Wednesday, August 1, 2012

30 Before 30...Day of Reckoning.

I've been behind on updating my 30 before 30 progress and enough people have asked about it, that I figured it was time to settle up on the list. I turned 30 a few weeks ago on July 7, 2012, and let me tell you, it was spectacular. I'd like to say I just woke up in bed at home feeling wiser and generally more awesome, but that would be a lie. I woke up on my 30th birthday in a tree house suite (upgraded because I happened to mention my birthday fell on the following day) in the middle of the Belizean wilderness. My boyfriend nailed my birthday celebration with a weeklong trip to Belize filled with secluded island SCUBA diving, Howler Monkey interaction, wild crocodile viewing, zip lining, mayan ruin touring and the best ceviche I've ever eaten.

So how did I do? 24 out of 30 isn't so bad, right?

The most important thing I gained from this experience is the motivation to get out there and try new things. Sounds hokey, but that sums it up. I would always say things like "Oh, I should really do that." and it never happened. The time constraints gave me the motivation I needed to actually pursue these awesome activities. This is a tactic I will employ in the future to make sure I'm getting the most out of the world around me. I hope you're inspired to go after your own list.

1. Join CrossFit. (Completed March 24, 2012) I'm five months in, I've got some pretty serious guns, and I know what a burpee is now (wish I didn't).
2. Get out of debt completely.  (Completed July 7, 2012) This feels great.  Enough said.
3. Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry. Thank you Amanda Keidan of Amanda Keidan Jewelry for making this happen.  I've worn my beautiful custom ring everyday since.
4. Take a Bikram yoga class.  (Completed March 25, 2012) It was so hot, but I didn't quit.  Mission accomplished.
5. Go SCUBA diving. (Completed December 2011)  This opened up a whole new world to me.
6. Get certified in Open Water Diving SCUBA.  (Completed July 9, 2012-I'm counting it) I am so comfortable in the water now and had the great pleasure of seeing a sea turtle, barracuda and sting ray.  I've got a new hobby now.
7. Come up with 30 great vegetarian/pescetarian recipes that I can make everyday. Well, this was a bust.  I came up with about three that I wrote down.  I've got to work on this for the end of the year.
8. Go to a shooting range and learn how to shoot. (Completed May 25, 2012)  I thought this would be a lot more exciting.  I don't think I need to do this again.
9. Drive myself or do a ride-a-long in a race car. (Completed May 26, 2012) See #8.  It's also really expensive.
10. Try absinthe. I knew this would be one that I completely forgot about.
11. Get my nephew to call me by my Auntie name "Essie". (Completed April 15, 2012) This was very exciting, but now every time he sees me on Facetime, he says "Oogy?".  That's one of my dogs....I've been replaced by a German Shepard.
12. Enter a design competition. (Completed March 31, 2012) I'm really glad I did this, and will certainly do another in the future.
13. Learn how to bake a great chocolate cake. (Completed April 8, 2012) Nailed this one.  It was so delicious!
14. Go hot air ballooning. (Completed June 24, 2012) I can't say enough good things about this.  Do it at some point in your life.
15. Learn 100 words in Hebrew. I am a horrible girlfriend to my Israeli boyfriend.  I never did this, and I think I know maybe 10 words.
16. Get acupuncture. I purchased the Groupon and then never went.  I'm still planning on going.
17. Reach 150 followers and 2000 pins on Pinterest.  Didn't get even close to this.  130 followers and 1400 pins.  Were my board names not compelling enough?
18. Take the Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Oak Park. (Completed May 19, 2012) Can't believe I waited so long to do this.  I had a great time and learned so much.
19. Visit the Farnsworth House in Plano, IL. (Completed June 17, 2012) This was great for several reasons including the obvious awesome architecture.  I went with my parents which is always a fun and hilarious time, and we also enjoyed a short nature walk leading up to the house.
20. 7-Day Juice Cleanse.  (Completed May 27, 2012) I don't need to do this again.  I almost passed out at Crossfit, and that's just not worth it no matter what the nutritional benefits are.
21. Volunteer at 'The Plant'. (Completed May 19, 2012)  I love the concept of of this group.  I had a good experience, but I probably won't be back regularly due to time constraints.
22. Go to a Baha'i service. (Completed March 20, 2012) This was cool.  Religion is an interesting arena, and I'm always interested in different viewpoints. 
23. Watch 'The Exorcist'. (Completed May 18, 2012) I feel better about myself for finally watching this.  How I'd gotten this far in life without seeing it is beyond me.
24. Create a great bar set up-cart, booze, mixers, accessories. Turns out this is an expensive endeavor, but I've enjoyed many a key lime martini and St. Germaine infused champagne cocktail in my limited selection.
25. Milk a cow. (Completed June 16, 2012) LOVED doing this.  We actually had a whole tour of a dairy farm along with the milking.  I did find out some things I was really disappointed to know about, and it is informing my more extensive education on the dairy industry.
26. Visit the Holocaust museum in Skokie, IL.  (Completed May 28, 2012-Memorial Day)  Moving and extremely well designed.  It amazes me that human beings have the capacity to treat each other so horribly. 
27. Eat an ostrich egg. (Completed April 8, 2012) Delicious and such a fun activity cracking it open!
28. Do WWOOF. (Completed April 7, 2012) I felt super crunchy, and that's a good thing!
29. Go to a MMA fight. (Completed April 13, 2012) I probably won't do this again, but I had a great time hanging out with my Dad while watching.
30. Buy a lotto ticket once a week until my birthday. (Completed July 7, 2012) Well, I didn't win.  Lesson learned.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


(The Hoop House)

I've got a back log a mile long of 30 before 30 posts to deliver to you, so I'll start with the least recent...WWOOF-ing #28.

WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It's pretty much as it sounds-you have the opportunity to volunteer on an organic farm...anywhere in the world. This is a win win for both parties-small organic farmers get free labor and the chance to spread the word about organic farming, and volunteers have the opportunity to learn about organic farming in all its blood, sweat and tears glory and get a tasty lunch, or free accommodations if you stay multiple days.

I decided to try it out one unseasonably warm Saturday in April at a local organic family farm about an hour's drive from Chicago. I put on my most serious organic farming clothes (Lululemon cargo pants and a t-shirt with the word "Brentwood"(California) on it) that said "I'm ready to get dirty, but I'm going to look stylin' and privileged while doing it." I also thought ahead about my hydration needs and brought a water bottle from the Food Allergy Initiative benefit I volunteered at because I want the world to know that while children are starving in Africa, there are children on the North Shore of Chicago that needed a word for "picky". I kid, I kid. allergies are really scary.

Once I had my nonchalant look together, I rolled into my host farm and set about locating my host farmer. For the purposes of this post, I will call him Jack...okay, I just forgot his name. Jack gave me a rundown of the farm and what had led him to organic farming. His interest started with a desire to bring native grasses back to the area and has evolved into the breeding and selling of fainting goats, turkeys, fryer chickens, laying chickens, rabbits (for pets and meat), ducks and a delicious assortment of organic vegetables. Along with the help of Campbell the farm dog, we moved mobile chicken and turkey houses to fresh pasture; hence the name "pasture raised", collected eggs, refilled everyone's water (they don't have cool water bottles for turkeys), and planted row upon row of radishes.

You might be wondering what fainting goats are...don't worry, I never intended to gloss over these ridiculous animals. Besides being incredibly cute, they have the worst natural instincts of any animal I know of. When they feel scared, threatened or anxious, their back legs freeze up, and they fall over. Fight or flight? How about f**ked? (Sorry for the language Dad) I mean, damn goat, get your act together.

My experience with radish planting was both a learning experience and also richly rewarding. Radish seedlings come in pallets divided into cells, and you want to make sure you're only planting the largest seedling per planting hole. This means you pull the smaller little seedlings out to give the large seedling the best chance at thriving without competition (the fainting goats and radishes need to have a talk about their survival tactics). What are those seedlings and where do they go? Those are the micro greens that you see on finer restaurant menus and which ended up in my salad for lunch. Delicious!

As for the company? I had a lovely French gal along side me during the chicken watering and radish planting, who had been there about two weeks, and who'd come from an organic farm in Canada and was on her way to a goat cheese farm in the south after her stint here. She was basically earning her keep and moving from farm to farm across Canada and the United States and waiting out the bad economy back home. I loved her.

Was it worth my time? Would I do it again? Absolutely. And you should too. Sign up at for more information on how to get involved. Knowing where your food comes from and how it's produced is an invaluable experience. Thoughtful consumption connects us to our community-both local and international.

Here's a photo of my organic helper, Campbell.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MMA Tourney.

Most of you have questioned some items on my 30 before 30 list, and this next item definitely falls under that category.  Attending an MMA fight somehow made it onto my list-maybe it was seeing 'Warrior', maybe it's my secret desire to watch people bleed, at any rate an MMA tournament went down last Friday night at the Copernicus Theater in Chicago, and I was there to witness it.  Fearing for my safety (because those crazy fighters are likely to jump out of the cage and attack me at will) and due to the lack of interest my friends had of attending with me, my 62 year old Father joined me.  

I'll get to the actual fight in a minute, but my Dad was a particular highlight of the evening.  Dressed in pressed khaki pants, loafers, a pale lemon yellow checked button down under a cornflower blue cotton sweater, my Dad could not have looked more out of place.  Walking around the lobby munching on a slice of pizza and drinking a plastic cup of Polish beer, we must have been quite the sight.

When we eventually found our seats through the tattooed highly stylized crowd, the action began.  From our mezzanine seats we had a bit of trouble seeing some of the finer points of the fight, so we both whipped out our iPhones and looked up magnifying glass apps (me) and opera glasses apps (my Dad).  Neither of these really worked out, so we settled in for the series of fights.  This is what went down in mostly every fight:

  • Classy young women in maximum coverage hot pants and bras flash the round number to the crowd.
  • Fighter swaggers down the aisle to the cage on stage to his personal fight song, followed by his giant posse of handlers, coaches and sponsors.
  • The next fighter follows suit, and they meet in the cage.
  • They kick, punch, and hold each other on the ground until someone taps out.  Highlights at this stage: someone got punched in the head and bled all over himself, the other guy and the cage.  In another round, a guy had to try standing up four times before he actually made it.
  • The winner does a little fist pump, jumps on the cage, or something similar, and hugs it out with the loser.
  • The emcee acts really interested in the winner and ask all sorts of fascinating questions.
  • The winner does a shout out to his sponsors, and a group of meat heads somewhere in the audience whoops it up.
  • Repeat.
We left a little early to beat the parking lot traffic, and my Dad gave me one last amusing anecdote before he drove off in his Mercedes.  As he's trying to back out of his space, he realizes the car behind him is a little close.  This necessitates a little maneuvering.  Three young guys offer their assistance as my Dad Austin Powers' his way to freedom.  I giggle as I rock out to indie beats on 93XRT.

Lessons learned: MMA tournaments are not terribly interesting or exciting, but attending any event with my Dad is enormously humorous. 

That's Essie to you.

There's nothing quite like hearing your nephew say your name for the first time, and this past weekend my nephew Charlie gave me that satisfaction.  We often skype or facetime on the weekends, so it's a great opportunity for me to see the little man grow up, see his newest toys and even sing the alphabet song together. Okay, that was mostly me singing, but Charlie was thrilled.  One of the items on my 30 before 30 list was to have Charlie learn my Auntie name, which is Essie (Aunt Stephanie is hard to say and just sounds bad anyway).  When asked to say it, he clearly (and I think lovingly) said "ESSIE!".  Made my week.  He's also ahead of schedule (my birthday is July 7), which makes him the smartest almost 20 month old ever.  Then again, he also says "poop" when referring to a skateboard...

I love you little man.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Liquid Sunshine.

Who hasn't thought about the importance of a great looking watering can?  Here's a great option from Terrain for $34.  If you haven't checked out Terrain's online shop please do.  Or if you live in CT or PA, then visit them in person.

Chocolate Fix.

One of my greatest loves is a great slice of chocolate cake.  Along with a cold glass of milk, nothing quite hits the spot.  I consider myself somewhat of a chocolate cake connoisseur, and take every opportunity I can to "educate" myself on this subject.  I am not, however, a great baker, so I haven't attempted to make my own chocolate cake from scratch.  I decided this would be the perfect item to add to my 30 before 30 list, so it comes in at #13. 

The lucky recipients of this trial were my family and boyfriend on Easter Sunday.  They all enjoyed a slice that day and gave it rave reviews.  My Mother loved that the frosting wasn't too sweet, something that's a downside for her with cake.  We took half the cake home with the intention to distribute it to our work colleagues but...well, my good intentions didn't pan out.  I ate a slice (a big one too) of cake every morning for breakfast for a week and even managed to do a double one day when I dropped in for a quick lunch at my parent's home and took a little slice of their leftovers (sorry Dad!). 

It took forever (I think around three hours start to finish), but I declare this trial a success!  Here's the recipe taken from Epicurious with one minor addition from me (mayo!).

Chocolate Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

For cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (I substituted bittersweet for unsweetened)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup mayonaise (regular, not non-fat)
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk

For frosting
2/3 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces and softened
8 oz milk chocolate, melted and cooled
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (again, I substitute bittersweet for unsweetened)

Make cake:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of parchment or wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl. Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes in a standing mixer or 4 to 5 minutes with a handheld. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add mayonaise.  Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined.

Divide batter between cake pans, spreading evenly, and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of each cake layer comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes.

Cool cake layers in pans on racks 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of each layer, then invert onto racks. Peel off paper and cool layers completely.

Make frosting:
Heat milk in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot. Whisk together yolks, flour, 1/3 cup confectioners sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then add hot milk in a stream, whisking. Transfer custard to saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking, 2 minutes (mixture will be very thick), then transfer to a large bowl. Cover surface of custard with a buttered round of wax paper and cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Add vanilla and remaining cup confectioners sugar to custard and beat with cleaned beaters at moderate speed until combined well, then increase speed to medium-high and beat in butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth. Add chocolates and beat until combined well.

Frost cake:
Halve each cake layer horizontally using a long serrated knife. Layer cake, using a heaping 1/2 cup frosting between each layer, then frost top and sides with remaining frosting.

Cooks' notes:
·Cake layers can be made (but not halved) 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature. ·Frosting can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature (do not use a microwave) and beat with an electric mixer before using. 

Easter Ostrich Egg.

This post is a bit delayed, but I had to tell you about my ostrich egg experience.  About 80% of the friends, family and colleagues I've spoken to about ostrich eggs think they're creepy, but I can say definitively that they are delicious!  Before I get into my personal experience, here are a few things you should know about ostrich eggs:

1. Compared to all birds and their eggs, ostrich eggs are the smallest relative to their size.
2. An ostrich egg weighs approximately 5 lbs.
3. An ostrich egg is equivalent to roughly two dozen chicken eggs.
4. Ostrich eggs are roughly the same amount of calories per serving as a chicken egg but are much lower in cholesterol. 

Now that you're up to speed on ostrich egg facts, let's get down to my story.

It starts with an online order to O.K. Corral Ostrich Farms for a large ostrich egg ($25 each). Go big or go home, right?  A few days later I receive a giant dinosaur looking egg at my office.  I poke it, I look at it, I run my fingers over its orange peel like shell.  I send a few family members photos of it.  I get it home where it sits in the fridge and awaits Easter when it will be turned into a veggie frittata for a family brunch.

Easter Sunday roles around, and the fun begins!  With my boyfriend documenting every step of the way, I crack the thing open with the aid of a hammer and flat head screw driver.  Dig out a large enough hole where I can peel open the protective membrane.  Then I release the contents of the giant egg into a bowl, where along with cheese and tons of vegetables it turns into a lovely frittata.  In all the excitement, I never got a photo of the final product, but trust me, it looked great.

Verdict from the three family members at the table and my boyfriend?  It was a hit! Was it because of my incredible culinary skills? Probably, but I'll give a little credit to the giant bird with the long neck that contributed to the endeavor.

Almost the size of my head.

A little concerned that this thing is going to explode.

Digging out a hole.

The membrane was so thick I had to really tear it open.

I'm not sure if the yolk ruptured en route to me, or if it's just really yellow.

That's a lot of egg.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Retail Spotlight: Alder & Co.

Maintaining a sophisticated yet casual, well designed yet comfortable home is no easy feat, but Alder & Co. makes it a whole lot simpler.  Below you'll find a few of my favorite things from the site, and you can also find many more of my favorites from Alder & Co. on my pinterest site.

I am on a continual search for the perfect mug, and now the 'Notary Mug' is a contender.  I would love to take my French press out of this in the morning, while dabbing at my mouth with a washed linen napkin...oh, Alder & Co. has that too.

'Matteo Linen Napkins' $58 for set of 4
There's nothing like the soft sophistication of washed linen.  They make a meal special, indoors or out, and encourage lingering around the table.  Add some soft lighting and you've created magic.  Speaking of creating magic...

It's all in the details, isn't it?  Why bring an uncouth box of strike anywhere matches to your dinner table, when you can express quiet elegance with this lovely box.

Speaking of everyday objects, why not bring great design to a hammer?  I know  I use a hammer nearly every day of my life (I have a lot of projects going on), so it would be quite nice to look at a thing of beauty while I'm making (or hanging) a thing of beauty. 

A kettle is an item that is nearly always visible on the stove top, so it is of utmost importance that it look beautiful (and well scrubbed) at all times.  I am guilty of having both an ugly looking kettle and a dirty kettle.  Perhaps this gorgeous kettle will inspire me to keep clean!

I could go on and on about this lovely site, but I'll let you explore further yourself.  Do let me know about your favorite items-I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Dog Cave.

There are many joys to having a dog, but the fur, mess and ugly cages are not among them.  We just moved to a new home, so I took the opportunity to design a simple solution that would house the dog's ugly metal cages in our enclosed front porch.  This is our main entrance for guests, so the last thing they want to walk into are two very large dog kennels.  The idea was simple: create a platform that would cover the cages, food and other dog essentials while allowing for air flow.  The other big added benefit is shade from the hot sun in the summer months.  For around $100, I cobbled together 4 planks of reclaimed old growth wood from The Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago and 6 4x4 'legs' from Home Depot.  The result is a much cleaner look and a cool 'cave' for two of our dogs to enjoy.  In the coming months, I will be adding potted herbs on top of the platform, both for our culinary use, but also to combat the doggie smell from our three dogs.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Bedroom Preview.

I haven't posted any new designs for awhile, so I thought I'd share my casual photo taken this past weekend of my client's guest bedroom in Glencoe.  I'll have professional photos taken when the whole house is finished, but for now it's iPhone shots.  

The room was designed around their existing punchy red patterned bedspread, but I wanted the bedspread to take center stage so everything else was toned down.  The walls are a soft warm neutral which compliments the bedspread without competing with it.  I added touches of pale blue in the curtains (look closely for the stripes, in the rug (the border around the sisal) and in the pillows and throw on the bed.  It's hard to see in this photo but the bedside tables and lamp are ivory, with simple lines.  The chandelier is from Serena and Lily (Malibu Chandelier).

What do you think?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Design (Competitions) Within Reach.

I've been an Interior Designer for nearly seven years now, and somehow I've never gotten around to entering a design competition.  I thought it was about time I pushed myself to come up with something that wasn't required for school or for work, so I entered the Live/Work competition co-sponsored by Dwell Magazine and Design Within Reach.  The winner of the competition will have their design produced and sold through Design Within Reach, so if I won, I would be able to add product designer to my resume!  

A word about the submission see above.  My goal was to design a piece that integrated all the necessary functions for a workspace: work table, storage and lighting.  When in use, the light pulls out from the raised unit, and there's access to storage, paperwork, etc.  When not in use, it descends to create a clean flat plane on the work table and the clutter is covered below.  This unit would be of particular interest to those who don't have a separate room for an office, and have their desk out in their living area.  When guests come over (or you're sick of looking at it), it's easy to hide everything.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Active Duty.

I really got down to business this weekend and knocked out two of my 30 before 30 items.  Taking a Bikram Yoga class (#4) and joining Crossfit (#1).  I had my intro session to Crossfit this past Saturday along with seven other interested folks. There was a lengthy explanation of what to expect, and then we got into a "baseline workout"- 500m row, 40 squats (no weight), 30 sit ups, 20 push ups and 10 pull ups.  

I took stock of my competition-4 pretty fit looking men, 2 women I thought I could easily handle and 1 woman that looked like a wild card.  I figured I'd at least beat two of the woman and maybe one of the guys.  

Wrong.  I came in second to last.  

The instructor wrapped up the session, explained the pricing structure, told us to think about the commitment and email her if we were interested.  
I practically ran up to her and threw my credit card at her saying "I don't ever want to come in second to last again!"  Oh the shame.

Bikram.  My goal was just to make it through the class without leaving the 105 degree 40% humidity room.  I started off strong, but the five glasses of wine I'd had the night before hit me around the 22nd of 26 postures.  I alternated between sitting up and laying down for the rest of the class, but... I didn't leave the room!  Feeling less than stellar about my athletic abilities, I signed up for a month of unlimited classes.

So I guess the way to get me to open my wallet is to have me fail miserably at something.  Shame sure is expensive.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


#21- Auditioning for a play has been causing me some major anxiety and that's not the point of this whole 30 Before 30 deal, so I'm calling in a sub!  I attended a great lecture the other week on sustainable urban farming, so long story short, I will replacing #21 with a day of volunteering at 'The Plant'- and urban (and indoor) farm in Chicago.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Touch With My Spiritual Side...Check!

I made it out to a lovely Baha'i New Year's devotional last night, along with my boyfriend and parents, who decided they wanted to explore their spiritual sides as well.  My Mom couldn't figure out how to get the whole temple in the photo, but I swear, it's back there.  I can report the following:

  • The temple is as beautiful as I remember it from going on a field trip there as a child.  I even told my Mother that it kind of reminded me of a fancy Scottsdale hotel.  The weather didn't hurt either.
  • The service was made up of an a capella choir and readings from members of the congregation.  There isn't a pastor/rabbi/priest and there aren't any sermons.
  • They don't accept donations/offerings from non-Baha'i folks like myself.
  • I am not a religious person, but I do find many of the tenants interesting like "the search for truth" and the emphasis on a world community.
  • I would like to learn more...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Come on- big money, big money.

Alright folks, project 30 before 30 is well underway.  I've got leads and dates on several items, which I'll detail later, but one that I'm currently on top of is my lotto ticket purchase once a week item (#30).  I've made this really easy on myself and ordered a lotto subscription online!  Now I don't have to embarrass myself at the local gas station with my pathetic optimism.  

I've already begun to plan what I'll do with my millions...all I can say is that dogs and real estate brokers will be big beneficiaries.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Retraction: Bang Bang.

Well, it looks like I might have jumped the gun (pun very much intended) on thinking I had to get a FOID to take this intro to firearms class.  Turns out, it's not necessary to take the class!  I'm calling to schedule today for a class April 28th.  Game on!

Bang Bang.

Who knew you had to get a FOID (Firearm Owner's Identification) card just to shoot around at a range (#8 on the list)?  Not me.  Well, it's a good thing I'm researching this now because it'll take at least 30 days to get one of these.  If you're also pining for a go at the shooting range, click here.  If you happen to know someone who has one of these things and is willing to take you shooting, then you don't need it.  At least in Illinois.  
I figure I need a bit of background and training before I start shooting off a gun, so my plan is to go to Midwest Guns in Lyons and take their 'Intro to Firearms' course.  FYI-My boyfriend tells me this is unnecessary, but I am nothing if not thorough.  
By the way, that photo is all sorts of confusing, but if the little girl in a pink peace sign jacket can shoot a machine gun, then I can certainly handle a little hand gun.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

30 Before 30...the Explanation.

Here's a little more explanation on the list:

1. Join CrossFit. (Completed March 24, 2012) I'm already working on this one.  I have my intro session on March 24th, and after that I just need to pull the trigger.  My goal by joining this is to become a tough badass.  
2. Get out of debt completely.  Between my parents and my boyfriend, I owe approx. $2900.  I'm looking at you Tax Refund!
3. Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry. This is just one of those things I feel an adult woman should do.  I've been coveting several pieces from my friend Amanda's line of jewelry. so I'll be posting my favorite contenders soon.
4. Take a Bikram yoga class.  (Completed March 25, 2012) Ugh, this is going to be tough since I function terribly in extreme temperatures, but it's a good goal because of that.
5. Go SCUBA diving. (Completed December 2011)  This is a bit of a cheat since I already took care of it, but it was something I've wanted to do for awhile now.
6. Get certified in Open Water Diving SCUBA.  I am substituting this one because I won't be getting the funds together in time, and this is something I didn't think I'd have the chance to do before 30.  Bonus!Buy a grown up sofa. I'm an Interior Designer, and I still have my IKEA couch from my first post-college apartment.  Not okay.
7. Come up with 30 great vegetarian/pescetarian recipes that I can make everyday.  As a recent convert to pescetarianism, I have done a terrible job of coming up with new and exciting dishes.  Help is appreciated on this one!
8. Go to a shooting range and learn how to shoot. Maybe it's all those episodes of Law and Order: SVU I watch (I love you Detective Benson!), but this is something that I've wanted to do for some time.  I'll post my target afterward-prepare to be underwhelmed.
9. Drive myself or do a ride-a-long in a race car. (Completed May 26, 2012) Due to financial constraints (see #1,2,3,6,14 and 24) I will probably do the ride-a-long, which is $300 less.  
10. Try absinthe. This is really important because I'll be able to say "oh absinthe, sure, I've tried it.  No big deal."
11. Get my nephew to call me by my Auntie name "Essie". (Completed April 15, 2012) Tyler and Gretchen-I'm looking at you to support me on this one.
12. Enter a design competition. (Completed March 31, 2012) I always think about entering a design competition.  I even print out the rules and requirements, but I never do it.  Just being lazy.  Now there's no excuse.
13. Learn how to bake a great chocolate cake. (Completed April 8, 2012) My favorite dessert in the world is cake, and chocolate is my hands down favorite flavor.  Good thing I don't have any weight loss goals on this list!
14. Go hot air ballooning. I'm taking my boyfriend this Saturday for his birthday, so I'll be sure to post about the experience.  Really excited for this after not being able to do it on our vacation to Australia last year.
15. Learn 100 words in Hebrew. My boyfriend is Israeli, so if he can get a PhD in the United States, then I can probably learn a couple of words in his native language.  I'll choose the words, and he'll test me on/day before my birthday.
16. Get acupuncture. I don't have a specific ailment to get acupuncture for, but I'm sure it can help something.  I've just always wanted to know what it feels like.  PS-I hate needles.
17. Reach 150 followers and 2000 pins on Pinterest.  I just love Pinterest, and have enjoyed interacting with the community there.  I hope to reach more people in the coming year.
18. Take the Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Oak Park. We just moved from Oak Park and never did the tour.  So crazy.  I've done the Taliesin West tour in AZ, but haven't gone close to home.
19. Visit the Farnsworth House in Plano, IL. I grew up in Chicago, love architecture and design, love this house in particular and have never visited.  Blasphemy!
20. 7-Day Juice Cleanse.  (Completed May 27, 2012) I wonder if I can really make it through one of these without breaking.  This replaces a trapeze class for reasons I'll explain in a future post.Take a flying trapeze course. Maybe I'm belatedly inspired by Carrie Bradshaw in SATC circa 2003, but this seems pretty cool.  I'm afraid of heights.  Should be interesting.
21. Volunteer at 'The Plant'. (Completed May 19, 2012)  The Plant focuses on a closed cycle of sustainable (indoor) urban farming.  I can't wait to learn more.
22. Go to a Baha'i service. (Completed March 20, 2012) I've been to the beautiful Baha'i temple in Wilmette, IL, but never attended a service.  I don't consider myself a religious person, but I am a life learner, so this will be a great learning experience.
23. Watch 'The Exorcist'. (Completed May 18, 2012) My boyfriend and others think it's appalling the number of classic movies I haven't watched, so I'm choosing this as a representation of that deficit.  
24. Create a great bar set up-cart, booze, mixers, accessories. I love a great cocktail or glass of wine at the end of the day, and I've always loved the idea of whipping up a cool cocktail when guests come over.  There will be a post about the shopping list for this bar later.
25. Milk a cow. I'm not sure how I missed doing this growing up, but I'm definitely doing it now.  I have enormous respect for dairy, and thereby for it's provider.  I'll try to combine this with #28.
26. Visit the Holocaust museum in Skokie, IL.  (Completed May 28, 2012-Memorial Day) There are two reasons for adding this to the list.  1) I have always had a deep interest in the Holocaust and 2) Stanley Tigerman designed it, and he's an architectural genius.
27. Eat an ostrich egg. (Completed April 8, 2012) I have a nagging feeling that I may have already done this, but I don't remember, so I guess I need to do it again.  I love eggs, so this is like the Holy Grail of eggs.
28. Do WWOOF. (Completed April 7, 2012) If you know me, then you probably think this is something about dogs.  Not the case.  It's a volunteer program to join up with organic farmers and exchange labor for education, meals and lodging.  I'm sure to catch hell from my parents about staying over at a stranger's farm, but it sounds really cool.  Check out more about it here.
29. Go to a MMA fight. (Completed April 13, 2012) That's Mixed Martial Arts, if you weren't aware.  I'll admit, 'Warrior' got me pumped up about this.
30. Buy a lotto ticket once a week until my birthday. (Will be complete by my birthday-I purchased a weekly subscription) If I recall correctly, I think my Grandma bought weekly lotto tickets.  She didn't win anything (to my knowledge), but perhaps carrying on the legacy will bring in good luck.  In any case, it's for a good case.  The cheesy winner (they're always so cheesy, right?) can purchase their long coveted gold plated toilet or recreate Disney World as their house.  Me?  I would go much more subtle with a silver leaf toilet and a Legoland house.

Stay tuned for progress!

A Third of a Bucket...List.


It's been entirely too long since my last post, but I'm going to be mixing things up a bit in the coming months.  I am hijacking my design blog to post my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30 on July 7,  2012.  I will be calling this segment "A Third of a Bucket...List".  I'm getting a bit of a late start on this considering my birthday is in four months, but better late than never.  Following you'll see my list and on the next post the explanation of each item.  I'll cross off and date the items as I complete them along with photos and descriptions of the items in various stages of progress and completion.  Let the fun begin!

30 Before 30 or A Third of a Bucket...List

1. Join CrossFit
2. Get out of debt completely
3.  Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry
4.  Take a Bikram yoga class
5.  Go SCUBA diving Completed December 2011
6.  Buy a grown up sofa
7.  Come up with 30 great vegetarian/pescetarian recipes that I can make everyday
8.  Go to a shooting range and learn how to shoot
9.  Drive or do a ride-a-long in a race car
10. Try absinthe
11. Get my nephew to call me by my Auntie name “Essie”
12. Enter a design competition
13. Learn how to bake a great chocolate cake
14. Go hot air ballooning
15. Learn 100 words in Hebrew
16. Get acupuncture
17. Reach 150 followers on Pinterest and 2000 pins.
18. Take the Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Oak Park
19. Visit the Farnsworth House in Plano, IL
20. Take a flying trapeze class
21. Volunteer at "The Plant" 
22. Go to a Baha’i service
23. Watch ‘A Clockwork Orange’
24. Create a great bar set up-cart, booze, mixers, accessories
25. Milk a cow
26. Visit the Holocaust museum in Skokie
27. Eat an ostrich egg
28. Do WWOOF
29. Go to a MMA fight
30. Buy a lotto ticket once a week until my birthday