1 Cakes & Louie: January 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014


The buildings. The people. The music. The food. The feeling overall. Everything about New Orleans makes me happy. And today, we're heading back!

I fell head over heels for Dan on a service trip just outside of New Orleans after the hurricanes. We went back 2 years later for more service work and the memories of both trips are some of my most treasured.

The last time Dan and I were there, he woke up early one morning and snuck out to a little jewelry shop to buy my engagement ring. I still remember him coming back into our hotel room WAY too energetic for that time of morning and bringing me a banana and gatorade to remedy my hangover. I had no idea he had just purchased the ring that I would ultimately wear for the rest of my life, but I am so grateful I have that memory because even without my knowing, it was an incredibly important moment in our relationship!

This time, we're traveling with some of our best friends and I couldn't be more excited. I cannot wait to soak it all up again (along with soaking up a bit of the sun we are severely lacking here in Chicago).

There's showings and inspections and all kinds of good stuff going on at the house while we're gone, so the timing worked out pretty perfectly. I'm heading back to my very favorite place with some of my very favorite people. It's going to be a great few days!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let Go

I'm super grateful for my friend Rachel, and the other day she pinned this image that I immediately connected with. I'm sure it's no surprise that I've been a little stressed out lately with the house being on the market, but I'm realizing this week that I need to really and truly just let go... and trust that God is guiding Dan and I in the right direction.

We officially have an offer on the house (!!!), and we've begun the potentially super stressful negotiating process. Honestly, it got to me a bit this morning, and I sent Dan an email listing all the things that were driving me crazy and making me anxious. Aaaaand then I realized later how big of a waste of time and energy that was. To his credit, my awesome hubby got online as soon as he saw my message so he could check in with me and see if I needed to talk (I know, he's the best), but really, what I needed was to take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and calm myself. It will all work out. Maybe not exactly how I had it planned in my head. But definitely exactly how it should.

I'm a visual person, so I'll be printing this image to put up at my desk in hopes of it sticking in my head!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Target Strikes Again

Our house has been on the market for a whopping 10 days, and we've had a bunch of activity, an open house, and even a second showing for a potential buyer! Needless to say, I'm a bit stressed about it all - mostly because the thought of packing up EVERYTHING we own is incredibly daunting. Just the thought of wrapping every. single. dish. and every. single. glass. makes me anxious. But, the excitement over what's to come combats any other feeling, and I truly can't wait to see what's next for Dan and I (and the Buddy Louie!)

When I need to just zone out and focus on something besides the house being on the market, I let myself daydream about what our new house might be like... and of course, how I might like to decorate it. I absolutely love how versatile and classic Target's home decor line has become, and one of my favorite things is to go through and see how different pieces might mix together to create a room. Here's some recent favorites that would pair well with our existing couch for a living room or family room setting!

rug  //  bench  //  mirror  //  pillow 1 & 2

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Half Bath

Every single new house we've looked at so far has at least 1.5 bathrooms. To say that I am thrilled about this would be a massive understatement. Outside of the fact that having a second bathroom would be a HUGE convenience, I am more excited about the endless possibilities for a dramatic statement in a half bath with wallpaper or stencils. Given that I painted our current home's bathroom super bright teal when we moved in, I imagine it's no surprise that I think a bathroom is great place in any home to have a little fun with decorating, since it's typically on a smaller scale as far as room sizes go.


an old favorite, imperfect black dots make a statement without looking too busy

textured grasscloth wallpaper comes in almost any color and pairs well with a painted vanity

this bathroom from Domino is full of texture and layers of pattern

more black and white, but in burst form

I. Heart. Gold.

vertical stripes naturally make a teeny room look and feel larger

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DIY Memories

I spotted a "designed recipe" on a blog ages ago, pinned it, and promised myself I would find the time to do something similar with my late grandma's infamous top secret cheesecake recipe someday. I'm not sure what hit me, but this Christmas I finally decided it was time to get it done, and thanks to the billions of free fonts I've downloaded over the years I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! I framed a print for my dad for Christmas and also gave a copy to my aunt and uncle. A third copy is framed on my kitchen cart, and I love how it makes me think of my grandma and smile every time I see it. I was pretty flattered that our realtor told me "do NOT pack that away - it's beautiful and needs to stay out for showings!" And since I really am proud of how it turned out, I wanted to post it here.

Here's the thing though - I'm not kidding when I say this recipe is top secret. My aunt is the keeper of the recipe and has a rule that you don't get a copy of it until you own a house. Needless to say, when she handed me a little index card with the recipe on it 5 years ago in this little home of ours, THAT was when I felt like a true homeowner. So, since the recipe is super top secret, I changed a bunch of the ingredients to absolutely ridiculous amounts in the version I'm posting here. I know, I know, that's a little bit cruel, but if you have any secret recipes in your family I'm sure you understand! And if you don't, well then let me know when you want to visit and I'll make the cheesecake for you with the real ingredient list. But until then, DO NOT try and make this at home. I have no doubts it would be an absolute disaster.

