time traveling

every once in a while i have a day where i enjoy retracing my steps…time traveling a bit. lately, i’ve been thinking back to our honeymoon. since my husband’s family was unable to fly to the states for the wedding, we chose to travel to them for the honeymoon. the majority of our time was spent in a quiet farm town in germany with oma and opa, but we  fit in a couple roadtrips to visit aunts, uncles and cousins in trier and koln. we even managed to get away on our own to visit the czech republic. ah prague, it stole my heart…a fascinating city although i do suggest taking public transportation. however, the 20 year old german map from oma’s house might have been the reason for my deciphering difficulties; mainly because i don’t speak a lick of german or czech.

public transportation prague

finally, after what seemed to be forever (and accidentally driving through a tram station where an old man shook his umbrella angrily at us), we arrived at our hotel, located just yards away from the foot of the stunning charles bridge. each afternoon, painters and street performers fight for space with throngs of tourists. our last morning, we woke up before the dawn to catch these shots.

charles bridge - prague

after our boat trip along the river we booked reservations at kampa park. we chose a a candlelit table on the cobblestoned terrace, draped in fairy lights right beside the river. the lights of charles bridge glittering on the water. being a foodie, i have dined at quite a few upscale restaurants. i’m unsure if it was the amazing wine or the insane view, but this has gone down as the best meal of my life thus far. after dark it became a bit chilly, so i cozied up with the cashmere blanket on the back of my chair and topped the evening off with a delicious cappuccino.

boat trip along the vltavalennon wall in prague

after dinner, the blue light jazz club and an old english pub (the name i don’t recall) became our haunts of choice. after many a staropramen, we’d slowly make our way back to our bed and breakfast, only to start another adventure the following day.

farmers market in prague

little did i realize this would be one of the last chances the boy and i would have to slip away together before children. and although this european getaway was not the typical balmy exotic island, lined with palm trees and coconuts honeymoon, i wouldn’t trade it for the world. it was an amazing adventure that i will revisit in my mind again and again. til we meet again prague.

fabulous photo booth fun

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i don’t know about you, but when i see a vintage dip and dunk chemical photo booth i get giddy with excitement. i’ve always adored them, but growing up in a rural community, they were not plentiful. i vividly remember finding one on a class trip to six flags great america and blowing every penny i had. dragging classmate after classmate into that little booth, sitting on the wobbly stool, pulling the red curtain closed and making silly faces or sticking out our tongues…then waiting 5 mins for that whirring noise and receiving a strip of 4 black and white photos. memories and friendships being held in my hand.

for me, analog instant photography has been a great outlet for creative experimentation. all my life, i’ve been obsessed with cameras, film and photography, but i’m one of those people that needs instant gratification. my polaroid cameras helped fulfill that instant need but after renting a vintage chemical booth for my wedding, i knew i had to have one of my own. don’t get me wrong, i’m not above jumping in a digital smilebooth and hamming it up with the best of them, but there is something special and unique about a vintage film photo booth.

photobooth

 

after completing an extensive google search, i quickly found that vintage chemical photo booths were kinda hard to come by…especially booths in working condition. the search was quickly narrowed down to one company, mainly because they own the market…google pointed me to a&a studios located in chicago. i guess they were surprised when i said i wanted to buy one just for me…apparently no one does that. they also warned me that these machines were a bit tricky and needed some tender loving care (insert they are really, really fussy) to keep them in working order, but we all agreed, nothing compared to the strip of 4 images on film, so i drove to their studio on ogden ave. and found my machine in their basement storage room…an old model 20 that looked so decrepit and janky, but beautiful at the same time. and so began the build.

i didn’t realize that these machines were so heavy! they can weight over 800 lbs. since it was going to live in the basement, our main objective was devising a plan on how to get it in the house and not have the stairs collapse. anthony, a former architect and now a&a’s owner, decided it should be 4 separate pieces…the floor, the ceiling, the sitting area, and the machine itself.

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the night before delivery day was unbearable. i was excited, i was nervous…i couldn’t believe this booth was going to be mine all mine. it took a few hours and three guys to haul it into the house, get it down the stairs, leveled out and set up. anthony and another awesome guy who works for him — rob — ran me though the chemicals, camera, film, heater and other gizmos…i felt a little overwhelmed, but jumped in head first. ever since we have been making family memories day after day after day. i’ve been able to photograph the dude and little maus monthly and i think it is going to make for an amazing family photo album.

boothBuild2a

it’s playlist thursday on tuesday!

it’s been a couple weeks since i posted a “what i’m listening to today…” blog post. as john cusack says in high fidelity, “the making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. you gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. there are a lot of rules.” it’s hard to make a playlist quickly, but here is what i’ve whipped up for you today…this is what has been on heavy rotation on my iPod.

