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After dining, visiting and sightseeing (what felt like) all of Chicago in our first weekend-half, we slowed down for half two. We cooked at home. We played games with friends. We ate cake! Scott gave us a tour of his semi-secret bike park, and we walked through our neighborhood, pointing out where we like to picnic, where the annual festivals are held and – dare we say – the location of our future home. (And in regards to the latter, we’re still tidying neat little bows on every checklist item before we divulge too much more. It’s the superstition in us, we suppose.)

Spring finally stuck around for a handful of days in a row – a first this year! – and we made sure to take advantage of it. And now, can you believe it’s May? Where did April go? (Or March and February, really?)

  • Jodi - May 1, 2013 - 6:54 AM

    right? how is it MAY already???

    looks like a most excellent weekend. i love the way your process your photos; so light and dreamy.ReplyCancel

  • I can’t believe it’s May.

    I love your weekend updates. They make me want to be better about documenting our days off.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 1, 2013 - 10:25 AM

    Thanks, Jodi!

    Heather, do it!ReplyCancel

  • Kara - May 4, 2013 - 10:34 AM

    Where, might I ask, was that “Meat Free” picture taken. The Chicago Diner is a stop for me on any trip to Chicago, I’d love to know if there is another great vegetarian spot I need to hit next time I come to town.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 4, 2013 - 11:23 AM

      Hi Kara! It was taken at the NEW Chicago Diner location in Logan Square! De-freaking-licious.ReplyCancel

  • Eugenia - May 9, 2013 - 11:30 AM

    I love the pictures you take. What kind of camera do you use?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 9, 2013 - 12:49 PM

    Hi Eugenia, I’m still using my old and trusty Nikon D80 and/or Nikon D200 DSLR! All the photos above were taken with a 50mm.ReplyCancel

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There were no rules this weekend.

It was an extra long one, with our Portland doppelgangers (more about them right here), Julie and Brian, coming in for a birthday (Brian’s) extravaganza. I jokingly made a (loose) itinerary – so necessary when out-of-towners have just 4 days to do as much as possible in a city with so much to do. We ate – an effing lot – took in the story of Sue the T-Rex (rawr!), beach walked and brewery toured (and this is just part 1, you guys!). Jack soaked in every last second with his adopted aunt and uncle, lounging on the couch, the bed and every other no-no in our home. Between him and the (kitty) girls, permanent smiles floated through this house, and we fell into bed each night harder than the one before.

Just like the Chicago tourist I am (and hope to always be – love this town!), the camera never left my hand. We’re only sad we forgot to snap a (Fujifilm) Polaroid, but as you may have seen, Instagrams abound. We have more digital photos to sift through, so we’ll tidy up the weekend tomorrow. But right this minute!, we need take a vacation from our staycation, and squeeze in a nap – that is, after embracing the first-day-back-to-work blues.

Happy, um, Tuesday, you all!

  • Nina - April 30, 2013 - 6:49 AM

    I check out your blog regularly but I (don’t think) I have ever commented before. I just had to say that I love the look of universal doggie ecstasy in the butt-scratching shot! It made me think of my own little 4-legged child, who would have been 12 today. Great shot! And I really enjoy your blog, too, not just your doggie.ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - April 30, 2013 - 8:47 AM

    Great photos, I really like the butt scratching and couch cuddling ones. But I also like the one with the donuts… mmm… donuts…ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 30, 2013 - 9:26 AM

    Nina and Emily, Jack typically steals the show around here, so it’s fitting they’re your favorites!ReplyCancel

  • OhMelvin - April 30, 2013 - 9:42 AM

    Awesome pictures! I love Chicago and this makes me want to come visit again! The brewery shots are amazing — makes me want to have a beer, at 10:30am!ReplyCancel

  • blair @ the fox and she - April 30, 2013 - 9:52 AM

    as always, your pictures are beautiful! what an awesome weekend it was in Chicago! hopefully this one is the same :)ReplyCancel

  • Shelby @ Sweetness in Starlight - April 30, 2013 - 12:11 PM

    Love your beautiful photos (as always)! I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before, but what camera/lens do you use most of the time?

    Also, what brewery did you visit? It looks super fun! I live in Chicago and would love to take the boyfriend for his birthday in a few weeks. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 30, 2013 - 12:28 PM

    Hi Shelby, we went to the Rev brewery tour at the Kedzie taphouse – it’s free, and it starts at 6PM. See more info here:

    http://revbrew.com/brewery

    I used my 50mm lens for all the photos here, and I’m still using my super old, super trusty Nikon D80 from back in the day. We’re good friends, me and that camera!ReplyCancel

  • Shelby @ Sweetness in Starlight - April 30, 2013 - 2:03 PM

    Thanks Kim! Going to check it out now!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - April 30, 2013 - 2:09 PM

    The Field Museum is wonderful. I moved out of Chicago in 2005, and I still miss it.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 30, 2013 - 5:00 PM

      Jessica, it was our FIRST time, can you believe it?! Loved it. Just wish we had more time to walk through everything…ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design - April 30, 2013 - 7:57 PM

    Always love your beautiful photos and they made me thirsty for a good beer :)ReplyCancel

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This is one of those weird projects that, while not the most beautiful, has sentimental meaning. Years ago, I sculpted a giant penguin in my college ceramics class. My penguin is slightly crooked (maker’s error), not exactly proportional to the actual penguin anatomy, and as a result of moving him from home to home, one apartment to the next, for the past ten years, he was also missing a beak and bits of his flippers. See?

