1 Cakes & Louie: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I like it

It's hit me a few times over the last week or so just how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be a part of The Everygirl. Already, I've gotten the chance to meet some of my favorite bloggers, prepped a couple of blog posts that should go up in the coming days, and perhaps best of all - made some pretty amazing "instant" friends. I've never really been one to have a ton of girlfriends - my usual laid-back, don't care about shoes and would rather go out for a burger and a beer than cocktails attitude has typically provided me with more guy-friends than girls. But as I've gotten a bit older I've learned more and more just how awesome and special a really good girlfriend is. I cherish the ones that I've got, and I'm excited for the chance to make more thanks to The Everygirl.

Not a whole lot to write about today outside of my continued excitement for what's to come with my new endeavors. Even better - today's almost-60-and-sunny weather had me in a good mood from the minute I woke up... not bad for a Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Ready to learn something about me? Here goes - I have NEVER, not once, "invested" in a piece of furniture. In other words - every single item in my home was ridiculously, insanely cheap. And, I'm pretty proud of that.

A quick rundown of a few key pieces -
- Our 8ft solid wood dining room table with 6 chairs was found on craigslist for $300. A friend that has the same set told me he paid over $1,000 for it in store.
- Our couch is from the RoomPlace Outlet and cost a whopping $200.
- Every piece of furniture in both our office and extra bedroom is from Ikea, along with the dressers in our bedroom.
- The current entryway table was $10 on craigslist.
- The coffee table (which I still need new glass for), was $20 in the as-is section at Pier 1.
- All of our kitchen appliances are from the Sears Outlet. The dishwasher, fridge, stove and microwave are all stainless steel... and cost $1,300 TOTAL. Girls I work with have spent more than that on an oven alone.
- The cabinet in the dining room that holds my platters and cookbooks was found in the alley across from my parent's house.

Get the idea?

Now while I understand that this kind of "budgeting" may not work for everyone, and eventually I assume we will have to or want to actually invest in, say, a really nice couch, for now our major deal hunting is working for us.

SO, you can imagine my excitement when I found this handy little website that allows for image-based searching on my dear friend Craigslist.

PicClick works just like the standard Craigslist site, letting you search by area, keyword and/or price, but instead of your search results being a long list of post titles that you click on individually, you simply get a  grid of pictures so you can see without any time wasted that the "Antique Table" someone is selling is actually a little kid's play table.

Apologies for this post lacking pretty pictures, but here's hoping this tool will come in handy for others that live by the "one person's trash is another's treasure" motto!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Come on in

I'm not sure what happened - maybe it was the gorgeous almost-50-degree weather, or my latest obsession with de-cluttering my life (and therefore my home), or the fact that it was a Sunday afternoon and I had nothing but time to myself - but I went on a bit of a cleaning spree yesterday and finally tackled the front porch and entryway.

How fitting, then, that today's Everygirl feature is on styling an entryway! (And I promise I didn't know that ahead of time). There are three completely different looks shown, but all three share similar compositions -

A few things that quickly jumped out at me with this feature -
1. In "shopping" for our next home, I will make it a point to check outlet placement. We have very few in our current house, which means no lamps in the entryway, no plugs on my side of our office, no outlets on the bed side of our room for lamps on the nightstands... it's a bummer!
2. A mirror can really make a space. I've already embraced this in our house to some extent, but I think it's time to add one to our entryway.
3. Some concealed storage is key! Prior to my reorganizing frenzy yesterday, we had a mug stuffed with pens and a mail tray stuffed with clutter sitting on our entryway table. Now, we have a small wooden box that holds a few pens, a phone charger, and a flashlight for easy access, and an awesome little vintage mail holder that I found at Goodwill for $3. It's amazing how much nicer the whole space looks just because the pens aren't sitting out. I also put random things like our dustbuster, humidifier filters and a couple extra umbrellas in a lidded basket that is the perfect hiding space for important items that aren't so pretty. PERFECT.
4. Plant life = necessary. I can't wait for the Farmer's Market to start up again so I can have more fresh flowers in our home!

A couple of my other favorite entryway inspiration shots come from Jenny at Little Green Notebook, who is the main reason I've embraced so much color in my home. 

Again, the same sorts of things are key here - concealed storage, a source of light, fresh flowers, a mirror. And my goodness is that teal dresser INSANE. I am in love.

I'm looking forward to perfecting our space in the near future using all of the above for further inspiration. Anyone else now planning an entryway makeover thanks to The Everygirl?

Top three photos from The Everygirl. Bottom two from Little Green Notebook.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Little Things

I've realized that on Fridays it's often the little things from the week that stick out in my head. Things I'm thankful for, things I remember, things I'd like to do over the weekend, things that made the week a little better. Here's my little things from this week -

- This article from Mashable about the Top 10 Most Followed Brands on Pinterest, found through a "Cool Reads" email at work. Also check out the Top 10 Most Followed Pinterest USERS. My Pinterest feed is thanking me for all of the new goodies I'm seeing thanks to following several of the boards from these articles.

- I have several new blogs to read, thanks to all of the fun Chicago Bloggers I met at The Everygirl kickoff get together on Wednesday! Favorites include Taylor's Curly in the City and Jen's Darling Notes.

- Speaking of Pinterest, according to my boards my colored pants obsession is clearly not going anywhere anytime soon. I plan on doing whatever it takes to find some mint green (and maybe blush pink) jeans this weekend.

- A mama colleague of mine saw my note on facebook asking for empty baby food jars so I can DIY a smaller version of the popular Anthropologie chalkboard spice jars. She brought 6 adorable little jars in for me this week that I can't wait to paint - maybe even as soon as tonight.

- I may get bold and DIY another project this weekend, in the form of Say Yes to Hoboken's super simple DIY gold toe flats. It helps that I've already been eyeing the exact pair of purple flats at Target that she used for this project, and I think I already have gold spray paint leftover from when I was a gold digger for Halloween a few years ago (thanks for that Kayne).

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I had the pleasure of attending a little get together last night in honor of The Everygirl launch. It was a little surreal to finally meet so many of the girls who write the blogs I read on a daily basis. Imagine walking into a bar, seeing someone, and already knowing they like to cook, are getting married soon, and just had a birthday... but you've never actually met them in person. That happened for me last night with Lara of Simply Irresistible, along with several other bloggers who were there. So crazy! I love how much of a community is built around blogging - specifically with young Everygirls in Chicago just like myself!

I'll likely see several of the same ladies this weekend at the West Elm + Etsy event that Alaina is curating. I've already got my eye on a couple of items from some of the sellers that will be there, and I can't wait to check it all out!

Letterpress cards by Steel Letter Press

Midewest is Best tee by Megan Lee Designs

Chicago pillow by RedBird Vintage Home

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

For Real

People. It's live. Really and truly live. For the whole world to see.

Every feature is worth reading. Every image is stunning. According to Twitter there's an Everygirl reading from a cafe in Paris as I write this. It's incredible, and the excitement around it all is contagious. 

A HUGE congrats to my new friends Danielle and Alaina, who have worked tirelessly for the last six months on top of full time jobs to bring their dream to life with The Everygirl!

Why are you still reading my boring blog? Go!! Check it out!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Everygirl - 2.22.12

Well friends, it's a big week for this little blogger here. You see, there's this website launching tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure you're going to love it. And somehow, someway, the stars aligned and I landed an internship position with the fabulous duo behind the site... which means I get to be a part of it all!

Whether she is searching for her dream job or a new city to call home;
is saving up for a down payment or a trip to Europe;
is learning to cook or speak another language,
she wants a little guidance. She wants to be inspired.
She is The Everygirl.
This is for her.

Danielle of Breakfast at Toast and Alaina of Live Creating Yourself are the brains behind this beauty, and I could not be more excited and flattered that they've asked me to join in the fun. I'll be helping with the blog, among other things, so be sure to check it out! I for one plan to devour every single ounce of the site just as soon as it's live, and seeing as I got a sneak peek of it today I can assure you it is nothing short of amazing.

Look, I even had to get a headshot for it. Fan-cy-pants. In true to me form I look good and awkward, but at least I remembered to do my nails! Although, my blingy ring finger glitter sorta just looks like I forgot to paint that nail... oh well.

Big thanks to my pal Glenn for braving the cold and heading to our office on a day off to take these photos for me today!

I'm sure I will have lots to write about as The Everygirl gets going, and I can't wait to see how it all evolves. Stay tuned - it's bound to be a good time!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Change of plans

Well, girls weekend didn't happen, thanks to me coming down with a ridiculous cold/flu kind of thing Thursday that had me miserable and in bed most of Friday. Thankfully, I already had the day off of work since I was supposed to go out of town, so I did a lot of sleeping and catching up on my DVR. Today, I'm finally feeling pretty much back to normal, and I'm heading down to the city for a meeting this afternoon. Following that, I'm getting my first ever real "headshots" done by a friend from work and I am NER-vous, to say the least. I am insanely awkward in front of the camera and usually make up for that by just making faces, but that's not going to fly this time. Here's hoping I'm able to look at least partially natural for a couple of shots. If so, maybe I'll post one here later to make up for the lack of a picture today :).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Scratch off

I was recently asked to help out with this month's happy hour at work, and jumped at the chance to lead it up. Thankfully, one of my best work friends was on the team with me, and she knows and loves Pinterest just as much as I do... which quickly led to us using our boards for party planning inspiration. Since this is our company's 18th birthday we decided on a casino theme, and thanks to Martha Stewart and Pinterest we thought it would be fun to make DIY scratch-off lotto tickets using this tutorial.

Guess what? It doesn't work. At least, not the way Martha says it does. As-is, the tutorial basically leads to paint on paper that will sort of scratch off, but will also take off part of the paper with it. Not good. But, thanks to other who have done some trial-and-error with the project, we learned that if you put some kind of gloss surface - like tape or contact paper - under the paint, it works like a charm! After running around like crazy trying to find little round glossy stickers with no luck we ended up laminating the entire project and painting our scratch-off circles over that. Perfection!!

Although I am apparently suddenly sick, I'm excited for the party this evening and can't wait to hear people's reactions to the scratch off tickets we left on their chairs bright and early this morning. And, I'm excited to add another project to my "saw it on Pinterest and actually tried it" list!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Looking forward

There are so many things coming up over the next couple of months that I absolutely cannot wait for.

2.15 - TODAY - I'm going to be an aunt!! I technically already have 2 nieces and 2 nephews now that Dan and I are married, but this will be first one where I am an aunt right from the day the little cutie is born. Eek!

2.18-2.20 - Girls weekend in Sheboygan with some of my favorite ladies. We're planning on eating a lot of food, drinking a lot of wine, and I'm sure doing a lot of talking. I'm already feeling relaxed just thinking about it!

2.22 - The Everygirl launches! I've been waiting for this since the day I heard about it... and I'm sure I'm not the only blogger that feels that way.

2.25 - West Elm + Etsy event, curated by Alaina of Live Creating Yourself. Crafty people and West Elm all in one place - kind of sounds like heaven on Earth if you ask me.

3.10 - My favorite day of the year - Forest Park St. Patrick's Day. If you don't know about this event and you're local, shoot me a note. Good times.

Who else has things they're looking forward to over the next few weeks?

(Image from a bad link on Pinterest... but I'm assuming it's a Katie Daisy design) :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day, friends! Today marks 5 and a half wonderful years since the day I finally admitted to myself what everyone else in my life already knew - Dan was (and is) the perfect guy for me. While we don't plan to continue celebrating our "dateaversary" now that we have a wedding anniversary, I think I'll always love that Valentine's Day was our "half year" mark every year before we got married.

We've never really made a huge deal about the holiday, but always use it as an excuse to go out to dinner together, and usually exchange cards. This year, I was extra excited because I got to buy a card for my husband. So crazy that we are officially husband and wife.

(Source unknown thanks to a bad Pinterest link. Sorry.)

Tonight, we're actually celebrating with two other people that I love dearly - my sister, and Bridget. We're planning to make something a little fancy for dinner at home, and I can't wait. I'm leaning towards Truffled Lobster Risotto (seriously amazing), which I made once ages ago for Dan and I and STILL crave to this day.

I hope everyone has a day filled with loving on the people who mean the most to you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Little Things

I love when little things that only take a few minutes make a difference. On Saturday I wrapped pretty scrapbook paper that I bought at a craft show years ago around a boring candle and it looked instantly better on our dresser. I'm not usually one to light candles often but this new one I got at Bath & Body Works smells SO good, and the fancy box of matches I grabbed at West Elm even makes lighting it pretty.

My pals Lauren and Tom were out in my neighborhood this afternoon and were kind enough to bring me a piece of leftover burlap from their wedding so I could knock out another little project this evening.  My dad recently gave me an old fork and knife that were wedding gifts to my late grandmother. The pieces are pretty small for silverware and didn't have any others with them, so I decided they were perfect to frame. I got a white shadowbox frame at Hobby Lobby and used adhesive glue dots to stick the pieces to the burlap. I'm not totally crazy about the finished frame on the kitchen cart, but it didn't look right hung on the wall. And speaking of the walls - don't mind the color (which I regret ever choosing)... I'm working on changing that ;)

Did anyone else tackle any projects this weekend - big or small? We also finally hung up our DIY headboard, and I loved curling up in bed with a book and leaning against it for the first time last night!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Friday!

I can't decide if I think this week went by quickly or not, but either way, I'm excited it's the weekend! We're heading out for dinner and drinks tonight to celebrate my cousin's birthday, I have a meeting tomorrow that I am super excited about, and we have a meeting on Sunday to kick off fundraising efforts for this summer's service trips.

Here's a few random things I wanted to share to end the week -

I made Noble Pig's Glazed Doughnut Muffins last night to share at work this morning, and they're currently tempting me from a few feet away on my desk.

Thanks to Danielle, I found out this morning that the very very well-missed Domino Magazine will be publishing a special edition this April! Eek!

Sydney from The Daybook posted this AMAZING scrubby outfit that I definitely plan to replicate on Sunday - I'll just ignore the fact that I'll probably look like a moron and go with it.

And since I always love a good deal - Coastal Contacts is still running their "first pair free" promotion where (with code: FIRSTPAIRFREE) you can literally get a pair of glasses for the cost of shipping. My beloved nerd glasses are from there and cost me a whopping $14, and I think I'll finally force myself to settle on another pair of frames this weekend since my father in law offered to order them for me so I can use the promo code. He's a great guy like that.

Here's a few pairs I'm thinking about. My current pair is tortoiseshell so I'm sort of leaning towards the black since they're a little more bold. What do you think?

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This will be me tonight. Get excited.

Apparently going to bed post-11pm really does a number on me sometimes. So pitiful.

PS - I received an email last night that I am pumped about, to say the very least. Details later, but in the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for this little blogger Saturday afternoon-ish, if you don't mind. Please and thanks!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I used to start my mornings off by showering in a rush, and then sitting in front of the computer going through my favorite blogs "while my hair dries" (read: the excuse I gave Dan when he tried to tell me to get a move on). I eventually learned that he was right, and I didn't (and don't) wake up nearly early enough in the mornings to putz around reading and looking at pretty pictures, so instead I now usually check out my daily reads while I eat breakfast at my desk before kicking the work day off, unless of course I'm drowning in work from the second I walk through the door. So, for anyone wondering, here's a list of some of my daily reads -

Live Creating Yourself - I don't remember how I stumbled on Alaina's blog ages ago, but I sure am glad I did! She's a fellow Chicago girl that loves chevron, a good deal, West Elm and her dogs. Match made in blog heaven.

A Lightly Charmed Life - I worked with Brooke for a couple of years before she moved on to a larger agency, and I was thrilled when I found out she was starting a blog. I especially love her book recommendations!

The Daybook - Ugh. I want all of Sydney's clothes. And her hair. And her confidence to wear whatever the heck she wants. And, I love that she's super open about her faith and doesn't hold back from sharing it. Awesome.

Subtle Revelry - I just found this one less than a week ago and I'm totally hooked. So. Many. DIY. Projects. And an online magazine. I'm in love!

Breakfast at Toast - Danielle is a good friend of Alaina's (mentioned above), so I found her blog recently when Alaina linked to it and was immediately certain that I would follow along for good. I have a dream that one day her little rescue pup and mine will be BFF's as Louie tends to adore little bitty guys like Danielle's.

Young House Love - I don't like to admit it, but I am severely jealous of John & Sherry and the fact that they started a blog about their fixer-upper house (sound familiar?) and have since then turned it into a full time job for BOTH of them and are currently working on a book. Regardless of the fact that I want their life, I absolutely adore them and all of their DIY projects.

Under the Sycamore - I'm not a mom yet, but I hope that when I am, I become just like Ashley. This women adores her 4 cute kids more than anyone I have ever seen, and she's another blogger that's open about her faith life and I love that. She's insanely crafty and is an insanely talented photographer, and her stories are always uplifting and have a positive message, which is so awesome to read on a daily basis!

There are plenty of other blogs that I check in on once in awhile, but the ones above are my top faves. Which blogs do you absolutely have to read daily?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I tried a few times this winter to get my hubby to buy a cardigan, and much to my dismay, I never quite managed to convince him. While I do understand and accept that it's just not really his style and he's more of a crewneck sweater kinda guy, this image that popped up on my Pinterest feed yesterday has me wishing otherwise simply so I could steal borrow said cardigan to knockoff this perfectly cozy outfit.

I already have items that would work in place of the rest of the outfit, and with tights and boots it would be more than warm enough for the fairly mild winter we're experiencing here in Chicago. I could be completely wrong in my assumption that the sweater is a men's piece at all, but the chunkiness makes me think that it is. Now to figure out how to get my hands on a similar one...

Monday, February 6, 2012

So Close

I'm taking a cue from Danielle, one of my favorite Chicago bloggers, and working to infuse more color into my life in 2012, mostly in the form of clothing. This weekend's color included busting out my brand new purple jeans ($14 at Forever 21 = awesome cheap find in my book!), and painting my nails Saturday morning with a fun teal and a couple coats of sparse gold glitter.

I decided to kick off this week with a new book - Has anyone ever read the book "E", by Matt Beaumont? My boss lent it to me and while I originally thought I may not like it because it is composed entirely of emails - no paragraphs of content here folks - I cracked it open on the train this morning and am already hooked. Perhaps it's because the setting is an advertising agency and I keep finding myself comparing the book's characters to people I work with, but I definitely think I'm going to enjoy it!

Did anybody else take part in any kind of Superbowl betting? I always buy a couple of squares from our office pool because it makes watching the game more interesting, and as usual I was *this close* to winning nearly every quarter and ended up with nothing. Darn those football plays I've never even heard of (2-point conversion anyone?)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Friday!

For some reason, this week has felt extra long. Today, I'm antsy at work as my sweet gramma is having (minor) surgery this morning and I am a bit anxious about it and checking my phone every 30 seconds for an update from my mom. Thankfully, my boss is awesome and I shouldn't have a problem sneaking out right at 5 to go visit and see how she's doing.

Besides visiting my gramma a couple times, our weekend is looking like it's going to be one of my very favorite kind - not a ton of plans, and lots of time with the hubby. We're heading out for my sister-in-law's birthday dinner tomorrow night and her and I are planning an Ikea trip beforehand (!!!) I'd love to grab some new breezy curtains for our bedroom but Dan has already requested something dark for lazy weekend mornings when we want to sleep in, so we'll see.

Since food seems to be on my mind constantly, I'm also hoping to get some cooking and baking in, thanks to posts around the blogosphere that I've seen this week -

Everyone knows how much I love anything involving the word "truffle", so these baked fries from Lara look right up my alley.

And these little lemon cakes baked IN the lemon not only look adorable but are bound to taste delicious.

In other news, a work friend invited me to "hair night" next week, where a stylist friend of hers does cuts and color while we all sit around and drink wine and chat. Considering I typically cut my hair maybe twice a year, I am very much looking forward to this little get together. I'm debating whether or not I should go bold and try out the popular ombre trend, a la this awesome picture Bridget posted on Pinterest. Thoughts anyone?

Have a wonderful weekend!