Beluga the Dolphin

We just spent three really really awesome days up in Chicago.  I seriously love that city so much.

Thursday night we met up with my sister Kristin for dinner at one of our go-to restaurants, Wildfire.  There are obviously a lot of places to get great steak in Chicago, but Wildfire has been a family favorite for years, so we try to go every time we’re up there.

IMG_1043IMG_5249Kristin is constantly on the move in the spring so we only got her for one night, but as always it was just the best being with her.

On Friday, we spent a family day at the Shedd Aquarium.  Kate looooooooved it. She was so into everything we saw.

IMG_1063 IMG_1066IMG_5260I think her favorite animals were the dolphins and the beluga whales (I mean, who doesn’t love the belugas?). She kept asking for the dolphins to jump more during the show.  I think she could have watched them for hours.

IMG_1073 IMG_1075 IMG_1082IMG_5274When we were getting ready to leave, we let her pick out one thing from the gift shop.  Naturally, she chose a pink, sparkly dolphin with a bow on it’s head.  And when we asked her what the dolphin should be called, she said “it’s a dolphin named Beluga!”  I’m not sure if this maybe was in indication of some confusion on her part, or if she’s just that clever, but we of course went with it.  And now Beluga is in her ever-growing lineup of must-have items in bed.

IMG_5283On Saturday, Jeff had to attend a conference, so Kate and I went up to the Lincoln Park Zoo to meet up with one of my very best friends, Lindsey (you may remember my post about her wedding from last summer).  Here’s an embarrassing fact about Saturday: We spent the ENTIRE DAY with Lindsey, and this is the best picture I got of her.


Sorry, Linds.

Either way, we had a lot of fun walking around the zoo and being with Lindsey.  Kate’s favorite animals here: the monkeys and the cows.


Oh, and the carousel.  That was a HUGE hit, and well worth the seven bucks for the three of us to ride.

IMG_5297IMG_1100On Sunday morning, I went to my happy place (Nordstrom), and then we were on our way back home.

All-in-all, a pretty perfect weekend.

IMG_5287IMG_1085Until next time, Chicago!


Faster than you can say “I love Nate Berkus”

My parents just left after the most lovely weekend of Badger wins, delicious home-cooked meals, and lots of quality time.  And is always the case when I say goodbye to my family, I’m a little sad today.  So let’s talk about something happy – like the most perfect curtains on the face of the planet.  And the way Kate’s big girl room is coming together.

When we last talked about it, I had just finished with the butterfly wall.  (See this post for how I did it.)

IMG_0833We have since moved in Kate’s furniture, and I am happy to report that Kate has adjusted to a real bed better than I imagined she would.  Knock on wood.

Speaking of wood, her new bed is actually my bed from growing up.  You’ve heard me talk about a home having character, and my favorite way to do that is to use furniture pieces that have history.  This bed is the ultimate example of that.  And the blanket draped over the bottom rail is super meaningful because it was woven by a really really special family friend.

IMG_1003I normally hate sticking beds in the corner like this, but I want Kate to feel as secure as possible in her bed, and I thought the wall on one side would help.  We also bought a flip-down bedrail which helps her feel a little more contained in the bed, and gives us a little peace of mind – although I’ve never seen her even close to that side of the bed while sleeping.

IMG_1020The bedding is from Pottery Barn Kids.  I actually let her help pick this out, and when she saw the butterflies she immediately told me to buy it.  Seriously.  The sheets are from Target, and are not new.  Ideally I’d love to put a striped sheet on the bed, but I’m done making purchases for now, so these will have to do.  Kate thinks they are comfy and they match, so I guess I could do a lot worse.

The bed actually has a matching dresser, but the dresser we bought for Kate’s nursery has such perfect storage that I couldn’t give it up.

IMG_1019I do want to change out the knobs on the drawers to something a little more delicate… maybe something like this from Anthropologie?

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.54.13 PMBut the part of the room I’ve been most excited about?  You guessed it.  Those curtains. Designed by none other than Nate Berkus himself.

Of. Course.

IMG_1016I had been searching for the most perfect curtains for this room for a while, and had my heart set on some sheers with gold polka dots from PBK.  They were sold out of the length I needed and I was crestfallen.

Until this happened:

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.31.44 PMI love the little gold circles (they are actually a metallic thread that has a little shimmer).  And I think the ivory is perfect for tying in the dresser.

IMG_1023IMG_1029So now I just have to finish up hanging some art on the walls, and then I’m going to call this room done.  The most important thing is Kate really really loves her room, so of course I’m thrilled about that.

