Friday, May 30, 2014

My Friday Five

The beautiful weather from this weekend has managed to carry over and we have had a beautiful week, which makes it that much harder to go into work everyday!  I so just want to bask in this sun and soak it all up, especially after the brutally long winter that we've had.

1|  That means it's finally outdoor patio season.  I love dining outside, which we did multiple times last weekend, and I plan on repeating often!

2| Also due to this nice weather, and getting to spend more time in the sun, I feel like I'm finally move from feeling transparent to having a little bit of a color.  There is something about a little bit of a tan that just makes you feel a thousand times better.

3| When picking up the paint for my bathroom I splurged  the $2.97 on that red item you see on the left.  Best $2.97 spent, it snaps on top of your paint can making pouring paint into the tray a breeze and it avoids all the runs and drips down the side of the can.  At the end it just pops off and rinses clean with water, and there is no paint puddled in the rim of your can when you go to close it.

4| Truth.  Due to the bathroom renovation this is what the landing outside the bathroom has looked like for longer then I care to admit.  Since most of the 'construction' part of the project is wrapping up I'm hoping that after this weekend it no longer looks this way and is back to normal.

5|  I am excited to start the 100 Happy Days challenge on Sunday, will you be joining me?

Hope everyone has enjoyed their week.  Here is to a good weekend that I plan on spending tackling yard projects and making progress in that bathroom, it's getting closer!

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

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Over the last 100 days one of my colleagues has been participated in the 100 Happy Days challenge, I have been watching her posts on instagram, wondering what this challenge was all about.  She just launched a new challenge of her own and that gave me the motivation I needed to finally check out what this 100 Happy Days challenge was all about.

Sounds simple enough, right?  All they ask is that everyday for 100 days you submit a picture of something that makes you happy.  Anything, anything at all, as long as it made you happy.

So what's up, why does this challenge exist?  100 Happy Days says it perfectly on their website,
"We live in a time when super busy schedules have become something to boast about.  While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in.  The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment, and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness for any human being."
The other amazing thing, according to, 71% of participants failed this challenge quoting lack of time.  Crazy, right?!

I love the idea of this challenge, and I would love it if anyone would like to join in on it with me.  I am going to start June 1st, so if you would also like to start June 1st we can take on these 100 Happy Days together.  Make sure to visit to get all the details and register in the challenge. If you want to follow me along on my 100 happy days I will be sharing on instagram.

Do you accept the challenge?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: Paint

With the weather warming up the progress is definitely slowing down, but it is still being made.  I have learned long ago, that that is ok.  There has to be some balance on my off time, as much as I enjoy seeing the progress being made, I also enjoy relaxing and enjoying the weather.

The bathroom is finally really looking like it is starting to come together.  I always find it so amazing what a big impact paint can make.  It is the most affordable way to completely overhaul a space in a matter of hours.  We ended up going one swatch darker on the paint cards then initially planned, as I mentioned in my last update.

Since the room is so tiny it only took a few hours and less than a quart of paint to get 2 coats up on the wall and ceiling.  I choose to use the same color everywhere since the space is so small, unlike before.  Let's remind ourselves where we started with this whole thing.

I still don't know how in the world I ever picked the paint color, it is just gross!  And you can see the sliver of white ceiling, doesn't really make sense.  Though it's still a long way from finished, it looks light years better now.

I am so glad we ended up going a swatch darker because it still looks so light in there.  I was worried with the lighter color that it would just look dingy next to the white tile, where as the Silver drop looks gray next to the tile.

Due to having the light fixture removed and the fan out I had to complete the painting with a work light, it was HOT!

After the paint had dried for the majority of the day I installed my upgraded light fixture.  Sorry for the terrible photo, since the other light in the bathroom isn't up and working yet it was hard to snap.

Here is a look at all three textures in the room, I love how everything is working together so far.

After the painting was complete Martin got to work installing our new bathroom fan.  The instructions said it should take 30 to 60 minutes to install, which was not the case at all.  Mainly because when he removed the old one he found that the duct was not attached properly at all and had to make a trip to Home Depot and replace that before getting started on the install of the new motor.  It was almost complete when this happened.

