Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Everyday Elegance: Summer Shorts

I know it's not officially summer yet, let alone spring.  But seasons are starting to change which always makes me want to go out and do some shopping to update my wardrobe.  Since the fashion industry is always at least a season ahead we are already seeing great pieces for summer out and about, which got my onto shorts - that, and I wouldn't mind getting to wear them soon!

There was a time in my life where shorts did not exist in my wardrobe.  I refused to wear them for many years, ok most of my 20's actually.  I think it was because I was at that age where everyone was wearing really  short shorts and I couldn't stand wearing them, I felt ridiculous.  They were tight, and always riding up even more - if that was even possible.

I've started to add shorts back into my wardrobe the last few years, and as long as they fit right, I actually quite like  them.   There are so many fun patterns and colors out there this season I thought I would round up a few of my favorite.

I would love to add the white eyelet pair from Gap and the patterned track shorts from Victoria's Secret to my collection.  I always find that Old Navy is a great place to find fun colors and patterns for cheap, which is good if you aren't 100% sold on loving shorts.

How about you, will you be wearing shorts this summer?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: Tile!

Ok, I know it has been a bit since you've witnessed any progress made on the bathroom.  I blame that mainly on our warm weekend getaway last week, but really I'm not complaining.  That getaway was severely needed, and we were back to work on the bathroom this past weekend.

If you follow along on instagram you saw this sneak peak.

I was so excited for tile to finally start going in.  As always my ambitions were a lot larger then what was actually do able.  I would have loved to see floor tile start to go down this past weekend, but we are not even close to that yet.

Last I left you we had a bathroom fully clad in new drywall and cement board.

Next is my least favorite step of the whole make over process.  Taping and mudding, and sanding, and mudding, and sanding, and mudding some more. . . you get the picture.

Our walls look like a war zone.  Not only were there the seems as well as the screws, there were tons of bumps and craters in the wall.  We tried to skim all uneven areas, we'll see once the paint goes up if that paid off or not.  Even though the drywall is not complete, the mud needed 24 hours to dry, so it was time to start on the tile.

I spent most of the weekend in my new bathtub, unfortunately it looked like this.

I can not wait until I get to use this thing!  It is seriously deep and I am very excited about that.  Anyways, back to the tile.  We went with white subway tile, keeping it simple and classic.  I actually enjoy tiling, it really isn't that difficult at all.  Spread, notch, place, and space.  Onto the next piece.  We decided to go with 1/8'' grout lines, using the little plastic spacers to keep everything nice and even throughout the process.

The only draw back to the tile we chose is that it is small, and the area we are covering is a good size, making this part quite time consuming.  But I can't complain because you can start to see it coming together, and that is the most exciting part!

I can not wait for the floor tiles to go down.  They have been sitting in our garage for more months then I can count.  I loved the tile when I bought it and I can't wait to see what it looks like in the room.

Next on the agenda, I need to figure out the vanity situation.  I'm thinking I am going to give the old one a fresh coat of paint and a new top, but I have one more store to check out before that is a definite.  If only there were more days in the week!

Monday, April 28, 2014

New Blog Design!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend, I am still in the middle of mine - as well as in the middle of enjoying all the things I had to look forward to!

When I started this blog I had no idea what I was doing, in fact I still really don't.  But I mean especially in terms of creating a page, and anything "code" related.  Google has been a great source, but when I discovered you could get great cute blogger templates on Etsy for not much $$ at all, I knew I wanted to upgrade my "orignal" design.

There are so many beautiful templates out there, pages and pages and pages of them.  I'm sure I'm late to the party and everyone already knew about these, but I sure as heck didn't!

I found myself checking the bottom of everyone's blog to see where their template came from and then looking up the designers, trying to find my favorite.  Recently Becky at Made in the Shade made over her blog and I absolutely loved it, so of course I searched the designer and fell in love with her designs.

She has no idea I am writing this, but Leanne at Brand Me Beautiful has such a great selection of templates.

I knew I wanted to go with one of her designs.  She has so many cute ones it was hard to decide which one I wanted!  Once I decided she was great to work with, thanks Leanne!

