1 Cakes & Louie: February 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter Pinterest Challenge: Sunburst Mirror

Well seeing as my blog traffic jumped from a measly average of 6 page views a day to, um, something like 2,000 the day that I participated in the last Young House Love link-up, I figured I'd better join in on the next one. Just kidding! When Sherry posted the latest link up last week and I saw that it was another Pinterest challenge, I jumped on the bandwagon for a few other reasons, too.

(1) I luuuurve me some Pinterest. A friend just told me today that she spent an hour stalking my boards, so I clearly have great taste in pinning things. (Unfortunately for me, Pinterest does not always translate to great taste in real life. Womp womp).

(2) We're currently tackling our latest upgrade, which I've titled "Project Grown-up Bedroom", and I was over the boring rectangular mirror in our room that I bought at Ikea years ago and had Dan nail to the wall as a "good enough for the time being" solution.

(3) Truth be told, I bought a round mirror, a bunch of wood shims and a couple little tester pots of paint to DIY a sunburst mirror something like... a year ago... so I figured it was about time I actually DO something with all of it. A Young House Love & Bower Power link up challenge was just the push I needed!

So, I sweet talked the hubs into helping me because I knew in the end that would turn out better than if I did it myself, and we made ourselves a really really awesome (if I do say so myself) sunburst mirror last weekend!

There's endless amounts of inspiration pictures on Pinterest for sunburst mirrors, since the style was crazy popular a couple years ago and in my opinion, pretty classic.

First up - supplies needed:
- A round mirror - I bought the Kolja Mirror at Ikea for $15 that's 22" in diameter (so, sort of gigantic)
- Several packs of wood shims - these things are super cheap at any hardware store. We used about 70 total.
- A big round wooden disc that's not quite as large as your mirror. Dan found one 18" in diameter at Home Depot for $6, which I'm pretty sure was pure luck because he said it was the only one there and the guy working in the department didn't even know where it came from. I'll take it.
- A tester pot of paint - I used an off-white base and then also added a coat of a silvery Martha Stewart metallic glaze. Looking back on it, I totally wish I'd used gold since it's my latest obsession and there's a LOT of gray tones in our room right now, but I can always change it up in the future if it bugs me.
- Small foam brushes for the paint
- A saw to trim the shims if you want a layered or staggered look in the end
- Liquid Nails or other super strong glue
- Strong picture hanging hook and a nail

As I mentioned, I had the idea to make the mirror with wood shims a long time ago, but I'd never really bothered to figure out the logistics of how it would actually all come together and hang on a wall. In the end - a tutorial from A Beautiful Mess was the biggest help, as we got the idea to use a big round disk from there. Thanks ladies!

Step 1: We glued the round disk to the back of the mirror and stacked a bunch of heavy books on it overnight to dry.

Step 2: We painted about 75 wood shims with 2 quick coats of paint and 1 extra thin coat of the glaze. I didn't bother to paint the ends because I knew they'd be chopped off.

Step 3: Once all the shims dried overnight, Dan trimmed them to appropriate lengths. We just kind of eyeballed where we thought would look good, and went from there. And I didn't take pictures of this step because I'm a baby and the saw in the basement was really loud.

Step 4: After everything was cut down to 2 lengths, we glued the shorter layer of shims to the back of the mirror, using the wood disk as a guide to keep them all lined up and evenly spaced. Look how excited Dan was to help with this!

I also wore cute socks for this step, which I thought was crucial. 

Step 5: After letting the first layer of shims dry overnight just to be safe, we added on the second (slightly longer) layer to fill in all of the gaps with lots more glue.

Step 6: Dan added the picture hanging hook to the back of the wood disk with a hammer and small nails. Had I thought about this ahead of time, I definitely would have had him do this step BEFORE we glued the disk to the mirror, because having him take a hammer to it after there was a GLASS mirror attached gave me some serious anxiety. Lesson learned.

Step 7: Hang the mirror on the wall. Here's where this got a little intense. We did this entire project with the mirror face down on the floor of the office, and while the shims were definitely attached securely, they weren't strong enough that you could grab them and lift the mirror off the floor. Oops. Dan carefully picked the whole thing up by the round disk with just his fingertips, got it off the floor, and then carried it from the bottom (like a tray) into the bedroom. To get it on the wall he had to grip the mirror from the front with basically just his fingernails and hold it totally steady to line the hook up with the nail on the wall. Rest assured that I was in a full panic during all of this, but as usual, he got it in one shot and it was perfect.