If you have a family recipe that you'd like designed, please get in touch to discuss pricing. I truly enjoyed putting this together for my family and would love to design more of them in the future!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


One of the things our realtor and the stager both suggested we do at the house before photos and showings was to swap Dan's oversized recliner in the living room out for a slimmer, smaller chair. Cue a big "womp womp" from the hubby. While I was admittedly a little excited about this because the chair is not my favorite thing in the world (although I will admit it IS super comfy), Dan was totally crushed. Hopefully our new house will have the perfect spot for a man cave so he can have his favorite chair back... but in the meantime, I needed to find something to fill in.

I usually exercise a strict "no fabric" rule for craigslist, but needing something quick and affordable and knowing that I specifically wanted a wingback chair meant making an exception... and I'm glad I did. Not only did I find a chair, I found a pair for a measly $50! 

Thankfully, my mom is always up for an adventure, so she made the hour long ride with me to pick them up a couple of weekends ago. One is currently sitting as-is in the living room for showings while the other is in the basement, but seeing as the fabric is not exactly my style, I obviously have big plans for them in the future!

My mom and I have kicked around the idea of trying to DIY reupholstering the chairs down the road, which means finding the perfect fabric. I absolutely love finding a great deal on a piece of furniture to have some fun with, and I'm planning on doing just that with my new chairs! I definitely plan on picking something bold with lots of color that can fit into almost any room, but in true form I'm also somewhat drawn to more simple and neutral choices.

Here are some favorites from Fabric.com, Fabricworm, and LS Fabrics -

Monday, January 20, 2014

Beautiful Knockoff

There's certain items that seem to pop up on blogs and Pinterest over and over, causing me to fall in love with them... over and over - and there is nothing more exciting than finding an incredible knockoff of one of those items I've been coveting for a fraction of the price.

Behold! My latest amazing-if-I-do-say-so-myself budget find -

left: Wisteria Antiqued Moroccan Mirror - $279  // right: my new antique mirror - $42

Styling options are endless...

Over a buffet:

 Or a console table for a living room or entryway:

Above a statement dresser:

Or in the bedroom a la Danielle from The Everygirl:

Color me happy folks. Sure my new mirror has a chunkier frame, but the delicate nature of the Wisteria version is less my style and the one I found can be painted any old color I want, which you all know makes me giddy. I'm thinking this might just be the perfect project for me to finally try gold leafing, but first, this baby will sadly be going into storage while we sell the house. We've had lots of activity with showings already, so fingers are crossed that someone comes through soon and falls in love with our little home just like we did!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Recent Deals

It's no secret that I love a good deal or clearance rack find, and I've gotten some especially good ones lately!

A black sweatshirt that says "Super Awesome" in gold foiled letters for $5 was an obvious purchase (Forever 21, no longer available online)  //  I had a $20 off $50 coupon for Sephora, and a $25 giftcard... which made the new Naked3 palette a whopping $9 out of pocket for me. I'm obsessed.  //  These earrings were last week's Buried Bauble on Bauble Bar - don't they kinda look like something you'd find at J. Crew for way more?  //  I grabbed this plate at West Elm on clearance to wrangle our keys on the entryway dresser  //  We needed matching lamps for our nightstands to provide additional light during showings. These lamps would honestly not be my first choice ever, but they were affordable and neutral - AND the gray linen drum shades alone would typically cost more than the whole lamp cost, so they'll be perfect to use elsewhere in the future!

Have you gotten any great deals lately?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Woah there, 2014 (and, Thanks to Pinterest for the New Year!)

Let's just be good and blunt here for a second, shall we? 2014 is kind of kicking my ass. Anyone else feeling the same? Basically, the first week of this year has gone a little something like this for me -
wake up early, try to remember if I have to go to work, roll over and go back to sleep if not, eventually convince myself to get out of bed even though it's WAY warmer under the covers, eat cereal, go to the store to buy more bins, pack every possible book, vase, photo, article of clothing or pillowcase I *hope* I won't need in the next several months, tool around online looking at houses and trying to focus on one thing long enough to blog (#fail), talk about how we spend too much money on food but eat out anyways because we don't have energy to cook, clean out every drawer/cabinet/closet in the house, stay up way too late. Repeat.

Oh, and it's been something like -50 degrees with the windchill in Chicago this week. Remember how our CR-V needed a new battery just a couple of weeks ago? Well thanks to it being SO cold out the Civic wouldn't start this morning and now that needs a new battery too. Swell!

I am definitely not complaining about all of the random days off in the last couple of weeks (my company closed the week of Christmas, we had New Years Day off, and yesterday was so cold half of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs completely shut down), but the lack of consistency in my schedule has really thrown me for a loop. So basically, I'm kind of already wanting to hit the reset button on this year. But I've got high hopes for 2014, so I refuse to let a rocky start weigh me down!

A teeny bit of fun news in the midst of all the craziness? I realized tonight that I have 700 Pinterest followers, and that kind of made me super excited given that I probably only know 40 or 50 of them. Holler! And in honor of that little tidbit of fun (and to celebrate the return of one of my favorite post topics), here's a roundup of some of my favorite pins lately.

//  love this cut & color  //  DIY edible glitter?!?  //  quinoa, kale, egg  //  wisdom  //
mark my words - if I have a half bath in our next home, it WILL be wallpapered and a little bit glam and a lot a bit amazing like this one

Here's to more blogging in 2014!