I am excited for my little blog make over!  I know there are a few tweaks to work out, but mostly because I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to this stuff.  Just trying to figure it out as I go!  Hope you like the new look!

Friday, April 25, 2014

My Friday Five

I decided  to do something a little different this Friday.  Usually on Friday's I highlight moments from the week, but I have to admit this week has been a little blah for me, and that's putting it nicely!  So I thought today I would go with 5 things I am looking forward to this weekend.  Why not put a positive spin on it because really who doesn't love the weekend?!

Have you entered the giveaway yet?!  Make sure you do for the chance to win some cash!

Linking up with: the lauren elizabeth | the ladies at Five on Friday | the diary of a real housewife

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brining Elegance to the Garage: Possible?

Ok, so I know we are in the middle of the bathroom renovation.  Which after a weekend off due to our little getaway I am super excited to get back to this weekend.  In the mean time, my mind has already been rolling with the next project on my never ending to do list.  The garage. 

It is an utter disaster.  Especially right now as we work on the bathroom and it has become an ultimate dumping ground for everything!  We have a decent size 2 car garage and once we wrap up the bathroom renovation I can not wait to get to work on it.  Don't worry, there will be before pictures!

This is what I have in store. . .

1. Insulating the Garage


2. Creating Vertical Storage


3. Peg Boards


4. Hanging Storage


Hopefully with all of these storage zones it will help us have designated places  for everything making it easier to keep it tidy and organized.  Every spring we usually tidy up the garage and do a little clean up, and by the end of the summer it is an utter disaster.  I declare no longer!

What projects are you gearing up for this spring?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Escape to Warm Weather

Rewind to about a month ago.  It was the end of March, there was absolutely no hope of spring in the near future.  We had one of the worst winters Chicago has seen in forever.  I was headed into month 6 of sporting my winter jacket.  I'd had enough, and it was then that I decided that Martin and I desperately needed a warm weather getaway.

I definitely over analyze the planning of these things, mostly because I just want to make sure I make the best possible choice.  So I hit up all of my favorite travel sites searching for any and all warm weather deals.  After a few, ok several days of searching I settled on Scottsdale as a destination.  From the beginning we knew this vacation served two purposes, warmth and relaxation.  We wanted to go somewhere nice, but somewhere that we wouldn't feel guilty for not being 'good' tourists and exploring what the area had to offer.  This fit the bill perfectly.

View off our hotel floor over looking The Talking Stick Golf Course
We stayed at The Talking Stick Resort.  I didn't know anything about it before booking, except for the reviews I read online and that it was significantly less pricey then the other resorts in the area.  We paid a little more for our room to stay on their Club Level which included their Club lounge open in the morning for breakfast and in the evening for snacks and drinks.  We really liked the hotel, and I think the lounge was my husbands favorite part of the whole trip!  They had these cute little bottles of champagne, it was great!

I would say we definitely accomplished our mission of warmth and relaxation.  The weather was great, in or nearing 90 everyday.  The first day was pretty overcast, we attempted the pool, but eventually just resorted to one of the hotels outdoor lounging areas to relax and do some reading.  The rest of our trip was bright and sunny and spent poolside!

We did venture out from the hotel some, though it was mostly eating related.  One of the local places we tried, the Tortilla Factory, had the most awesome outdoor dining patio.

It was huge and it had lights strung all over.  Not to mention the temperature at night was absolutely perfect. 

They had some of the best margaritas, we love our Mexican food!

 All in all the trip was exactly what we needed!  It was so nice to not wear a jacket for several days in a row, and to get a little color in my skin - seriously I was beyond the point of pale and starting to become transparent!  I love that this blog helps me to document our journeys and adventures, before I was never the one to be snapping photos.  It just never crossed my mind, until after the fact, like way after the fact - you know months later when you're like "I wish I had some pictures from. . .".  I don't have many, and they may not be the greatest, but one thing is for sure.  They are better than the ones that I don't have!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My First Giveaway!