The one pretty cool part about having the mirror face down the entire time we were making it is that I had NO idea what the final project looked like until it was on the wall. Thankfully, I am absolutely in LOVE with how it turned out! I laughed, I squealed and I Instagramed a picture immediately. Isn't it pretty?!?

Oh heeeeeeeey. Here's me pretending I know how to use my camera.

And a necessary close-up shot.

Thanks to my superb color-correcting skills, you can see several shots of our freshly painted walls here but have no idea what color they actually are since they look different in every picture. Oh well. This is about the mirror, and it's gorgeous. (Really though, the first full shot of the mirror above is probably the closest to the wall color. Yay!)

So that's our super fun sunburst mirror, which I am totally smitten with. It's such a big statement pice and really just makes the bedroom for me. And, it cost us less than $30 all-in, which is really exciting since I've seen similar styles in stores for HUNDREDS of dollars!

I'm pumped to see what other Young House Love and Bower Power readers came up with for the challenge. I'm linked up on both sites, as well as their co-hosts for this round - Decor & The Dog and The Remodeled Life, so head on over to check them all out!

If I had a Million Dollars: Wish List

I'm ready for February to be over for a lot of reasons. Here's one - my shopping budget resets at the beginning of the month! ;) Hehe. Let's just say I'm in need of a little retail therapy... and here's a gathering of some pretty things I wouldn't mind getting my hands on.

As usual, my latest wants include lots of gold tones. I'm finding that I love brushed gold in small doses around our house more and more lately. So things like the hooks (I'm hoping to grab 3 of them to hang in our entryway), and the decorative letter 'L' (which would be perfect above our bed) are little pieces that would make a huge impact! And that bracelet? I'm swooning. I'm also thrilled that I found one for a whopping $38 seeing as the identical (and sold out) Bauble Bar version of this pretty piece goes for $78. The floral paper straws are screaming springtime girly drinks on the front porch, and let's just go ahead and agree that the "I'm so tired" tee was basically made for me.

All pulled from my Wish List Pinterest board!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Challenge... Accepted

I need this today.

Also - I have the best mom, husband and best friend in the world. I am so, so blessed.

Happy Monday all.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sneak Peek

Well, we may be several months late on this, but we're finally smack in the middle of a little bedroom makeover! I originally put this on my Summer Projects List for 2012, but things got in the way and I couldn't decide on a new wall color for the life of me, so it's been on the back burner. Since I spent the better part of last week doing absolutely nothing I had a sudden major burst of energy when I was finally feeling better, and our annual St. Patrick's Day breakfast party is coming up in a just a few weeks... so it was high time we got going on the makeover. The hubs reluctantly agreed, I finally settled on a wall color, and we got to work!

We have a fun DIY project to finish up this weekend, and there's a couple accessories to purchase, but I am extremely excited to post final pictures of what I'm lovingly calling our "grown-up bedroom" soon! In the meantime, here's a little sneak peek of our (finally) finished DIY headboard. I have wanted to add nailhead trim since we originally made this bad boy, but I couldn't seem to find exactly what I was looking for without spending a fortune. On a whim, Manda and I checked out another fabric store a few weeks ago, and I squealed when I found a roll of 5 yards of brushed gold trim for less than $20! Thanks to help from Dan, adding the trim to the headboard took less than a half hour, and made a HUGE difference in making the whole piece look "finished" if you ask me.

All in, the headboard cost us about $60 and took about 2 hours to make. (Full disclosure - it also took just as long to get the damn thing lined up with the d-ring hooks to hang it on the wall, but thankfully we shouldn't ever have to move it). Similar styles from Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn run between $700 and $900 so needless to say, I love that ours is a DIY and cost much, much less!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Catching Up

After 4 days out of the office sick and an additional day off for President's Day, I came back to work yesterday with a LOT of catching up to do. And, I'm still battling the tail end of this cold so my energy levels are low and all I really want to do is curl up and go back to bed. Thankfully, there's lots to look forward to in the next few weeks!

