation to LA to see some old friends. As we had just started the process, I didn’t try to curb my bad habits while we were away. I drank like a fish, and puffed away on cigarettes. I figured I would start to get better once done with our trip. As we got to the airport to go home – I lit up a preflight smoke before we went in and said to my husband and the friend we were traveling with, “Well, this will be the last cigarette I ever smoke.” They looked at me doubtfully, as I was a dedicated smoker who had tried to quit plenty of times. But I just had a feeling that this was it. Turns out I was right.

Meanwhile, back at home in Chicago, our dear friends from Austin, Jenna and Glynn, were staying at our condo while we were away. They were 7 months pregnant at the time, and using our space for a quick ‘babymoon’ before their son was born. They gave me a call before we got on the plane, to see if they could have anything waiting for us upon our return. Without thinking, I blurted out, “I need a pregnancy test.” (Yes, I made a 7-months-pregnant lady buy me a pregnancy test. I still chuckle when I think about the cashier’s thoughts that day.)

It turns out it was worth it, though – as the test was indeed positive. My husband and I were terrified and speechless. This wasn’t supposed to happen so quickly, right? What about all of the horror stories we constantly heard about years of struggle? As ready as we both felt to ‘try’ to get pregnant – neither of us had yet come to terms with actually GETTING pregnant! Luckily we had a built in support group right in our house at the time. Jenna and Glynn had dealt with a surprise pregnancy just 7 months earlier and were able to help us get from the point of shock to the being completely thrilled rather quickly.

Fast forward to now, and our son will be 5 years old soon. I’ve learned that parenthood is seriously not for wusses. I was right to be terrified at first. But I have also discovered that it is the most thrilling and rewarding thing I have ever done. In the end, I feel so very, very fortunate that it happend for us so quickly and easily.

Spring 2013 Uniform

Who wants to know what I will be living in once the weather turns more temperate this spring? You? and You?? Ok – here it is:

spring 2013

1. I need a new carry everything tote so badly. This Salo Tote is out of my price range, but goes so well – I included it here anyway. (Antropologie)

2. These Ray-Bans are classic and I can’t believe I don’t already own them. It’s about time. (Nordstrom)

3. Flowered dresses. Normally not my style, but for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about wearing them the entire spring season! (Old Navy)

4. Bright green anything looks so amazing to me right now. These Mirrored Gem Drop Earrings are so sweet.  (Anthropologie)

5. Like I said, can’t get enough bright green right now. Call it my color crush of today. Essie’s Navigate Her will do quite nicely.

6. These just might have to be my birthday gift to myself this year. Won’t. Leave. My. Feet. (Nordstrom)