So close, but not quite.  We are in the process of patching up that corner peaking out from the fixture, and then it's just a few pieces that have to be snapped in place.  Up next, grout and a vanity makeover!

If your just joining me, catch up with my bathroom remodel:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saturday Exploring: Geneva

I don't know about you guys, but we couldn't have asked for better weather for this long weekend.  It was amazing, and definitely a nice treat.  High 70's low 80's and sunny everyday, cooling off at night, it was seriously perfect.  We had a little rain Monday evening, but that is ok by me after a weekend of more then perfect weather.

With more than perfect weather it was hard to want to spend any time inside, but I did a little bit, and there was some progress made on the bathroom (I will be back to share that tomorrow).  Living in the Chicagoland area there are so many great towns near by with quaint historic downtown areas made for strolling and exploring, and that is what we did Saturday.

On Saturday we went to Geneva, which is maybe a half an hour drive for us, not far at all.  It's a totally different feel from what we're used to, and I love that.

During this visit we spent most of our time in the historic downtown area on 3rd street eating and exploring.

We ate lunch at Fiora's, which we had never been to before, but it has this huge outdoor patio making it the perfect spot to enjoying the amazing weather.

After a nice lunch, we strolled around exploring the little shops.  3rd Street is filled with little shops in old historic buildings and houses.  This was The Paper Merchant, filled with tons of cute stationary and odds and ends.

I love wandering from room to room looking at all the little treasures.  Another favorite store was Cocoon.

It is filled with every little odd and end, from home decor, to beautiful lotions and scents to funny gifts and everything in between.

Everything was just so beautiful with how it was displayed, I could have taken it all home.

Upstairs they even used one of the bathrooms to display all of these bath products that they were selling, loved it.

After wandering through many shops we capped off the afternoon with some ice cream from Graham's, which was delicious.

All in all it was a nice relaxing afternoon out and about, though there were a few sore feet after all of the walking that we did!  Did you do any exploring this weekend?  Hope your weather was as great as ours!

Friday, May 23, 2014

My Friday Five

Happy Friday!  I have SO been looking forward to this Holiday weekend and am happy it is almost here.  I have to go into work for about an hour Saturday morning, and then it will officially be weekend time.

1| The time finally came to trade in my (well it really wasn't mine anymore, as my husband was now driving it) car that I have had nearly my entire adult life.  For some reason this transition has made me feel like we're more "official" adults now that we have shopped for and purchased both of the cars we are currently using, instead of using my trusty car that my dad picked out for me nearly 12 years ago!

2| On our way back from getting our new (to us) car on Monday we stopped off for dinner in Lombard, somewhere we don't frequent, and ate at The D.O.C. Wine Bar.  It was just a place we picked by driving by, and we are glad we did!  It was this cute little wine bar, and as a bonus all bottles of wine were 50% off on Monday.  Plus the food was great, you may have spotted our appetizer on my instagram Monday evening.

3|  Something I've really been trying to focus on lately is how to better manage my stress.  I have a tendency to get stressed out pretty often, especially with the fast paced environment of my career.  This showed up in my e-mail this week and I took it as a sign that I seriously need to focus on becoming more stress free!

The original 17 Reasons To Avoid Stress infographic can be found at .

4| This popped up in my Pinterest feed and is exactly how I feel when trying to manage my stress fails!  And let's be honest, many other times too!

5| I feel like this holiday weekend deserved a slot all of it's own.  It means a short work week for me this week (since my week is Tuesday-Saturday), and extra long weekend, and hopefully some great weather, time with friends, relaxing, and most likely eating to much!

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend to the fullest, see you on Tuesday!

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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Day Job

I've found throughout my years of being an avid blog reader one of the things that most piques my interest is what people do as a career.  Many are fortunate enough to be full time bloggers, which I think is amazing, but I know there is quite a handful that blog on the side of a full time or part time career that they have.

Sometimes what they do is often incorporated into their writing, and sometimes it is impossible to come by.  Perhaps it is just timing and I missed it, but I am curious.  I am always curious about what people do, I think it gives you a little insight into them.