I'm not exaggerating when I say I did absolutely nothing the entire time I was sick, so I don't have much to blog about. But I realized last night that I never posted a picture of our new little gallery wall at the top of the stairs, so I snatched a picture from my Instagram to document it here!

Clockwise from top left:
A "wishes" card from our wedding that reads "If everyone was as happy as I know the two of you are, the world would be a perfect place". It's unsigned, so we have no idea who wrote it, but you'd better believe I love it.  //  A print of Fisherman's Wharf that I bought on our mini-moon to San Francisco //  A heart print postcard that I found in my stack of paper goodies that I've collected over the years. This will soon be switched out for a custom print by my friend Jaclyn!  //  Another postcard full of colorful houses that I just thought was pretty  //  Our wedding invitation, designed by yours truly!  //  A little card I bought at a craft fair with 2 puzzle pieces and the words "We fit". Unfortunately, I don't recall who the artist is for this, but I adore her work!

I'm excited at how well this wall came together, and love that the arrangement of the frames would allow us to add a few more in the future if we want!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hey Hubby... I Love You

I was somehow unaware of the greatest of all the great link-ups to ever occur in the blogosphere, but have no fear, I'm totally fine with being late to the party. Thanks to Sherry over at Young House Love, I found out that several bloggers got together last week to have a "Hey Girl" link party in honor of their husbands/boyfriends/special guys and playing off of the always awesome, always hysterical, always super hot Ryan Gosling memes that have been, um, everywhere for quite some time now. That's right, hundreds of women created their very own "Hey Girl" memes with pictures of their guys instead of Ryan Gosling, and then they posted them on their blogs for everyone to see. GENIUS I tell you. Genius.

Obviously, I had to participate. Better late than never my friends.

And as luck would have it, I've been holed up in bed sick for days, so I had all kinds of free time to make said memes with pictures of my studly hubby. I also got a HUGE kick out of this project and sat in bed giggling to myself the whole time, which totally lifted my spirits despite spending the rest of the day in my pity party for one. Did the stars align for me on this or what?

Oh, and it's Valentines Day, so what better way of showing the hubs just how much I love him than to post pictures of him on my blog?

Love you Dan!!!! Thank you for taking care of me and dealing with my whining all week.

You are SO right cakes. More alley finds is just what our house needs! I love when we agree on decor decisions.

So glad we're on the same page with this one. Let's set the mood with paint colors.

I couldn't agree more, honey. I couldn't agree more.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

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I'm linked up over at Two Twenty One, View Along The Way,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Yours truly managed to come down with a cold AND the nasty norovirus stomach flu all at the same time... the night before we were supposed to leave for Florida. Needless to say, my 100 degree fever, weak stomach and major congestion had me in no condition to get on an airplane last night, so we're still in good old (cold) Chicago.

I spent the entire day in bed yesterday feeling sorry for myself. I got up once to pee and once to stare at my packed suitcase, and otherwise stayed under the covers watching season 1 of Parenthood on Netflix and texting with my awesome friends and family who were checking on me throughout the day. I even got a text from little baby Liam wishing me well - what a cutie! I also called my dad in tears so he could help make me feel better about missing vacation. All in all, it was a pretty miserable and very pitiful day.

My awesome brother and sister-in-law are trying their hardest to pull some strings and get us on a flight out tomorrow so we can still spend a few days in the sunshine. We'll see if it all works out. For now, I'm spending another day in bed, grateful that my fever has mostly subsided and my stomach is at least letting me eat bananas and saltines. I have high hopes that I will be a solid 80% by tonight or tomorrow, and if there's a chance we can still pull off a (shortened) vacation, I'll take it. 

Monday, February 11, 2013


I fell in love with monogram necklaces long ago, when the scripty beauties started to pop up on celebrities and bloggers alike. To my disappointment (but not to my surprise), the necklaces tend to run pretty pricey, and given that I tend to wear basically the same jewelry day after day, it wasn't something I wanted to spend a lot on.

So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled on Eliza Jay Charm's Etsy shop last month and saw that she offered a few different styles of monogram necklaces for less than $30! And, hers are cut from acrylic rather than a metal, which is 100% more my style and if you ask me - also way more fun.