house of hipsters — front room

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blank slates can be exciting and overwhelming to a person who is not a professional interior designer such as myself. when we first moved into our home three years ago, the entire house was every shade of pink: rose, salmon, fuchsia…it was ugly folks! in fact, we almost didn’t look at it based off the way it showed online. thank god we did because now, i love our space. However, before moving, we knew that pink had to go. we hired a painter, picked a few random colors out of a swatch book and hoped for the best. the space we were moving into was much larger then our townhome, so it was rather empty on moving day. now, three years later, we finally feel we have a nicely edited space to call home that i’d like to share with you.

the artwork in the front room seems to be a revolving door, but i think we finally have something solid that we both love, love, love. i found these photos by lani lee at FAME Chicago’s private opening. being a lover of all things mug shots, these photos really stood out for me. i had them framed at April’s Seven in Wicker Park, and let me tell you, Martin (the shop’s owner) did some really fantastic work. i was like a giddy little school girl when i first opened them up…oh, who am i kidding, i still am over the moon with this purchase! these puppies are seriously badass.

the sofa is made by gus modern, and get this, i got it off of craigslist. find of the century! the coffee table and wooden box are also both vintage craigslist finds. the sofa came with a chair, but that is in a different room slated for a different blog post. the chairs were probably the most difficult purchase for me, and if i had it my way, i’d have a redo. i wanted authentic mcm furniture, but finding 2 matching chairs that i loved was taking too much time for me. i went online to south of urban and ordered 2 chairs with custom fabric swatches. this process at the time was convenient, but i really wish i would have found some fabu find with a story to tell. the floor lamp is from pottery barn, while the table lamp is from mod pieces. the side table is from room and board.

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after we moved in, i started watching hgtv like a mad woman. i fell in love with emily henderson’s tv show secrets from a stylist. she is really great at breaking down a room and explaining how to create a well edited space. you may recall reading my nightstand post where i expressed my love for all things emily henderson. if we ever met, we would seriously be best friends forever and shopping buddies for life. the woman has great style, is a flea market guru, and cute as a button.

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emily’s show taught me to wrangle my coffee table items onto a tray. i chose this one. i like the brass accent handles, wood and marble. the antlers are from yarn bombed antlers and the clock is vintage.

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the vase is target by nate berkus that i randomly found on clearance for $4 while grocery shopping…total and complete score! and the wishbone is from jayson home and garden.

so what do you guys think? is it ready to be submitted to apartment therapy, or do i have a ways to go? i personally think it needs a bit more styling help, but i am just at a loss. maybe i just need to hire emily. all my styling problems will be solved and my bff dreams will come true.

quest for the perfect smoothie

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while pregnant with little maus, every morning i would waddle myself over to the loop juice counter in the french market. craving everything fresh and healthy, one day the owner asked me if i wanted to dip my toes into the green smoothie waters. i hesitated at first, but he assured me it wasn’t too earthy and suggested a couple chunks of mango to sweeten the deal. slowly drawing the straw to my lips, i was pleasantly surprised this crazy concoction did not taste like grass. in fact, it was quite delicious! my trips to loop juice became a morning ritual until 2 weeks before my due date i was told by my doctor that she was putting me on bedrest.

i returned to work after almost 4 months of maternity leave and immediately started to feel overwhelmed with work life and daily life. trying to find balance after baby, i became run down, tired, cranky, forgetful and stressed to the max. my weight loss had plateaued, and i was down right frustrated with everything and everyone, including myself. a complete lifestyle change needed to be made and the only person that could make that change was me. not knowing where to start, i thought back to my morning walk to the french market. i needed to put breakfast back into my life. little did i know, this would be the (small) first step of many to my new healthier self.

i dug through the cabinets, pulled out our old blender and added ingredients i thought would be yummy. plop, plop, plop into the cup it went…hmmm, this was a lot chunkier then expected. first sip was spit out immediately…yuckers! dear lord what was this garbage? it was completely awful! ok, family adventure to abt was in order! look out visa card, here comes a big fat charge for the fancy pants vitamix blender! let me tell ya folks, this thing churns out a chunk free smoothies like nobody’s business! seriously, this thing is amazing and super easy to clean. i was a bit reluctant since you cannot wash the vitamix in the dishwasher, but the sales woman taught me THE secret. rinse it out, fill with hot water, add a drop of dawn and blend. shiny and new in under 2 minutes! now you are in the know as well.

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i’ve blended many different versions of the morning smoothie. the green monster seems to be the one i always come back to. even the boy has been requesting them…woah, that is a feat! i’ve found it beneficial to add lemon juice to all of my green drinks, and always remove the stems from your kale…it will help with the bitterness. i’m not a big fan of banana but have managed just fine without them. recently i was told by my acupuncturist to add protein to my morning smoothies to cut down on 10am hunger attacks. i never have an exact recipe…i just eyeball it. here are some of my morning favorites.

THE GREEN MONSTER
kale (stems removed)
blueberries
mango
orange
coconut water
little bit of honey
nice squirt of lemon juice

BERRY COCONUT SMOOTHIE
strawberries
blueberries
raspberries
coconut water
egg white protein powder
honey

PINEAPPLE GINGER SMOOTHIE
pineapple
orange
ginger (a little goes a long way)
vanilla almond milk
chia seeds
egg white protein powder
honey