Since we moved into this home five years ago, he sat in the hallway – then the bedroom corner – with his (most) broken flipper facing the wall. I could never bear to part with him, and with every new crack (largely due to vacuum cleaner bumps), I saved the pieces, knowing I’d eventually glue them back on.

Scott has never asked me to get rid of it, rather, he knew it held special memories (friends, college, and days upon days in the studio), so I finally asked him to help me give it new life. After a mini brainstorming session, he suggested we turn it into a planter – yes, a planter! I thought. (I mean, this is logical, right?) And with spring right around the corner in Chicago, we were craving a little greenery, and my penguin was the ticket.

The penguin is hollow, but its still a beast. It’s so, so heavy, and with a lot of patience, Scott used this tile bit and his Dremel to carve an opening on his hump-back. We covered the soon-to-be opening with painters tape, thinking it would cut down on the dust – but as it turned out, this was not the case.

We approximated the size for a 4″ planter (with a plant we’d already picked out at the hardware store), and an afternoon later – and a very, very worn down Dremel bit – we had an opening! (Eeks, look at all that dust!)

Once we knew operation-penguin-surgery was a success, I used gobs of super glue to piece him back together…

… then sprayed him with a coat of Krylon primer and Montana brand spray paint in the color “Hope.” (Funny, it’s sort of fitting!) We also re-potted our plant in a deeper plastic cup (we picked up a Slushee tumbler from 7-11 and drilled drainage holes in the bottom), but before doing so, I sprayed the rim of the cup in the same color. (Our penguin already had a “drainage” hole in the bottom; this was necessary for the firing process when he was first made.)

This was our first time using Montana paint, and we are fans. It’s super thick, completely weatherproof (it’s actual intent is for graffiti artists!) and went on with just one coat – but the extra-cautious side of me applied a second one for good measure. Once everything was good and dry (we waited overnight), I squeezed the plant cup into the opening, and voila! Penguin planter! Or, you know, Penguin gets a hairdo.

From the back, you can see the rim of our make-shift Slushee planter, but from the front, it’s mostly seamless. Most importantly, my penguin is fixed! It has a new life! There was hope for him after all (har-har)!

Our mini project found us rolling out the patio rug and putting our table and chairs back in place – the first time this year after packing it up before the holidays. For now, he’s sitting on the outdoor table, soaking in the rays, and we’re crossing our fingers we don’t get another frost before spring finally rolls into town.

It made my heart ridiculously happy to put an old, old college day project to use (as opposed to the boxes of prints and negatives hiding in our storage unit!), and here’s hoping he’ll be around for another ten years. Aw, nostalgia.

  • Hannah K - April 24, 2013 - 7:55 AM

    So sweet! I actually was just looking at aminal shaped platers on Etsy last week! We are ridiculously excited to be getting some warmer weather our way and have been looking forward to sprucing up our patio!ReplyCancel

  • Marti - April 24, 2013 - 9:07 AM

    I also use plastic cups from 7-Eleven as makeshift planters! They’re perfect when you need something tall and on the narrow side.ReplyCancel

  • Blair @ the fox and she - April 24, 2013 - 9:26 AM

    What a fun way to up cycle a special piece. He looks great and I love the colors you chose! I’m sure you’ll enjoy him over the upcoming sunny weekend (hooray for warm weather!)ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - April 24, 2013 - 9:28 AM

    He looks so much better now that he has all his bits back. I’m sure he is as happy as you to be outside.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 24, 2013 - 9:34 AM

    Marti, when we were stumped thinking, “where will we find a tall, skinny planter for CHEAP?”, we almost just stuck with the shallow guy our plant came in. But when Scott suggested the plastic to-go cups, I thought, GENIUS! We’ll definitely be putting that tip to use in the future again.

    Thanks, ladies!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney Out Loud - April 24, 2013 - 9:42 AM

    I love this! The planter is super cute and the fact it has meaning is even better. But the best is the slushing cup!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication - April 24, 2013 - 8:49 PM

    That looks so great! And it’s awesome that you were able to reuse something so sentimental in a practical, fun way!ReplyCancel

  • Barb @ FL Mom's Blog - April 24, 2013 - 9:04 PM

    I love what you did with the penguin! And the color is so spring! At least it didn’t get thrown out, and was able to be repurposed!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - April 25, 2013 - 10:33 AM

    You are so stinking talented… seriously, it’s ridiculous.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - April 25, 2013 - 11:21 AM

    This is a lovely project. I love it because it’s nostalgic to you and those are usually the best kind of project.

    Plus that Hope colour is gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Tina S. - May 1, 2013 - 10:19 PM

    He looks like a wise old penguin who walks the streets with a backpack, sharing his wisdom among those who know him.

    Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - May 8, 2013 - 2:03 PM

    Ahhh memories LOL!!! This is genius though!! Love it :)ReplyCancel

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