I emailed Elizabeth to ask about how my initials might look with her designs and she responded within hours with mockups in a couple different fonts. I was so grateful for her willingness to do this as I quickly realized that my initials created a giant gap in a block font, but looked fabulous in a script font. A couple weeks later, I finally settled on tortoise color acrylic and a gold plated chain, and once I placed my order I couldn't believe how quickly I received the finished necklace. Needless to say, I am in love.

I would highly recommend Eliza Jay Charm to anyone looking for a fun take on these popular necklaces. She also offers cufflinks, earrings and other items, so I'm pretty certain I'll look to her shop for gift ideas in the future!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Be Mine

While I appreciate Valentine's Day as an extra reason to show the person you love just how awesome you think they are, the hubs and I usually don't do much besides a nice dinner out to celebrate. This year, I convinced him to go out a few days early so we can participate in Chicago Restaurant Week - we have a reservation for dinner at Frontier Saturday night and I cannot wait to spend the evening in the city with him and some delicious food. And, we'll be in Florida for the actual Valentine's Day, so as long as we're together and I'm not bundled up in a coat, hat and gloves, I'll be a happy camper!

Regardless of us not going all out on gifts, I though it'd be fun to do a little roundup of love-ish kind of things (which to me is pretty much just anything pink or gold or sparkly) that I wouldn't mind receiving ;).

Heart PJ Set ($16.80)  |  LOVE Paperweight ($68)  |  Essie Plumberry Polish ($8)
Sailor's Knot Studs ($48)  |  Gold Urchin ($20)  |  Twirl Perfume ($65)
Fuschia Ikat Pillow ($45)  |  Always Pillow ($39.90, but sold out by the time I found it. Womp.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


It's a cool 26 degrees in Chicago today. This time next week, I'll be in sunny Delray Beach, Florida with the hubs visiting my brother and sister-in-law. It's currently 77 degrees there. Needless to say - I. Can't. Wait.

I took the liberty of swiping a bunch of my bro's instagram pictures from his Facebook (thanks Kev!) to get myself through the long week of waiting for our trip. Here's just a few of the things I'm looking forward to.

Low-tide walks on the beach

PALM TREES. I love them.

Uh, and trees like this. So cool. Reminds me of Hawaii!

Crazy amazing scenery by the ocean.

Finally FINALLY meeting Grissom! Those ears kill me.

Sunrises. Good God I love sunrises.

Banana trees. IN THEIR BACKYARD.

Chasing seagulls.

Spices and loose teas at the Farmer's Market.

Waves. I have a strange obsession with the ocean.

And of course, seeing these two. It's been WAY too long!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

If I had a Million Dollars... or $275

In a stroke of pure luck that generally skips me right over, I won $275 in my office Super Bowl squares on Sunday! With 11 seconds left in the game Dan looked at the sheet and said "Um, honey, if they get a safety you'll win $200!" To which I replied, "What's a safety?" He explained the play enough for me to understand that there was an actual possibility that I could win, and those last 11 seconds of the game were just about the most nerve-racking moments I've ever had watching a sporting event. And, believe it or not, a safety was exactly what happened, and after checking the sheet a good 5 times just to be TOTALLY sure, I was jumping around the living room squealing about winning the "final score" $200 pot.

Then I checked my other square just for kicks and realized I had the exact same numbers (4 & 1) in reverse... which meant I also won the $75 "reverse of the final score" pot. Leave it to the chick with NO clue about football to win big. It was awesome.

So, I obviously immediately started to think about all of the fun things I could buy with $275 (well, $265 since the squares cost me $5 a piece). And considering there's a few specific items that are a bit expensive (at least for me) that I've been swooning over for quite some time, I have big plans to splurge and spend that money good and quick. While the hubs probably thinks this is a bit pitiful, a work friend pointed out that winnings like this are the perfect excuse to treat myself to some personal indulgences. So shop I will!

Left to right:

I guess I shouldn't call this "Pick Two" since I already know one item I am buying for sure. I am 100% getting a Clarisonic with my winnings! I've been wanting one for years and everyone I know that has one swears by it. I'm hoping that this will make a noticeable difference in my problem skin, and can't wait to try it out.