So I figured since I am so curious about what other people do, I should share a little bit about what I do.  You may have heard me mention here and there before that I am a ballroom dancer.  It's funny that I say it is my day job because daily you will find me working late into the night.

It always feels weird to me to say I am a ballroom dancer, it feels better suited to say I have a career in ballroom dance.  The images above, while a fun and glamorous part of the job, are about 1% of my career.  I spend 99% of my time helping others, and that is why I do what I do.

Most people hear ballroom dancing and images of Dancing With The Stars come to mind.  While I am grateful to that show for spreading the popularity of ballroom dancing, it looks nothing like what I do on a day to day basis.  Everyday I get dressed up, just like you would if you were going to the office, and head into the studio for a busy day revolving around music, dance instructors, and students.  We interact with every type and kind of person out there and help them to do a multitude of things like preparing for their wedding, getting in shape, checking an item off their bucket list, meeting new people, enhancing their relationships, and really so much more.  My favorite is when people say "Oh, so you just dance around all day?"  Yeah, not so much.

I am at the point in my career where I am helping to run a studio, which is a good challenge and a constant learning experience.  It is amazing to me how fast every day flies by, literally so fast I don't even understand.  The good thing is that I am always busy, the bad thing is that I am always busy!

I know I have just shared with you a glimpse into what I do, because there are so many facets to this career, I had to start somewhere!  Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the girl behind the blog!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: Easy Lighting Upgrade

I'm back today to share a quick and easy update I made on our bathroom lighting situation.  The lighting was something that had been replaced in phase 1 of the bathroom update a few years ago, the fixture was a great find at around $40.

Really who can complain, it has nice lines, an oil rubbed bronze finish all for a relatively cheap price point.  But due to the new lighter airier colors that were going in the bathroom I just wasn't so sure that oil rubbed bronze was the right fit for the room.

I have already gone with brushed nickel for the shower hardware, so I was thinking that would be the best choice for the rest of the fixtures as well.  Since the light was relatively new, and in great condition, I choose to shell out $6 for a can of spray paint, versus $40+ for a new light fixture.  Worse case scenario, I'd have to buy a new light fixture - I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try.

I took my light fixture down, after switching off the power of course.  It was easy, just a few screws to undo and a few wires to unattach.  Then it went out to the garage to receive it's brushed nickel look.

I removed the glass shades and taped off the electrical sockets so they would be protected from the spray paint.  I keep a few pieces of scrap wood around the prop up anything that I am spray painting, I think it makes it a little bit easier to get full clean coverage on the sides.

The key with spray paint is always multiple thin and even coats.  That way you avoid drips and puddles and come out with a nice smooth finish.  The good thing is you don't have to wait long between coats, so it really Don't take that long to do.

Ta da, a new light in a matter of minutes, awesome!  I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first as to how it would turn out looking, I was afraid that it was just going to look to much like I just painted it.  It looks like it could have come that way, just what I wanted.

I can't wait to get the room painted this weekend and get the 'new' light back up on the wall, I think it's going to look nice with the paint color I've selected.

If your just joining me, catch up with my bathroom remodel:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: Decisions

I will be the first to admit that the nice weather this last weekend got the best of me and I did not spend as much time in the bathroom as I would have liked.  But that doesn't mean that progress wasn't being made.

On Sunday we did some shopping for the bathroom, decisions were being made!  We hit about 4 different home improvement stores checking out the bathroom vanity and counter top options.  Don't be fooled if you think this was the first time we were doing this, remember I have been dreaming of this bathroom renovation for about a year.  It's not that what we had was in bad shape, in fact I had replaced the vanity and counter top during my phase 1 update about 4 years ago, I just wasn't in love with it.

My original plan was to reuse the vanity we had along with a new top.  I wanted to hit all the stores one more time to make sure there wasn't a great deal for a vanity set that fit the space, I was weighing my time/cost options.  Well I didn't find any that fit the bill, so the decision has been made.  I am going to re use our old vanity, but it will be getting a new paint color along with a new top.

