Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On The Move...

So it's official, we are packing up our place in Chicago...
 and heading back to my home city of Cincinnati.
There are so many things I will miss about Chicago:
  1. My friends
  2. The nightlife
  3. Public transportation
  4. The food
  5. The lake
  6. Walking everywhere
But there are some things I can't wait for in Cincinnati:
  1. Being near my family
  2. Trees
  3. A slower pace
  4. Being able to drive somewhere without having a nervous breakdown
  5. Being in my hometown (no matter where I lived, I still always called Cincinnati home)
  6. Buying our first house! 
  7. Graeter's ice cream :)

Seriously though, I cannot wait to get our home. Admittedly, we are both are pretty clueless when it comes to all of the leg work it's going to take to find the perfect house. But we've been saving and planning and we know we are making the right move for ourselves, our future and our family-to-be (hopefully!). 

So, of course, in preparation for that, I have been hunting Cincinnati real estate sites as well as all of my favorite home blogs for ideas for our house and how I want to decorate. Sure, I'm putting the cart before the horse, but isn't that the fun part? 

I absolutely love everything about the house below. Especially the kitchen. Too bad it's not in the school district we want. 

Wow, back when I was having porch parties on my deck in Wrigleyville, who knew a few short years later I'd be talking school districts? Times change but even better times are yet to come! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years.

Ten years. In some ways it has flown by, in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago. I can still remember exactly what I did that morning. I can remember how everyone came together in those months afterward. Bonded by our fear, our sadness, our strength. A nation united.

But years go by and the day-to-day struggles in life take over. As I sit watching documentaries on the firefighters of 9/11 and the families of victims left behind, it makes me feel so foolish for all of the insignificant little things that I let overshadow my life. Those people in the Towers and those who responded are the best of humanity -- the compassion, the selflessness, the hope.

As the faces of the firefighters who died during 9/11 flash across my screen,  I can't help but think, what are we doing to honor the sacrifice they made? Would they be happy with what our country has become? Fighting about our economy, acting like children arguing over a toy? Worshipping celebrities who are famous for nothing? Senselessly hurting our neighbors for no good reason?

We are better than that. For those who died on 9/11, we should be better than that. For those who will come after us, we need to be better than that. When was the last time you showed the selflessness that those men and women showed on that fateful Tuesday? Giving up your seat for someone on the train?  Helped your neighbor carry in their groceries? Simply saying good morning to the person behind the counter at the coffee shop?

Those brave men and women of 9/11 died so people they had never met could survive and get back to their families. Surely we can do small things in our daily lives.

Victims of 9/11
On this 10th anniversary, let's not just remember the bad that happened but see through the sorrow the good people who lost their lives on that day. Let's challenge ourselves to be better for them, for those who didn't get a chance to live to their full potential. Let's be the great nation that we can be -- showing that together we can do anything. If everyone had the mindset those firefighters had on that fateful day think of all the good we could accomplish.

One firefighter so eloquently said, "The legacy should not be of sadness. The legacy should be humanity and the resilience of life." What legacy are we leaving post 9/11? Only we can decide. Hug your family. Love your neighbors. Live your legacy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Decor by the numbers

I wanted to make our wedding decor as personal as possible. From the minute we started planning the wedding, I knew music was going to be a big theme. It started with our Save the Date and carried through to the reception decor, including the table numbers.

Instead of using traditional numbers, we decided to make each table one of our favorite singers/bands. So I scoured Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics for ways to display the numbers until I found these wood frames.

They were the perfect size, but still needed a lot of work. Thanks to the master carpentry skills of my Uncle Art, we created wooden triangles for the back so that they were sturdy enough to stand on the tables. After they were all constructed, it was time to paint. Our colors were charcoal gray and yellow. The table linens, chair sashes and the girls dresses were all charcoal, so I wanted to incorporate pops of color as much as possible. So yellow they became! I chose Valspar Yellow, mainly because it was all they had at Lowe's. But it worked perfectly. 

Then it was time to choose the bands to include in the frames. We opted for photos of album covers that featured the bands' names -- so they could be more easily identified by guests. We chose bands that were important in our relationship (Michael McDonald) as well as our individual favorites. While Ryan chose bands such as Metallica, Van Halen and the Beatles, I opted to stay true to my boy band roots with New Kids on the Block, New Edition and 'NSync. Oh yes, I did. So I resized images of the selected clovers to  3.5" x 3.5" then adhered them to foam board and VIOLA! 

To further insure that guests could find their table, we added numbers in the corner. After much debate with my mom, she convinced me to use these puffy number stickers that had a little glitter to them. I thought that would look awful but was so burnt out on wedding planning that I was tired of thinking. So we went with her idea. 

I will admit, they were the best idea. They looked fabulous. See how nice the numbers looked in the corner? 

 I couldn't have been happier with how the table numbers turned out. 

Courtesy of Leppert Photography
And it seems that our guests agreed!