Monday, March 30, 2015

Our First Home

When we first started thinking about buying a place, it was about saving money and building equity. Things you don't think about until you find yourself in this phase called adulthood.  But then we started asking ourselves questions like, what community do we want to be a part of? Where do we want to be for the next 5-7 years? What kind of life do we want to live? and even though money and equity are things we were thinking about, we were also thinking about how to make a difference in the community where we were at. Buying a house became less about the money and more about how we could use our house to bless others. How could we live, shop, and go to church in our community? We saw places that were too expensive, had small entertaining spaces, were far from our church, or weren't close to public transportation. All things that didn't feel like us.

Then we walked into our place and the charm got us. The big open spaces where we could have people over for food and some good quality time. The kitchen right amongst the space to hang out.  The space to have guests stay over so we could visit or show them the city. It just felt right. 

So when I saw the Starter Stories Project organized by Compass, a real-estate startup company based in New York, I was inspired to participate in sharing our story. Owning a place for us means stability and community. A place for us to invest in the lives of others whether it's planned or spontaneous. I know the blog has been silent these last few months, but I thought I would update what we've done to our place so far to make it feel more us and still be able to have good quality time for those in our lives. 

Now I know it's not really a fair comparison since all the "before" pictures were taken at night and the "after" pictures are during the day but you get the picture. We're still decorating this room but it's coming together. Adam just made that Loyola sign that reflects the "L" stop closest to us. Next up will be to fix the really bright lights, make a new coffee table, and figure out what to do with the weird corner of furniture.

This kitchen is so pretty and functional. We hope to change out the lights and then way down the road possibly paint the cabinets white vs cream. Our place doesn't have as much natural light since it's a basement unit so we are trying to utilize bright colors to not make it seem as dim.

We have really gone to town on DIYs in our new place to make it feel like us. I had something like this in our old place to hold my measuring cups and spoons but not as intricate. I liked that it can be practical decoration. We knew we wanted something to follow the rustic/industrial feel our new place has, but Adam really outdid himself when he found that pipe and was able to put this together. So we got the barn wood from his grandpa, the pipe from Home Depot, the S hooks from Amazon (that we spray painted) and the red "gas" pipe from a resale shop. He then had to use his mathematical/engineering mind to be able to have everything be at the right angle. This task would have been a huge struggle for my designer mind haha it's why we make a good team.

The brick in our place really steals the show when you first walk in. We have been utilizing nails from the previous owners to hang some of our stuff on it. Thanks to his parents, we now have a table until we can build our own. Adam has offered to build us a rustic barn table but until then, it's nice to be able to offer a place for people to eat at when they come over for dinner. Adam hung his painting of Chicago this past week and it just feels right. We like to make a lot of our art so our place feels more personal. We're hoping to have a piano under the artwork but haven't found the right one yet.

This is my girly corner. I feel like Audrey Hepburn every morning when I get to sit on a fancy stool and put on my makeup. ( I don't know how accurate of a view of Audrey Hepburn that is, it's just what I feel like) I put some of my favorite prints and picture around this vanity we found at a resale shop for less than $100. I "splurged" a little on the stool from Target, but it just completed the corner so I went for it. (Splurging for us is if it's over $20 since we find a lot of stuff at resale shops, yards sales or for free) In high school, my mom and I shared a bathroom so I got to get ready with her every morning. Now she's 10 hours away and because of our schedules we don't get to talk as much as we would like.  I put a picture of her on my vanity so I can still think of her every morning.

Our room is probably the closest to being done. It feels like a place of rest and peace. I love the blue, white, gold and our rustic headboard we made last month. 

We brought some old favorites from our old place that just look better in a place we own ;)

The way we do projects is we have a rough idea in mind and then when we are out searching we just modify the project when we see cheaper things. This shutter necklace holder was less than $20 because I knew I wanted knobs of some kind and so when I found these discarded doorknobs for less than a dollar a piece, I was sold.

We still have a few projects we want to get done but our place is very functional at this point. We painted the guest bedroom last weekend. Neither of us wanted to spend our Saturday painting so we started painting at midnight on Friday night. It of course took way longer than I thought it would (I have no concept of time sometimes), but we were so glad to have our Saturday back. We just want to make a headboard for that room, get a rug and put some of our artwork up. (I would put a picture up but it wouldn't do it justice. Our outdoor patio is in the corner and our paint supplies were still in the other corner.)

So who is coming to visit us this summer? We are fairly ready for you ;)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Things I learned on Whole30

Black coffee is still gross. Pass the sugar and cream, please. #dessert

You are going to realize how much free food people offer you and how much you still want that cupcake, piece of candy or can of soda.

Raw chicken makes me want to vom.

30 days is a really long time. You gotta get creative because even though you think Mexican food is part of the food pyramid, it really isn't.

Your sink is going to look like this the whole time you're on this diet. Get used to it and tag team the dishes.

Doing this diet while friends are in town is probably the worst idea, followed by doing the whole30 at all. (Thanks Marie and Jenelle for being so awesome!)

My guy is still cute even when we're on whole30. (Him and his dad ref together)

Even when you are hangry you still think it's funny when you're coworker uses this as a cup. You also think it's really funny when instead of the beverage making it to his mouth, it pours all out on his shirt.

After 30 days, you are still going to want a donut, which is why you are going to feel terrible when you think your body is ready for that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I feel like the whole last month has been full of stretching situations whether it was us eating only whole30 approved food or trying to hang out with a refugee family who doesn't speak the same language as us. I have been in situations that are putting me outside of my comfort zone. I can feel myself being stretched as these situations strip away the facades I put up and I am stripped down to my bare bones. There is no hiding, no pretending that I've got it together when all I can do is hope google translator works and that a family who is lonely and overwhelmed by a new country understands that we are here to help, we are here to be their friends. I can't pretend that I love my salad that tastes like dish soap because yep, I tried to save money by buying the generic soap and couldn't quite get it off the tupperware container. I want that donut, taco or anything for the love of pete that is covered in cheese (Can I get an amen?). But all of these situations show me one thing. I'm not supposed to have it all together. I'm not suppose use food, friends, language, material things or anything else as my comforter. I'm not supposed to find my satisfaction in my situation or what I own but in Jesus. It's not what I do. It's not what I have. It's not what I accomplish. It's what he has already done. (My friend, Kate Brannen wrote a great post on this) If I continue to chase those things, it's always going to be the same result. The same cat-and-mouse game that ends in me never been truly satisfied. Sometimes I think I forget that. I mean, I know I do but sometimes I don't even want to admit that to anyone, let alone myself. So I'm trying to be real. I'm trying to be honest and say I don't have it together and that's okay for now. My coworker told me it's okay not to be okay, it's just not okay to stay there. So here is to running to my creator who knows me better than I know myself and asking for help and relying on him to get me through each day instead of using things around me to help me feel better.

Monday, March 2, 2015


So apparently this has been in my drafts folder for the last few weeks even though I thought it had been published. Shows how much I have been following my own blog.

Today marks a year of being in the hustling, bustling, busy and lovely city of Chicago. We've kept it real by moving twice and me switching jobs twice, but staying at the same church the whole time. It's been a year of learning more about ourselves, each other, and God. A year of learning, growing and sinking more into what it means to be in community within a city of 2.72 million. 

This year, I'm trying to learn more about simplifying my life. How to be a good wife, sister, daughter, friend, and working woman of God without trying to add everything else to the mix. So if my blog is a little silent, it's because I'm not super woman and gotta sleep sometimes too ;)

We'll see what this year brings as I try to navigate all my responsibilities and still have this as a creative outlet. Thanks for following along.