I am going to be using the same color I used on our TV stand in the living room, Behr's Dusty Mountain.

While out on Sunday we also picked up a new bathroom fan/light combo, can't wait for this to go in.  Seriously who would have ever thought I would be excited about a bathroom fan?!

We also got the paint for the room, and ended up with a slight change of plans.  Originally I was going to use the same color I had in the office, but decided to go one swatch down on the paint card for a little more impact.

On Monday I spent way too long picking these little tile spacers out from the floor and shower walls.

My hands were raw!  There are still a few stubborn ones I have to go back with pliers to remove.  This was one of those things were I thought "Oh this won't take long", I should know better by know to never think that.

I took down the old bathroom fan, and the light since they are both getting an upgrade.  I also got the room all wiped down and prepped for paint, yay! 

It may not look like much, but it's something!  I will be back tomorrow with our easy lighting upgrade, Happy Tuesday!

If your just joining me, catch up with my bathroom remodel:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Everyday Elegance: What I Wore

I am so loving this weather we are finally getting.  After what felt like 2 solid weeks of rain the weekends have been filled with warmth and sunshine.  I am totally loving my green military jacket from Old Navy for this weather, I was on the fence about purchasing it but am so glad I did, I was wearing it all weekend.

Here's what I wore out Saturday night for a casual get together with some friends.

You may start to notice I kinda love brand name/designer pieces, but I will never pay full price for them.  If you think I am over exaggerating, not even close!  My go to for my Joe's Jeans is Nordstrom Rack or Off Saks, and now they recently opened a Joe's Jeans outlet close to me which is dangerous!  They are my go to jeans, mostly because they don't feel like jeans.  They are so stretchy and soft, love them!

I'd had my eye out for a Michael Kors iphone wristlet for a while, stalking some of the flash sale sights but never placed the order.  One shopping day I spotted this one at Ross Dress for Less for $40, score!  I love this thing, I carry it with me everywhere.  It holds my phone and cards and I can just drop it in my larger work bag.  I would definitely pay more for another fun color given how much I love this one, and how much I don't expect to score such a great deal twice on the same piece!

I have been on a flats kick lately, with a mission to find cute AND comfortable ones.  These definitely fit the bill, and I love the antique gold color of them.  They were a Bloomingdale's Outlet find for me, and now they are on Clearance at Lord & Taylor for pretty much the same price I paid for them.

Do you have a favorite place to score your favorite looks for less?  Please share, because clearly I love to shop have a shopping problem!

Jeans| Joe's Jeans
Shoes| BCBG
Jacket| Old Navy
Wristlet| Michael Kors

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Friday Five

It was one of those weeks where, are you sure it's not Friday yet?  And then, seriously it's Friday already?  How does that happen, the week feels so slow yet there is no way I got enough stuff done that it just actually occupied 5 days.  Friday means another weekend is on it's way and I will take it!

1|  Last Sunday was amazing.  I honestly had grand plans, a trip to the home improvement store, bathroom tiling to be done, hey maybe even some painting.  And Martin and I did nothing.  Seriously nothing.  We were home to the couch all day.  We caught up on shows, took naps, and did nothing.  I can't even remember the last time I did that.  I did feel a little guilty at the time, but it was so worth it!

2| I was at Marshall's and turned the corner to find the best selection of stationary and notebooks.  I must have hit it just right because it was freshly stocked and so pretty!  I don't know my obsession with stationary, I am always buying more.  I don't even use it enough to justify the amount I buy, there is just something about it that I love.

3| My daily alarm clocks, Max and Charlie.  I finally caught them on camera.  Without fail, everyday Max (on the right) is sitting on my headboard above my head (I took this picture while laying in bed looking up) and Charlie is on my bedside table.  They are just perched waiting for me to get up, to feed them!

4| I am IN LOVE with my new bathroom floor.  Every time I walk by it I check it out.  I can not wait to see what it looks like with some grout added in.

5| This week has been the perfect week to sleep with the windows open, which I love.  It's a little chilly, but then you can burrow down in the blankets - it's the best sleep!

