Saturday, December 31, 2011

looking back.

every year at the end of december, i think about how i can be better in the next year. the 'resolutions' are always the same. lose weight. eat better. exercise more. lose weight. blah blah blah. [side note: i definitely need to do those things, but shouldn't 'resolutions' be goals about my life as a whole and not about my waistline? more on goals tomorrow.] i never really build the resolutions on my present self, i just think about what i should be doing since i didn't think i did anything in the present year. it wasn't until i came across holly becker's post that i realized i haven't been giving the present year the recognition it deserved. she says "sadly, some get rather down over a year ending because they feel another year has escaped them - they somehow didn’t manage all they had hoped to, they’re getting older, life is passing them by, etc. do you feel this way right now?"

yes! yes i do!

i decided to take holly's advice and make a list of things i accomplished this year:

traveled to las vegas, louisville and nashville - all for the first time.
quit the corporate world for the creative world.
expanded my camera collection & photography portfolio.
adopted two beautiful kittens.
met grace bonney of design*sponge.
got a new car.
sent christmas cards out for the first time.
completed a few refurbished/diy projects.
shot/wrote a review on incubus.
got business cards.
went to lolla and warped tour.
moved into a new apartment in the city with a.
biked the boardwalk into downtown.
flea-marketed in shipshewana.
finally saw death cab for cutie live.
got a freelance job planning an event in evanston.

making this list made me feel much more comfortable with starting a fresh new year. bring on 2012!

if you feel the way i did and want to look back at your accomplishments, i encourage you to make your own list - either in my comment section or in your journal :]

have a safe & happy night ringing in the new year <3

Friday, December 30, 2011

recap friday*.

these past two weeks have been a whirlwind of work, family time, road trips, presents & love. both a. and i visited family back in michigan, came back to work/celebrate christmas, and then were visited by mi madre & my little cousin.

here are a couple of snapshots taken amongst all the wonderful craziness.


1. decorating christmas cookies at my ma's house. see a.'s hangman cookie? priceless.

2. the best surprise of all - given to my ma :] [more to come, soon!]

3. a new addition to a.'s extended family.

4. my man lookin' sharp.

5. cherokee [my little cousin] & i battling it out on the wii.

6. the holiday light show in vernon hills.

*recap friday is a post i am going to start doing every friday to showcase my week through six photos :]

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

house tour - christmas edition!

seeing how there are only four more days until christmas, i thought it would be fitting to post the christmas edition of our house tour :]


a. and i wanted a big, real christmas tree this year - but since our kittens have never experience the holiday season before, we figured it would be a smart decision to just get a small one [side note: the kittens have done good so far... they've only knocked it down once!]. the crates ended up being the perfect stand for the presents and the tree.


call me crazy, but i am obsessed with matching the wrapping paper to the the tree and to the holiday decor. i wrapped everything in red/white or brown paper - then a. came along and wrapped his things in lime green. oh well, still looks good, i suppose ;]


why yes, that IS a peace sign made out of pipe cleaners.


details make the space, and these two are my favorite.


my red bookcase got a little makeover when mi madre sent me that white owlie oil diffuser. isn't it the cutest? the wall opposite of the kitchen was looking a bit bare, so i added some frames & some icicles.


the clipboards are a bit more cheerful now that they hold holiday pictures and our stockings :] the lone window was the perfect place to hang snowflakes and put some trinkets.


in order to bring the color red into the kitchen, i opted to get holiday poinsettias instead of regular flowers. our dining room now holds a couple books, a vintage mirror and porcelain birds. oh, and sweets, too!

i just love decorating for christmas :] 

are you finished with your home and your tree? i would love to see pictures!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

holiday gift guide!

there are only 14 days left until christmas... have you gotten all your shopping done? if you have, more power to you! if you haven't, then maybe you'll enjoy and get some new ideas from the small gift guide i put together :]

this iphone cover looks so real, i almost clicked 'add to cart' before i read what it actually was! it's a perfect stocking stuffer for the photographer in your family.

the astor bead and link necklace from jessLC is light, quaint and perfect for your little sister or best friend. if you don't like the sky blue color, it comes in a honey color, as well as a cherry color.

i am so, so excited about diane keaton's new book 'then again'. in it she explains her complicated relationships with her mother, woody allen and al pacino. this book is the quintessential gift for your mother or grandmother [or anyone who loves diane keaton, like me!].

i don't know about you, but i always lose my headphones. and when i find them, they're always in the most random spots. what better way to keep your headphones safe, than with a headphone holder! or better yet, give the gift of color with urbanears. perfect for any music-loving teen.

why not give the gift of music? michael buble's new christmas album is heaven. i have had it on constant repeat.

while we're on the subject of music, who wouldn't love this beatles poster? just saying...

i found these owl measuring cups from west elm on pinterest and almost had a seizure - they are so stinking cute!

