The Olympic games have started, and over the next couple of weeks, I will watch more TV than I will for the entire rest of the year. Every four years, I marvel over the Olympic athletes’ stories and performances; it’s amazing really. I want to share a commercial that gets me every time! Every time, I tell you! I mean tears. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

This reminds me most of my parents, with their dedication through the years to me and my sports. Before morning practices, my mother would wake me up early and send me off with something warm in my hand to eat and two water bottles, one filled with milk. They would drive me all over the state so I could play in tournaments or attend camps. I don’t know how they did it, but I hope to do half as well with my children. Thank you Mom and Dad. I’m sorry I wasn’t an Olympic athlete, but your efforts did not go unnoticed.

See. Tears. Again.

stone’s throw winery

A little bit of Napa in the Midwest? I’ll take it!

Stone’s Throw is a fabulous winery nestled in the beautiful landscape of Door County. You can’t get better than that, especially in the summer!
They blend their homegrown grapes with California’s finest to make an outstanding blend of wines. They call it the “traditional one barrel at a time way”. My Stone’s Throw favorite is Uncle Gino’s, a great table red!

The actual tasting takes place in part of a 90-year-old barn they’ve reinvented for their winery. For a mere $5.00, you can taste five wines…AND you get to keep the glass! Score! The hard part is choosing just five!

After finishing our tasting, we went out with the bocce ball set and started a friendly competitive game of bocce ball between the couples. All while savoring a bottle of Uncle Gino’s, of course!

I would recommend this quality winery to anyone! It has so much character and such a great sophisticated feel without the pretentiousness.

Oh, and we found out a helpful tip for port wine drinkers. The husband, NOT I, loves port. Port is not like all other wine – it doesn’t go bad after a couple of days! So don’t throw it away! You can keep if for YEARS and the tastes keeps changing. Crazy. Right?

Paul and I actually first found this winery the year we got engaged, or maybe it was the year before?!? We wanted real red wine, not the “fruit stuff” (there is always a time and place for that, too) but we wanted red wine. I don’t remember who suggested Stone’s Throw, but I could hug them! Plus, it was fun to look back at the changes and growth Stone’s Throw had in the past five years! I tried to get the same spot we stood five years ago.

I hope everyone has a great Friday, maybe a happy hour filled with red wine?

Don’t mind if I do!

fish boil

Anyone who grew up in Wisconsin has heard of the “friday night fish fry” and anyone vacationing in Door County has heard of “the fish boil”. Vacationers come back year after year comparing and contrasting the fish boil experiences they have had at different venues.
I, however, have never been to a fish boil. Now, I’ve had my fair share of friday night fish fries but never a fish boil until last week – and it never ceases to surprise my local Wisconsinites. Yes, I grew up here. No, never a fish boil.

So, we set out to do just that. Watch a man boil fish! We decided on White Gull Inn, one of the oldest fish boils in the area. Our presenter was named Nick, who I think must play Santa Claus in winter. He was great, and I got a lot of great pictures of him in action.

Once the fish was cooked, it was time to head indoors and enjoy Lake Michigan whitefish! It was a really enjoyable experience, and I would encourage everyone to participate at least once! Oh… and save room for the cherry pie (made with locally grown cherries)!

door county

I just spent an incredibly low-key weekend with the husband and some of our great friends in Door County, WI. It was a much needed quick weekend getaway filled with beautiful weather and fabulous memories.The husband and I first went to Door County in the summer of 2006; we were just dating and I was excited to explore a wonderful new part of my state with him.

In the summer of 2007 we went back, but this time, my husband had something up his sleeve, a great surprise: We got engaged on the rocks on Cana Island overlooking Lake Michigan.
It’s hard to believe it has been five years since we had been back. We’ve been through many changes since then, but not much has changed in Door County. With all the changes that have happened in the last five years, it was only fitting to bring some change ourselves to this place that always seems to remain unchanged, which is exactly why we invited our fun friends to go with us!
This week will be filled with Door County goodness! If you haven’t been, please go! You won’t be disappointed!

city craft

I have been really excited for a month now about my beginners sewing class! I signed up and have had it on the calendar for weeks now and was so excited to head out after work for the class!

City Crafts is a fabulous sewing and fabric boutique in downtown Dallas! They have an abundance of modern fabrics and such a friendly staff.

City Crafts offers sewing classes for all ages, too. They have classes where you make an oil cloth tote and zipper, a throw pillow with invisible zipper, one on modern patchwork quilts, and even summer camps for kids! Fun stuff is happening on Lovers Lane in Dallas!

In tonight’s class, we attempted to make a messenger bag!
We had the most adorable instructor, Kaitlan, that instructed and encouraged us through the whole process! It was so fun to walk away with a finished product!!
It was such a fun class, and I’m so excited to sign up for more and do a couple projects on my own! I encourage all to try or get your kids involved with sewing. Happy Weekend everyone!

i got mail

I get REAL excited about the mail and deliveries. Yes, the mail. I love coming home, the anticipation, sorting it,  and organizing it. I love getting the mail opener out and opening all the goodness. Yes, I should be 80+ years old, but I just love paper! And deliveries!

This past week I ordered a piece for our entryway and have been oh so excited to display it. I tracked it all the way to our door.

Here is the package!

And here’s the big surprise!! It’s a ginormous “S”! I’ve been wanting it for months and  got the idea from a blog post on Restored Style. I knew I had to have my own! I finally pulled the trigger last weekend and have been eagerly anticipating it’s arrival ever since. It’s an Anthropologie oversized zinc letter!

I even had it on my 614 project list! Cross that off – it’s done! I love how the mahogany and metal work together! Here’s to a happy entryway and an even happier homeowner.

*the Labrador model gets paid in treats! He he.

staining 101

A couple of months ago already, the husband and I bought a new patio door. We got a remarkable deal on an Atrium door from a Seconds and Surplus; it’s white on the exterior and wood on the interior. The wood came unfinished, so that was added to our project list this weekend, after I talked to my dad (who talked me out of hiring a professional… I thank him for the advice and thinking his daughter can do it). I started the staining process actually last week because of the time between stain and the polyurethane. The professional claimed to have done everything in a day for $150.00. I don’t know if he would of done as good of job but I wish I would’ve paid the professional. It wasn’t hard, just time consuming work.

We first set out to Sherwin Williams (I know, scarreligious for a Benjamin Moore queen) but it was close and they had a great selection of stain. We opted for a “fruitwood” color. Basically, we loved the grain and look of the door already, just wanted it a tint darker.

(picture of cans)

I started by:

  1. Block sanding with 400 grit sand paper. Always sanding with the grain of the wood. Making sure to sand evenly as the stain will pick up on any of your imperfections.
  2. Make sure to remove any excess caulking agent around the edges of the exposed glass area.
  3. Clean Surface with clean rag. And you’re ready to begin!
  4. Test a non-conspicuous area for compatibility with the finish. (I didn’t do this)
  5. I started with a primer “wood conditioner” to prep the wood for the stain. This helps to evenly set the stain on the surface. I applied two coats with a white rag to the surface of the door.
  6. Within 4 hours of primer application, you need to add your stain. I applied one coat of fruitwood stain, and let sit overnight (the can says at least 6 hours), then applied another coat. Both were applied with a rag. I would advise wearing gloves! Or else your hands will look like a bad spray tan! **I used vegetable oil to remove it and it worked great. Followed by Dawn soap.
  7. After the second coat of stain has set for 8 hours or more apply the polyurethane. I applied three coats of polyurethane to the door with a sponge brush. Sanding between each coat with 220 grit sand paper, allowed ample drying time (at least 2 hours) between each application.
That’s it! It wasn’t actually too bad, its always more painful during the process than after. Ha. The waiting in between and opening the door to get the edged in the Texas summer heat, that was the hard part, so I guess I’m glad I saved us $150.00! Hence, the splurge on the Anthropologie “S”. That’s my gorilla math, as the husband calls it.

second coat

Hi Friends! I hope everyone does something super adventurous this weekend, like myself.

I will be venturing all around the house on my knees. Yep, super adventurous! The husband finished caulking the top of the baseboards and nail holes weeks ago, and I’ve been procrastinating on painting that second coat ever since. It’s my turn to travel to every nook-and-cranny to finish off all those baseboards and to touch up any edging! Yes, it’s not fun, and not too picturesque, but it’s something that needs to be done!

Hoping everyone has a wonderful weekend! Happy Friday!

shopping in the wind

Yes, one more Chicago post! Did I mention I’m in love with this city? It’s my favorite. The best friend and I ventured out to a couple of new shops I’ve heard amazing things about, and they didn’t disappoint!

It’s amazing to see how our (the best friend is usually adventurous with me) shopping tastes have changed. When we first moved to the city, we would shop on the cheap for food and clothes, collectively. When we started our careers and had a bit more independence, we started to branch out away from the chain restaurant and stores; we would shop boutiques after boutiques for the best outfits for ourselves. Then it moved toward wedding gown shopping, and now, our weekend was filled with furniture and baby stores! Oh how Chicago has always been able to accommodate our ever changing needs!

Jayson Home & Garden was in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood with fabulous displays of fine furniture and accessories. Eye candy for the home owner.

We then moved on to P.O.S.H. which was a fabulous place for great dining, kitchen accessories, and great display pieces. Another gem in this vast city.
Did I mention our level of sophistication in happy hours has changed too? After all day of shopping, we headed to a cute restaurant called Pops. Champagne after a day of shopping with your best friend and new baby… There isn’t anything better!
Happy Monday! After work, maybe drink some champagne?!

frank lloyd wright

Frank Lloyd Wright has always been one of my favorite architects. Though I’m not fond of his arrogance or family dynamic, he did build beautiful pieces of art, inside and out. I had the luxury of touring the Oak Park homes Frank Lloyd Wright build from 1889 to 1909 this past weekend with my best friend.

It’s amazing the lengths he took to get to know his clients, even making clothing that should be worn while entertaining in the home. Think about that. Isn’t the simplicity and convenience of today sad in some ways? Do you want model one, two, or three… don’t worry you can “customize” the shutters.

Our first stop was the Unity Temple commissioned for $60,000; Wright was one of the first to build with poured concrete.

Inside, his attention to detail does not go unnoticed.

We then headed outside to look at all the buildings Frank Lloyd Wright created in Oak Park. Some were even considered “bootleg” houses, which were commissioned and built by Wright without the knowledge of his employer… this caused Wright to “resign” after his boss found out.

We also can see the changes in his design through these homes. Some were requests from the home owner (a more victorian look), some gave Wright free reign.

This house is for sale!! If you’re in the market for a new house, it’s a steal at 900,000.

The Hills-Decaro Home, 1906, was my favorite.

This house was the one house Wright said he regretted building. Considering how arrogant he was, thats pretty amazing he admitted this.

Lastly, we walked around the perimeter of Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio and home.

We used Chicago Savvy Tours, and they did a great job. If I were to go again, I would take a tour of the inside of his studio and home!! All the more reason to take another trip to Chicago!