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  Today is back to reality after a great long weekend of warmth and sunshine.  I plan to be back tomorrow with a few details from our getaway to Arizona this past weekend, but in the mean time I have a great giveaway for you all!

This is the first giveaway I have had a chance to be a part of and am excited to share it with you!  It is no secret that I like to shop, in fact I often consider it my therapy - I'm hoping that I am not the only one who does this.  With spring making an appearance it is always nice to freshen up your fitness routine and get re-motivated.  Nothing does that better than adding a new gadget or fresh attire.

The great thing about this giveaway is that it is cash, $130 cash, so you can buy whatever you desire, fitness related or not!

The host of this great giveaway, Karli @ September FARM, has put together her workout wish list.  If you're wondering what great things you could spend your winnings on, check out some great items below.

source | ipod // fuel band // leggings // water bottle // shoes

Make sure to also check out all of the wonderful ladies who've brought you this great fitness-inspired giveaway. 

ashlen | aimee | karli | amy
natalia | dollie | enjoy essential | libby
brooke | meagan | felicia | noelle
Show some blog love and get busy on your entries. there are quite a few!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Friday Five

This was an awesome week, it was only two days long for me!  this is the most excited I have been for a weekend in a long time, and it's a long weekend!  Martin and I are on our warm weather weekend getaway to Scottsdale.  Here is a little look back at this week. . .

1| Last Saturday was so gorgeous out! Granted I had to work all day, and it wasn't exactly sunny, but it was nearly 80 out!  And when Martin and I went for dinner it was still 75 despite the sun having gone down.  We tried a new to us place and they had a great patio with this awesome fire going, we will have to be visiting that patio again!

2| The stars must have aligned because I found the Joe's jeans white skinnies from my spring wish list at Nordstrom Rack, AND I had a gift card so double score!

3| I was gifted the perfect polish color, dim sum plum.  I finally treated myself to a long over due pedicure so I could have sandle worthy toes for this weekend!

4| Am I the only one that thinks Easter is the holiday with the best candy? I have gotten better at controlling myself but these Sweet Tart jelly beans are the best! If you have a sweet tooth and haven't tried them, you definitely should!

5| Martin and I arrived to beautiful, nearly 90 degree weather in Scottsdale.  After our frigid Chicago winter this weekend is exactly what we need.

I hope that everyone has a nice Easter and great weekend.  I am going to be taking an extra long weekend so I will be back on Tuesday with an update on our weekend adventures!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Cooking: Chia Pudding

I don't even feel like this recipe can be classified under 'easy cooking', because it's not even cooking.  It's just mixing a few ingredients together, and letting it sit over night!  I just throw everything together before bed, and it is ready in the morning for a great light, yet filling breakfast.

Chia seeds are a great super food.  I always hear that term thrown around, but just discovered that super food means that the food delivers the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories.  Who knew?  Clearly not me!  Chia seeds contain protein, fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, and more.  I'll take all of that from a little seed!

Chia Pudding
  • 2 Tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (or other milk)
  • a drizzle of agave nectar
  • a splash of vanilla extract
Mix everything together and refrigerate overnight, or for several hours. I add in agave nectar and vanilla, but really you can add in anything at all!  The chia seeds absorb the milk creating an almost gel like consistency.  Do you include chia seeds in your diet? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Elegance Obsession: Mint

The other day I was out doing some shopping and the color mint was popping up all over the place.  I found my self really liking it though fortunately  I controlled myself and only came home with one mint top.  Can't say I won't be adding any more though!  What do you think of this color trend?

Necklace | Earrings | Dress | Shirt | Wristlet | Skirt | Earrings | Shirt

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My DIY Go To Sources

I love taking on DIY projects, in case you couldn't tell with my current bathroom renovation.  I often get asked "How do you know how to do all this stuff?"  My most common answer is "I don't", or at least "I didn't" not until I decided to start diving in!  It mostly started out of necessity when I was a 20 something homeowner, if I wanted to do renovations on the budget I had, that meant doing them myself.  Once I started doing them I learned that I really liked it.  It is so satisfying to create a vision, put in the work, and see it all start to come together.