That leaves the Longchamp Le Pliage tote versus some classic Uggs. Honestly, I think both are insanely overpriced, but that doesn't make me want them any less. The Uggs would be perfect for freezing Chicago winters, but the tote is such a versatile bag that I'm definitely considering it. But again, the price on both just bugs me. Which would you choose?

Friday, February 1, 2013

The (Completely Unofficial) Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

Update: Thanks to everyone that's clicked on over to my little blog via Young House Love and left comments. My blog traffic is out of control today and it's made this 1 degree Friday in Chicago so much more exciting! I'm flattered you're here and hope you'll stick around to read a few posts!
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Confession time: I have a blog crush on John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love (who doesn't?) And thanks to their recent book signing tour, I got to meet them in person and find out first hand that my crush is justified - they're just as amazing in person as they come across on their blog!

Last week, the duo posted a "Completely Unofficial Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge" that I immediately linked to the kid sister's facebook wall because, well, she loves that song, I love thrift stores, and it sounded like a good time in general.

Unfortunately everyone around me (including Manda) was riddled with the stomach flu over the last couple of weeks and this week was bananas for me at work, so we didn't actually get around to grabbing a $20 and heading to a thrift store until tonight. And since our journey was a bit last minute, we didn't have a whole lot of options for our shopping, so we ended up at a mediocre Goodwill. Have no fear though, we still snagged a couple of fabulous finds, and we had a blast looking around for items from the song.

Here's our trip in subpar quality phone photos!

Step 1: Take a picture in front of your thrift shop with just $20 in your pocket

Step 2: Peruse
I was loving this embroidered scene in the fun faux bamboo frame. Manda wasn't feeling it, but I still had to take a picture because of the egg chair appearance! Sherry has blogged bunches about her love for egg chairs, and I dream of the day I have a porch that's structurally sound enough to have one dangling from the ceiling. 

We also walked away from this magnet set. I was half creeped out and half amazed by it

These little cards were too cute to pass up for a whopping 49 cents

I was having serious visions of this wooden cow cutout painted a super bright color and propped up on top of our kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately the poor little guy was missing a couple chunks out of his ear and a back leg, so I had to leave him for someone with some woodworking skills to fix up.

These boxes have been on clearance at Target for ages, but at Goodwill they were an even bigger steal at $1.49 a pop. I grabbed a little square gold one that I'm thinking about using for ponytail holders and bobby pins in the bathroom instead of the open (and therefore messy) dish I use now. Definitely not vintage or anything, but still a decent find.

Manda and I both thought this brass coin sorter was cool enough to spend $1.99 on. 

Manda and I both badly wanted these suuuuper shiny silver oxfords to be in our size, but the largest pair would barely fit my toes in them. Sad violin.

Finally - behold. My favorite find of the evening. This awesome little gray metal cart for $5 with expandable side panels. I have so many different ideas in my head about how I'll use this that I'm giddy over it.

Step 3: Find items referenced in the song and snap a photo

Big props to my model for all the awesome photos to follow. First up, Manda with a stack of bright and fun luggage that I really really really wanted to bring home. But I also really really really didn't want the hubs to kill me considering I already have a couple old suitcases in the garage just waiting for some love.

After deciding the luggage was fun, but a little boring, we headed over to the jackpot - Men's coats. And since Manda is a twig, they were all kind of "big ass coats" (as referenced in the song). We had some fun with poses - kicking off the photoshoot with this awesome fake suede jacket with a lamb-fur type collar

Hey, you. Nice brown leather jacket.

This coat was fur-lined and denim. In other words - ridiculously unstylish, yet probably warmer than any other coat we own. Can't win them all I guess.

SO - total spent on the coin sorter, gold box, metal cart table and cards was less than $10! If the weather is decent this weekend I'm thinking maybe Manda and I will trek down to some of the "better" stores downtown and see what kinds of treasures we can score with the other half of our $20 limit. Thanks to John and Sherry for a random good time suggestion, and thanks to my mini-me for spending Thursday evening with me supporting the Goodwill mission!

I'm linked up over on Young House Love (I was stalking the site crazy style this morning and still wound up as #15), so head on over and check out their spoils and what tons of other blogger friends found!

Happy Weekend all!