2010. A year in review.

2010 was a big year for me. I took a leap of faith and left LA for Chicago in search of a better life. I have met some wonderful people & have fallen for this new city that I now call home.

While I do see new year's as just another day, it feels really great starting 2011 in Chicago. I do not make new year's resolutions but set goals for myself and look forward to all that 2011 will bring. It is exciting to imagine what my post will say a year from today. For anyone that is interested, here is my 2009 post. 2010 was so much more exciting than 2009! I wrote that I would absolutely love to visit New York in 2010. Done! I didn't really get that muscle tone I was hoping for, but what can you do?

Here is my {not so little} recap of 2010.

Car lease ended. Decided to sublease a place in Chicago.
Road trip to Vegas.
Began selling my scrapbook line at ScrapMatters.
Lots of packing/preparation for Chicago.

February & March
Subleased a place in Chicago from Feb 1 - March 10.
Sat in the front row of the Oprah show! {guests - THE Tom Ford, Colin Firth & Roger Ebert}.
Trip to Santa Barbara.

first winter in Chicago


santa barbara

Vegas, again.

Disneyland with my sister. {My time outside of Chicago wasn't very exciting.}

Back to Chicago the night the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Fireworks all over the city!
Toured my new apartment.
First Cubs game.

my first cubs game!

first time walking around chicago in sandals!
{i lived in that big brick building last feb-march}

Road trip to San Francisco to visit Jodee.
Road trip to Palm Springs.
Said goodbye to my long hair.

san fran

Moved to Chicago on August 1st!
First Midwest Farmer's Market.
First trip to the Randolph Street Market!
Healthy Living Summit.
Met Christine at a pig roast.
Started running!

my favorite {2010} photo of the pup

green city market

randolph street market

1st time running along the lake. There's nothing like it.

First trip to Jayson Home & Garden.
My 28th birthday!
Birthday dinner with Christine, Anne, Taylor, Amie, and Kelsey {my first house guest}
Jess & Jude came to visit!

jayson home & garden

my little pony tent {birthday gift from my sister}

at the bean with baby jude

a little birthday shopping

Pumpkin farm with C & Michelle.
Dressed up as Rachel Zoe for Halloween.
Bought my first kitchen torch.
First trip to NYC with Jill.
Bought my first wide angle zoom lens at B&H Photo.
Saw Wicked for the first time & loved it!

smores cupcakes, made with my first kitchen torch

In NYC with Jill {and my new wide angle zoom lens}


an authentic midwest pumpkin patch

dressed up as the zoe for halloween
Shot my first two photo shoots.
Spent two weeks in LA.
Day trip to SB to visit my friend Jess.
Made my first trifle.
Finally saw my friend Jonathan after 10 years!
Floor seats {across from Jack Nicholson}. Lakers v. Bulls!
Finished hanging artwork above my sofa.

photo shoot #1

photo shoot #2

my first trifle

JACK! Love him.

My first white Christmas.
Made my first snow angel.
Got a Christmas tree with C at Whole Foods and brought it home in a cab.
Spent a lot of time with my wonderful neighbors.
First Christmas party with 13 of my Chicago friends.
Celebrated 2 years with my sweet lil' pup.
Started girls who inspire.
Booked a photo shoot {for January} with an aspiring model.
Attended Eve of the Eve 2010

my tree. purchased at whole foods.

first snow!

my Christmas party!

eve of the eve {iphone photos}

I hope that you all had a wonderful 2010 and wish you the very best in 2011!

What was your favorite 2010 moment?
What are you looking forward to in 2011?
Do you make new year's resolutions?

Happy New Year!



Christmas lights.

Christmas always comes and goes far too quickly, and on Monday evening every single strand {but one} of lights on my tree went out. I am sure that there was one dead bulb responsible for the demise of my tree, but there was no way that I was going to figure this one out. Christmas was {literally} over.

A normal person might see this as a sign to take down their tree. But me? Not so much. I added another strand of lights to the tree in hopes of keeping it up through NYE. It looks a little sad but I just wasn't ready to say goodbye.

I am just not ready for Christmas to be over. Are you?

2009. A year in pictures.

I do know that it is currently 2010 but thought it would be fun to look back at a few favorite photos from 2009. I'll bet I had you worried there, huh? Come on. I'm not that stupid.

my little b


first trip to the bean {november}

meeting shamu in san antonio

we said goodbye to bo

and hello to milo

and dexter, too

disneyland at christmas time

 holiday cheer



Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

Living in Chicago, one cannot help but own a pair {or two or three} of snow boots. I have my Hunter wellies, too many pairs of Uggs, and a pair of legit North Face snow boots {thanks, mom}.

Clockwise from top left
Hunter regent savoy riding boot, Neiman Marcus $175
Womens Nuptse fur, North Face $100

What are your favorite snow boots?


In the kitchen: Quinoa chili.

Last week I had the most amazing quinoa chili at Protein Bar. I was determined to make something similar and used my friend Erica's delicious chili recipe which I poured over some warm quinoa.

If you haven't had quinoa, I recommend that you try making this dish. It's fast, easy & healthy. And let's not ignore the fact that it will make your kitchen smell fantastic! Just some simple chopping and pouring.

 Chopped sweet potato & peppers.

Just follow Erica's easy instructions and pour yourself a heaping spoonful {or three} on top of some warm quinoa. Delicious.


Lighting. Decided.

Early this month I posted two lamps that I was deciding between & never posted my final decision. For those of you wanted to see what I chose, here you go. I went with the sconces. I have one mounted on each side of the bed, and hope to find a small bedside table for each side at some point.