The internet is my biggest resource when tackling a new project.  If it is going to require a new skill that I haven't done before I always make sure to read up on it first.  I'm not a big video watcher, I'd much prefer to read articles, forums, and step by step instructions.  I thought I would share with you my top 3 internet resources I use for DIY research and knowledge.
All 3 are great, I can't say I prefer one over another.  Often I will cross reference on multiple sites since everyone delivers the information differently, or has different thoughts on how it should be executed.  I gather all the information and then decide what would be best for our project.

If you aren't a DIY'er yet, don't be afraid to give it a try!  Use these sites to help get you started, or use me - I'd be happy to advise (warning: I am no expert)!  What's your next DIY project to tackle? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Update: Bathroom Progress

I'll be the first to admit that my goals for yesterday were pretty ambitious.  I thought we would get the cement board and drywall hung, and on to tiling!  Lets just say that first step was way more time consuming than anticipated, and the tile is still sitting in its boxes.  I am not disappointed though, there were no major set backs or errors, it was just a timely process.

The first thing we did yesterday was get the tub secured into all of the studs.  I have to admit I was nervous about this one, driving screws through our brand new tub.  But that is what the instructions said, so that is what we did.  It turned out fine, but I had imagined driving a screw in and watching it crack all the way down the tub.

Next we got all of the walls prepared for the cement board and drywall.  There were a few odd nails and jagged corners.  We had to remove a piece of the door trim to smooth out one of the corners, and below it I found a remnant of the wallpaper that had once covered the bathroom.  I had removed it a few years ago, it was the hardest wallpaper to remove ever!

That piece dosen't show much, but it was straight out of the 80's, not my cup of tea.  Anyways, after that discovery we finished cleaning up the walls and got to work with the installation of the cement board and green board.

This part is pretty straight forward.  Measure your space, cut your pieces, screw in place.  It's just time consuming because you are working with big pieces that take time to cut, especially with the cement board.  But with that being said, it was better than I expected it to be.  This was our first time working with cement board and I really thought it was going to be really tough to cut to size and lug into place.  Ours claimed to be a lightweight version, so I am sure that helped in making it easier.

We started on the back wall, and worked our way around both sides.  It was a little more challenging getting the right fit in all the angles and around all the fixtures, but in the end it turned out pretty good.

Now for a little side by side to see the progress we have made over the last few weeks.  It's amazing what a a difference hanging some drywall can make, it finally feels like progress!

Every time I look at that paint color, I can't figure out how I ever picked it out.  I hate it!  Good thing it will be going soon!  The next update will definitely be including some tile.  I was thinking of tiling all the way up to the ceiling, but I'm not sold.  Should I just take the tile to where it was before?  All the way to the ceiling?  Do I do the little patch of ceiling that is above the shower too?  Any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Friday Five

It's Friday!  I'm excited for this weekend because I fully plan on devoting it to making some great progress on our bathroom renovation.  I can't wait to see it finally start being put together!  I am also excited because this time next week Martin and I will be hanging out in some warm weather, can't wait!

Here are my top moments this week. . .

1| There not only is a bathtub in my bathroom, it is in the right place AND the drain is hooked up.  Success! (at least I think so, I am slightly terrified to see what actually happens when we try to use it, but that is for another day!)

2| The lovely Lindsey @ My Vintage Window nominated me for a Liebster Award.  It was really cool to feel like other people that I don't actually know actually do read my blog!  It was also really fun to participate in, and be able to pass it along to others.

3| I saw this ecard on Pinterest, this is me all the time!

4| I took an awesome hot yoga class this week.  I haven't been to one in years, and I was just feeling like my body needed it.  It couldn't have been more perfect for what I was needing in the moment.  The instructor, Joy, was so great!

5| So excited for Mad Men to start on Sunday, definitely bummed it is the last season!

How was your week?  I love that it finally feels like Spring has arrived.  If you've seen Chicago's forecast for Monday, don't even get me started! If you want to catch any sneak peaks of bathroom progress this weekend make sure to follow me on Instagram or Facebook.  I'll be back with the full update next week.  Have a good weekend!