Chevron and Trellis

If you follow me on instagram, you know that I finally got around to hanging some curtains that I have owned for at least 6 months.  Here’s a confession: I didn’t even take them out of the box to look at them until 3 days ago. Thank goodness I like them because, sheesh, that’s just poor purchase management right there.

Actually, I don’t just like them.  I love them.


You may remember last summer that I rearranged my office to include some new storage.  Never mind this terrible picture.  I’m finding this room is very hard to photograph accurately because of the dark walls and bright windows.  I’m working on playing with meter mode, but that’s a post for another day… The point is: this is the best before shot I have of the windows sans drapery. (Hey Mom, notice how I didn’t put “drapes?”  See? I do listen!)


Here’s almost the same shot with a little more personality. The curtains are from West Elm, bought on super sale, and the rug is from Target (also on sale right now). I like how the bold graphics play off each other.  And that boost of color on the floor just makes me happy.


I hung the curtains high and wide off the windows like I did in our family room.  I like how they emphasize our tall ceilings and make the windows seem even bigger.  IMG_0981

I also really like how the curtains, the rug and the chairs all work together. IMG_0986 IMG_0988

I still want to repurpose that trunk under the window – although now I’m thinking it will become tutu storage in Kate’s new room since we’ve acquired about a thousand of them since December 24th.  And my favorite cabinet is still in here and waiting for a new location in the house. When those move out, I will probably move the white cabinets over to the other wall.

In the meantime, I’m happy with how things are in here.  And apparently so are the dogs.


Desk Shopping

Part of the reason we are moving Kate into another room is because we decided that her current room would make the most appropriate guest room / home office for Jeff.  It’s the most isolated of the rooms, it gets the best light, and it gets the strongest wifi signal.  But the room is awkward.  It really only has 2 walls that can support furniture because of the closet and big window, and the room is narrow enough that it’s tricky to plan for more than a double or queen-sized bed and a dresser.  So I guess I’m hoping this desk can potentially serve as a bedside table.  And if I put the bed on the wall that I want to put it on, it can be no more than about 35″ wide.  Oh, and I don’t want to spend a lot.  It’s a tall order.

So I’ve been shopping around for something that I think will work.  Jeff insists he doesn’t need a lot of space or storage because the majority of his work happens on his laptop, which helps my cause.

Here are my faves so far:

Of course I started my search at Pottery Barn.  Because, duh.  If you’ve seen my house, you know I love all the things from that place. I have had my eye on this PB desk (technically bedside table) since, well, forever.  But it’s $500 and way more than I want to spend unless I can really, really justify it.

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I also like this little guy from Pottery Barn, and I think the style would work with whichever bed I decide to put next to it.  Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 1.38.42 PM The Ludlow Desk from Crate and Barrel is not even a contender for this room, but it totally has me swooning.  I like that it looks masculine and clean, and I seriously love the metal accents. Those brass pulls, those lines… I die.  (Which is weird because I normally don’t fall for such modern furniture.)Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 1.41.14 PM Along those slim, dark lines falls this simple beauty from IKEA.  At just $40 (seriously!), it’s a pretty tempting purchase. But I wish it had some hidden storage, and I would want to see if the metal reads more brown or black in person.

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There’s also this sweet little desk from IKEA, but I’m not crazy about this particular blue, and if I’m going to spend $200 on a desk, I would make the case for something higher quality – like the printers desk from PB above, which has almost the exact same shape and lines.  If it came in white, I might be sold.

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 2.22.57 PM

Finally, there’s my current favorite from Ballard Designs, at least in terms of looks.  I love the color, I love the size, I love that we can close it up… I’m just not crazy about the reviews, and the $400 price tag.

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 1.56.47 PMSo, so far, there just isn’t a clear answer.  I’ve been checking thrift stores and craigslist in the area to see if I can find something worth making over, but most desks I find are just way too huge.  I’ve also been scouring Joss & Main and One Kings Lane, but I hesitate to buy furniture if I can’t return it.

So where do you shop for furniture? Got a secret little place that might carry the most perfect little desk that I should know about?

Christmas in Appleton

I mentioned last week that I knew I was out of time to recap our Christmas(es).  I’m ok with that. But I do want to at least put up some of my favorite pictures from both Appleton and Cincinnati.  So this week, I’m sharing my favorite shots from Wisconsin.  I tried to limit both weeks to just 5 pictures, which isn’t an easy task.  And just like last week, I got it down to 6.  Close enough.

IMG_0310-2I really hope my sisters don’t kill me for posting this picture.  I just really, really love it, so I had to.

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