have a person on your list that doesn't need or want anything? bake them something! these eggnog cupcakes with spiced rum frosting will please anyone & everyone :]

i had so much fun making this list - hopefully you had just as much fun reading it!

good luck christmas shopping, everyone!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

the fact that chicago does not have snow yet, hasn't stopped us from getting into the christmas spirit. we have been decorating the house, watching christmas movies & making christmas lists and plans. below are some of my holiday pictures from the last week via instagram :]



within the next week, i will be giving an in-depth christmas edition house tour, so you can see all our spirit! i am also working on a gift guide post for everyone in your family. originally i wanted to post a wishlist like i did for my birthday, but what fun is that for everyone else who reads it? inspirational ideas for others is so much more exciting, so stay tuned for that!

have you begun your christmas decorating? i would love to see pictures! you can send them to me at tttbelll [at] gmail [dot] com :]

Monday, November 28, 2011

music monday.

i have listened to 'the lights and buzz' by jack's mannequin many, many times, but for some reason i had never acknowledged the fact that it is kind of a christmas song. that's until i listened to it on this christmas cd... 'gift-wrapped: 20 songs that keep on giving' [which is an amazing and quirky holiday cd].

looking at it, you would think that it had christmas classics by dean martin or dolly parton [i don't know, just go with it...], but once you push play, you're pleasantly surprised by the quirkyness of it. it has upbeat remakes by regina spektor, my chemical romance, and tyler hilton - as well as originals from melee and relient k. if you're into country, the cd even has songs from randy travis and george strait :]

so if you get tired of the same ole' christmas songs that play over and over on the radio, check this album out - you won't be disappointed!

Friday, November 25, 2011

house tour - dining room edition!

the time has finally come to show you all our dining room and kitchen! it took us an extremely long time to finally find everything and put it together [and we're not done - we still need bar stools!], but we're so excited and proud of it thus far. hope you like it as much as we do :]


this table was once our coffee table. a. cut the legs off of it and put new ones on - then i shabby-chic-ed it with white and gray paint, and polyurethaned it. we found these amazing bruno chairs on craigslist a couple weeks ago [for a steal!].


i found this woven rug at anthroplogie - it's actually a table cloth, but the pattern and thickness was perfect for the floor. the 'gather' banner was something i made a week or so ago for thanksgiving - but i love it so much, i may keep it up there permanently!


these chairs were found at a little garage sale near work - i really wanted four but couldn't pass up the two, especially at such a good price. i set these at the far end of the room with two vintage suitcases, to create a sitting space for extra friends who come over.


this kitchen shelf is one of my favorite things in our house. it's super simple, but i love that i can change it up whenever i feel like it. the new orleans sign was found at a flea market - i'm fancy and adam gambles... it's perfect! the clipboards were an idea i stole from pinterest, all furnished with pictures i took.


i know it's weird to take a picture of one's fridge, but i couldn't wait to show off my instagrams magnets from stickygram! you just log in to your instagram account, choose the pictures you want and then wait a week or two for them to show up at your door. i love them.

you have now seen the living areas of our home - next up will be our master bedroom! it is basically done, but i found some things via pinterest that i would love to add... so stay tuned for that! :]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

giving thanks.

happy turkey day! thanksgiving isn't just about food, football and friends - it's also about appreciating the big and small things in your life.

i am thankful for:

my mother's unconditional love.

the smiles our kittens bring to my face.

the change of the seasons.

our home.

my pretty new car.

the upcoming christmas season.

soy dirty chai's.

our friends - near and far.


what are you thankful for? <3

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

happy turkey day!

hope everyone has a safe, fun & filling holiday <3

Monday, November 21, 2011

apology + music monday.

so it's 8:00 [at night] and i feel like a complete loser for not posting my dining room tour like i said i would. we had a little leakage underneath our kitchen sink, so everything is out on the counter air-drying. ugh - im sorry! instead, i have decided to post it when it is decorated for thanksgiving. can you wait that long? :]

back to the [late] music monday post...

today my friend kate posted a video on my facebook wall. it was this song by the crane wives. i listened to ten seconds of it and was hooked. after that, i spotified and listened to their whole album. to me, they are a mix of the head and the heart, and the civil wars. needless to say, i am forever a fan ['october' is my favorite song <3]. but it gets better - i learned that the whole band is from west michigan! primarily, grand rapids! [side note: i stalked their facebook fan page, and i am pretty sure i have met/have talked to/have seen almost everyone in the group. crazy.]

so if have spotify/youtube or are in the grand rapids area, check the crane wives out - you won't regret it. if you have listened to the album, what is your favorite song on it?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


all week, i have been working diligently towards finishing our living room. not only because thanksgiving is coming up, but also because several people have asked to see the finished product on my blog.

well, the wait is almost over. i think by the end of the week, everything will be set to show!

until then, here are a couple of photos to whet your appetite :]

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