My headboard is not done so please ignore how messy the fabric looks. A friend offered to help me properly reupholster but I had to make sure I liked this fabric so I went ahead and threw it over the current one just to be sure. I do like the fabric & plan on adding nail head, too. Can't wait.

Let's just say that I made the image black and white because I want to surprise you with my fabric choice and pretend it has nothing to do with the fact that I am sick, had horrible lighting and was far too lazy to re-shoot this again in the morning.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend! I made my first snow angel & thoroughly enjoyed my first white Christmas in Chicago.


Merry Christmas!

I have always wished for a white Christmas and am so happy that I can wish you all a Merry Christmas from beautiful & snowy Chicago! I walked along Michigan Avenue while the snow fell & even treated myself to a cup of warm cocoa. I cannot wait to watch Christmas movies, bake, cook & be cozy on Christmas day. I may head outside to build a snowman and if I do -- you can bet that there will be photos.

via domino

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! 



Girls who inspire: From India. With Love.

I am starting a new little series on my blog called girls who inspire. Every so often {or maybe every week?} I will feature a girl who inspires me, and will hopefully inspire you. First up is Kay from From India. With Love.

name & age:
I blog under Kay* and I'm 29. Though if you've ever gotten a personal email from me or know me in 'real life' you know my real name.

Toronto, ON

current home:
Toronto, ON

meaning behind my blog name:
My new/current blog is called From India. With Love. This past summer I accepted a work/volunteer placement in India and will be moving there in March 2011 for 1 year. My blog is a travelogue where I've been documenting all the pre-departure stuff and will blog all of my adventures/observations/thoughts/and lots of pictures once I arrive in India. I write each post as if I'm writing to family + friends...sent From India. With Love.

current job:
Since I'm moving to India in the new year I've been doing a bunch of odd jobs. But my professional background is in Communications/PR. Entertainment Publicity to be specific.

dream job:
My absolute dream job is to own my own (affordable) small boutique hotel (that I would build and decorate from the ground up) in Luxor, Egypt. Think of an upscale hostel with common areas and both shared and private rooms - all impeccably styled with things from all over the world. I'd employ locals and do shopping excursions with guests. There'd be cooking classes and things of that nature - taught by locals of course.

Until that happens, I think I would be really happy doing something that allows me to combine my love of travel and photography with my desire to work in the International Development field and be my own boss.....right now, I think I'm on track with this one.......

if i could travel anywhere...:
Tanzania + Zanzibar;  Fiji; Santorini, Greece; Turkey; I'd love to travel through the Middle East (Israel, Syria, Afghanistan) as soon as it's safe, Cambodia, Morocco, The Galapagos Islands, Ethiopia, Egypt again.....I could go all night.....

something unique about me:
Yikes! Ummm........

i like to:
Photography is a huge hobby/passion of mine; this year I shot my first wedding! I also love reading, playing with my dog Howard, blogging, and watching movies.


One of Kay's favorite photographs {that she took!}

i watch:
Modern Family, old episodes of CSI, Cold Case, Departures (an AMAZING travel show), the Food Network & lots of reality TV.

My favourite movies are all pretty old. My list includes: Shawshank Redemption, Ghost, Lean On Me, Home Alone 1+2, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Primal Fear, The X-Men Series .......and if I had to include something more recent it'd be Inglorious Basterds &  even more recently The Town - those movies were fantastic!

listening to:
Oh gosh. This seriously changes week by week. I listen to a wide variety of music so it's really hard to narrow it down....

crushing on:
Hands down Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. I've had celeb crushes on them FOREVER! (Depp since 21 Jump Street and Jolie since Gia). It goes without saying I'm thrilled they've finally done a movie together - though it looks like it sucks. So disappointed....I'm also a big fan of Nia Long. She's gorgeous (and talented!)

5 things that inspire me:
1. Good books and movies (non-fiction or fiction)
2. My family and friends
3. People living passionately (particularly creative people)
4. People making a difference
5. This might sound weird but the fact that I won't be around one day inspires me to try and live life to the fullest and to do something of substance so I can leave behind a.....legacy or something for future generations of my family (and family-to-be).

And I have to add a 6th - I'm extremely inspired by traveling. I love going to new places, learning about new cultures, trying new foods, meeting new people...I love seeing how people outside of where I'm from live.

how do you feel about your upcoming move to india?
Oh my gosh. Right now I'm pretty excited. I know it's happening but it doesn't feel like it's really happening to me yet...so it's easy for me to get lost in thoughts of visiting the Taj Mahal and buying beautiful fabrics and going to amazing beaches and stuff....but ask me again in a month and I'm certain I'll be scared shitless thinking about Delhi belly and living in a city with 18.6 million people.....

what inspired you to make this move?
Working in International Development is something I've wanted to pursue for a few years and I've always wanted to live abroad. When I was laid off from my entertainment job and thinking about what I wanted to do next this seemed like the perfect time to explore this new path. But the decision didn't come easy. A year might not be a long time but it was still a big decision. I've given up my apartment, donated lots of stuff I owned and put the rest in storage. I'll be leaving my friends and family including my big sister who is preganant with her first child (my first niece or nephew!) who is actually due the week AFTER I'm scheduled to arrive in India. I'll also be leaving my dog (with family). I adore my dog and will miss him tremendously.

But shortly before making this decision I read the book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller & "Who Will Cry When You Die" by Robin Sharma. These books both inspired me to go ahead with this decision.

A very special thank you to Kay for being the first girl who inspires!


Deck the table.

Clockwise from top left.

Christmas light plates, West Elm- $29 for 4
Glen plaid collection, Ralph Lauren - Starts at $27.99
Winter dot canape plates, West Elm - $22 for 4

Which plate would you deck your table with?