Hope you had a good week, and here is to an even better weekend!

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Workout Buddy

I don't know about you, but I am very driven with the results of my workout.  The time spent, calories burned, miles conquered.  It's my way to measure if I did more then last time, went further, or burned more.  It helps to keep me pushing for better results, because otherwise I am just going against what is in my head - and let me tell you I can justify anything that goes on in there in a heartbeat!

I have used heart rate monitors on and off through out the years in my workouts.  I recently (i just realized that I now consider anything in the last 6 months recent, time flies by too quickly) started using the Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Sensor, and it has been my favorite heart rate monitor I have ever used.  I had it on my Christmas wish list and was psyched to start using it when my sister got it for me.

It's a sensor on a strap that goes around your chest.  What I like the most about this heart rate sensor is that it pairs with an app on your smart phone, versus a watch.  All of the ones I have used in the past have paired to watches, and I never knew what was what or if my settings were correct.  The app has to be my favorite part, as well as with this sensor you can easily see with the app where the battery life is and it is easily replaceable.  With my past straps the sensor was integrated, and when the battery died you had to either buy a whole new strap, or send it in to Polar to get the battery replaced.

I'm sure I have yet to maximize the use of the Polar Beat app.  I just use the free app (they have upgrades available) but I think even the free app has so many great features, and is easy to use.

The main page of the app keeps track of your workouts and miles logged so far this week.  It also lets you set your workout target, it could be miles you want to accomplish, a calorie goal, or free training which means it will just track your progress until you are finished.  You can also select the activity you are tracking from outdoor running, to treadmill, to weight lifting, or even many others.

Each workout has a summary page, letting you know your distance, calories burned, and average heart rate for that workout.  But they take it even further and you can check out the amount of time spent in your different heart rate zones, as well as other details.

My favorite thing about this app are the details it provides for outdoor running.

Not only does it keep track of your path and your distance, but so much more.  While you are running it will chime in with the mile mark that you are on, your time, and your average heart rate.  When you are done you can glance back at your run and it will tell you your speed and heart rate along the entire path that you ran, I am amazed that it can give you all of those details.  I think it is so cool.

I think it would probably be even cooler if I was actually training for something.  But honestly I just use it to motivate and track myself.  I do better if I am accountable to something, even if it is just opening up my app to see that I have only completed 1 workout this week, when it should read 4!

How do you hold yourself accountable for your workouts, do you have any favorite gadgets you use?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bathroom Remodel: Floor Tile

I have been so looking forward to this stage of the bathroom renovation.  It was weeks ago that I thought the floor was going to see tile, perhaps I was being a little ambitious underestimating the amount of time it would take to tile an entire shower with subway tiles.  But the time has finally come for the beautiful tile that I picked out 9 months ago to make it's debut, yes 9 months - I came across the receipt tucked into the boxes as I was tiling.  I knew it had been months, I didn't think it had been that many!

We found this tile at HOBO (Home Owners Bargain Outlet), it is one of those places that carry deals and overstocks.  I was just praying we had the right amount of tile, because I knew that after 9 months, there would be no going back for more.  Of course I had measured, and bought extra over my measurement.  I just don't always trust my measurement.

The tile has a wood grain in a weathered gray color, I absolutely love it!  The bonus, it was only $1.69 a square foot.

The nice part was after working with the tiny subway tiles, these large 8'' x 24'' tiles went in easily and quickly.  I used 1/8'' spacers, just like on the shower.

I installed it just like I would with a hardwood or laminate floor, staggering the "joints", or in this case grout lines.

I got all of this laid in about 3 hours, which felt like a great accomplishment.  And I was working solo, which mean making trips up and down stairs to cut the tiles.  There is still a little bit to go, filling in around the toilet, and a sliver along the back wall.

It is still such a work in progress, but it has already come so far from where it started.  Check out the before, and where we are now.

So much better.  I can not wait to get some paint up on these walls!  That is the next mission, that is once all the little tiles have been filled in around the toilet and back wall, as well as the few to finish off where the shower wall meets the floor.  Can't wait!

If your just joining me, catch up with my bathroom remodel: