1 Cakes & Louie: August 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wedding Week

While I didn't do the best job of recapping my entire wedding on my wedding blog, with our 1st anniversary right around the corner (!!!) I've decided that it's about darned time I do something to showoff all the pretty details I'm so proud of. Like our DIY bouquets (mine is pictured above).

SO, I'm going to have a wedding week right here on my little blog. It seems like it's sort of the thing to do in the blogosphere, and what better time to re-live all the awesome moments than our anniversary!

Our anniversary is on a Monday - September 24 - which will be perfect timing for what I'm hoping will be a full week of posts with lots of pictures. I'm excited already!

photo by studio6.23

Hello, Beautiful

Four gorgeous sets of these babies showed up at work for me yesterday.

Be still my heart. Honestly. They're more amazing in person than I thought they would be, and I may or may not have squealed and toted a fork and a spoon around the office to show all my girlfriends.

When I saw these sets show up on One Kings Lane a couple weeks ago, I immediately checked my bank account, shot an email over to my work pal that understands things like why I would HAVE to have gold flatware, and IM'd the hubs to tell him I may or may not be buying myself a birthday present. I'm nothing if I'm not thorough. Knowing that there's a similar product available at West Elm that I've been oogling for months, I figured that if I didn't get in on on the One Kings Lane sale I would always have a backup. But then I went back online to stare at them again, saw that the available quantity had dwindled to a measly four sets, panicked, and within minutes I was on the checkout page furiously typing in my credit card number. For $15 a set it was a little more than typically-frugal me would usually spend on something so unnecessary, but I am so so glad I decided to splurge a little. They're the perfect matte finish and are bound to look absolutely perfect set on the table with our white dishes, navy placemats and brand spanking new candlesticks that I finally grabbed the last time I was at Ikea. I'm feeling fancy, people!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Work in Progress

It's been awhile since I've posted any progress on our kitchen makeover, and I realized I had a fun "almost done" Instagram picture up on my Facebook that I could swipe to share over here!


Isn't it preeeeetty?? I am in love, and it's not even finished yet!

Here's where we're at -
- Obviously, the cabinet doors are missing. We ended up doing the cabinet sanding and painting ourselves (not happy about this, but also not as big of a pain as I was anticipating), and decided that getting the framing done and being able to put everything away was our main priority. So, the doors are currently stacked up in the garage waiting to be done - hopefully we'll make some major progress on them this week!

- The contractor still needs to come back and do SOMETHING with the new chunk of floor, which you can see in front of the fridge above. Whatever it is he did with it thus far isn't satisfactory to us at all, so more work will need to be done. Again, not happy about this, and I will honestly cry if it makes a big mess again... but hopefully it won't be too big of a disaster.

- A water line for the ice maker in the freezer still has to be put in. Yet again, not happy about this. Buddy Louie loves ice cubes, so he's probably not too happy about it either.

- We haven't started looking too seriously yet, and will need to look over our budget before buying anything, but a tile backsplash is definitely coming. Given the awesome but slightly busy marbling of the granite, I'm thinking we'll end up with some nice and simple white subway tile. We'll also be DIY-ing this... so fingers crossed it's not an insanely difficult project. I'm already looking forward to the finished product!

- Our current track lighting should technically be extended so the fridge and tall cabinet in the corner aren't so shadowed and dark. This will most likely be something we do down the line, but it's at the bottom of the priority list for now.

- You can't see it here, but I still have to get a new window treatment of some sort. As I noted to Dan last night "I am OVER plastic mini-blinds". Gross.

- I still have to decorate a little! But, I consider this fun, so no complaints here. We ended up not using a pot rack (it crowded the space too much), so I need some artwork of some sort for over the kitchen cart, and I am 85% sure I still want to DIY a big long chalkboard in the little nook. Also to come somewhere down the line - hardware for the cabinets. That is, if I can ever settle on what I want.

While there's still a lot of work to do, the good news is that the first floor of our house is nearly back to normal, and we can happily start cooking meals at home again and enjoying them in the dining room!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Big 3-0

Well, I can no longer say I am in my 20's. And I'm officially at the age where everyone I've ever known swears I'll start to appreciate the fact that I look a solid 6-8 years younger than I am on any given day. We'll see!

I spent my birthday weekend camping with my best friends in Dixon, Illinois for a day-long music fest put together by one of my favorites - Mumford & Sons. With a new album coming out in September we were treated to several new songs, and lots of old favorites that we sang along to with 15,000 other fans. We spent the mornings hanging out by our tent with drinks and snacks making friends and spent the evenings strolling around downtown Dixon. All in all, it was a great weekend, and given that I am still exhausted, I would say that's a sign of a good time.

Top: Downtown Dixon; Personalized mustache flasks from Bridget and Aris
Middle: The coolest t-shirts on the face of the planet that broadcasted my birthday (on the back) to the world and made for lots of fun conversations throughout the day with total strangers; More flask fun
Bottom: Signage at the concert site (I loved the graphics for the entire weekend); Late night encore from "The Very Best", who really were the very best, along with members of several of the other bands

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Today marks 6 years since the first official date Dan and I went on. For the last several years, we've celebrated today as our anniversary. This year, I'm excited that we have a new anniversary to celebrate coming up in September (can't believe we've been married for almost a year already!), so we're not planning anything for our date-iversary anymore. Regardless, here's what I noted on Dan's facebook wall today:

.    .    .
Six years ago today you took me to a casino with your parents for our first official "date". I will never forget scrambling at the mall with Bridget still unshowered from HRT and trying to find something to wear, and getting back to my car to find a note from you saying what time you would pick me up. I will never forget your dad giving me a $20 for my first pull on a slot machine. I will never forget watching Elf later that night. And I will never forget how absolutely lucky and grateful I am that you waited 9 months for me to actually say "yes" to that first date. 
.    .    .

Cakes - I love you more than I can ever explain. Thanks for being my better half.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

When it comes to health

I am in love with this image. Absolutely, positively in love. And I just fell a little deeper even when I dragged it to my desktop and it automatically saved as "watch-her-run.jpeg". Better than any image of a super skinny model in a bikini, this image has been pure inspiration for me since I saw it a few days ago.

I've talked about my health here in the past, and truth be told, I've done next to nothing about it since that first post. It's unfortunate that things often have to get really dire for me to actually make a change, but that's how I work and for the most part, I haven't steered myself too wrong in the past. Anyways, with my health that's kind of how it's going right now. I'm not doing well. I've been to doctors more times than I can count in the last few months and have gotten so many blood tests done that I have literally had a bruise on my arm at all times the majority of the summer. It's a long story, but the bottom line is that everything is coming back "normal" and no doctor I'm currently seeing is ready to give me any sort of diagnosis. The medication that I've been on for years that keeps my dizziness at bay is not approved for women who are pregnant or nursing, which means that while I don't have to worry about that TODAY, it is something I'm going to have to stop taking at some point in the not too far off future. I don't have it in me to go from doctor to doctor begging for someone to give me a reason why I am absolutely exhausted ALL. the. time. and I don't have the money to keep going to specialists and getting blood draws on the regular. What's left is for me to take it all into my own hands, accept that it might be a little difficult, and do something about it. That means less eating out and more eating fruits, veggies and proteins at home. It means less hitting snooze 12 times and more getting up for a jog with Louie or a P-90X video in the living room. It means less spending my money on flip flops and more investing in an awesome pair of running shoes that will make it a little more fun to drag myself out of bed in the morning. I honestly have no idea if any of this will make a difference, and I promise that I'm not exaggerating my tiredness, which means actually getting out of bed to workout is going to be really, really hard for me. Wish me luck, say a prayer for me, cross your fingers, whatever. But I'm gonna need all the pep talks, motivation and literal shoves out the door to workout I can get.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Making do

It occurred to me this weekend that planning to start kitchen demo while we were out of town was quite possible one of the smartest decisions the hubs and I have ever made together. We've only been IN town and actually dealing with not having a kitchen (which really has translated into not really having a downstairs at all - living room and dining room included) for one measly little week, and I am going bananas. I can only imagine what kind of mood I would be in these days if we had been around for the entire first week of this process too. Poor Buddy Louie just doesn't know what to do with himself either since we've been corralling him in different parts of the upstairs and the front porch depending on where the commotion is. Thankfully, we found a great deal for doggy daycare all last week so he was pretty worn out in the evenings and just slept a lot.

We're making do with what we have and for the most part, it's pretty amusing. We've been eating out way more than we'd like, but when we are home Dan will throw something on the grill and we'll eat upstairs in the office at one of our desks. We tried to grill a pizza last night and it was a bit of a disaster thanks to not having anywhere to actually roll out the dough, so I ended up eating a late night bowl of my beloved Cheerios on the dining room floor, which Dan thought warranted a picture.

Yes, yes I am sitting on a plastic Target bag. The floor is dirty from all the demo dust!

The good news is that we can (sort of) see the finish line. Our awesome contractor was at the house ALL day yesterday working on the floor patching, which is looking good. He was also planning to sand the drywall yesterday, so I'm hoping that happens this morning. My amazing beautiful granite is potentially getting installed tomorrow, and the new cabinets are supposed to come by Wednesday where they will be painted along with all the existing ones. We've decided to save money and tackle painting the walls ourselves, so if all goes as planned we'll be doing that this weekend. And THEN... it'll be time to get creative and figure out where everything is going to go in our "new" kitchen!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kitchen Decorating

With drywall in the works, granite being cut and cabinet painting happening in the next few days, I'm starting to be able to really envision what our finished updated kitchen is going to look like. Of course, this means I'm already starting to think about how I'll fit everything in it's place and more importantly - how I'll decorate. I'm certainly going to work as much as possible with what I have, but there's obviously a few little things I'd love to add to the mix!

1. Pot rack with bookshelf ($99.95) - I've seen pot racks at Ikea for much less and am hoping they still sell them, but couldn't find any on their website. Either way, we're thinking we'll need something like this over the kitchen cart for added storage and easy access to the few pots and pans we use regularly.

2. Cabinet & drawer hardware ($4.99/$7.99) - Can you believe it? I'm going to have two whole drawers!! This calls for a celebration... and some sleek knobs for the fronts. I haven't quite settled on a finish for hardware yet, and Dan couldn't care less (something I genuinely love and appreciate about him when it comes to decorating, because I have such strong opinions about it!) A friend told me they did lots of shopping around for their kitchen and found that Ikea was the best price and quality is great, so no reason not to go the route that calls for a trip to one of my favorite stores!

3. Chalkboard (DIY!) - There's going to be a weird little alcove where the pantry was knocked out and the soffit for the stairs juts out. It's hard to explain but the tall pantry cabinet will end up half under the soffit and half not. I'm hoping a large vase on top of the cabinet will help balance it out, and I think a nice tall and skinny chalkboard with a simple frame next to the cabinet will make the space look more intentional. We'll see once everything is installed!

4. Decorative bowls ($8.00) - I've had my eye on these for awhile and love the idea of a stack of them out on a shelf somewhere for a pop of color and pattern in our mostly-neutral kitchen. Obviously, these are on the "nice to have" list and not the "necessary to have" list :).

5. Wire storage baskets ($12.95-$15.95) - We found out last night that the glide-out shelves we wanted for the pantry cabinet cost $50 EACH, instead of $50 for four like the regular standing shelves. Regular shelves it is!! So, we'll need to get creative about utilizing that space without making it impossible to get to things at the back of each shelf. We're thinking some kind of baskets or bins that will help organize and control clutter, while being easy to pull out from the pantry will be helpful.

6. Waverly fabric ($39.99/yd) - There's a dirty old plastic blind on the one kitchen window that I will definitely be replacing... hopefully with a fun patterned fabric and a DIY curtain panel!

7. Striped floor mat runner ($36.95) - We actually already have a green runner from Crate & Barrel that I'm ready to move from the hallway, but if we don't find something new we love for there, this one would be great in the kitchen and promises cushioning for standing chores like doing the dishes!