Category Archives: life

baby / tots life local

This is What Lunch Looks Like

We try to dine out at least once a week.  If you have children, you know it is not as relaxing as it used to be when you and your significant other got to go out solo.  This is what eating with Ava can look like:

This was our lunch stop at Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen  We thought she’d behave in the booth.  Oh, were we wrong.  And yes, one of those pictures is her UNDER the table.  I guess she wasn’t in the mood for barbecue.  She did however like the live music [the musician even played an old-timey country version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for her] and the old horse they had in the back, that still worked when you put a quarter in!

I was big fan of one of their pieces of art on the wall … made out of old yardsticks.

Despite Ava’s antics, we left with full stomachs and smiles.  Next time we’ll remember to bring along the ipad. [wink]

decor life

Blog for Digs – My Childhood Bedroom

Today’s post is part of Blog for Digs, a charity blogging event for Dwell with Dignity [“a non-profit group of interior designers and volunteers dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty”].  To learn more about how you can help make a difference, click HERE.

My childhood bedroom was …. a complete mess.  My brother and I had a playroom downstairs for all of our toys, but that didn’t seem to help keep my room from becoming a disaster zone.  As much as I am a neat freak now, back then I was NOT.  Underneath all the books, papers, and [mostly] clothes was a little wooden desk that sat facing a window with a view of the cornfield.  I used to sit and read Sweet Valley High or Trixie Belden books, write in my diary, and write horrible horrible poetry.  The walls were covered in some old purple textured wallpaper and I seem to remember that I made some weird “sculpture” on the wall next to my bed with a bunch of belts.  I had a huge white bookshelf in my room filled with books, cassette tapes, magazines, etc.  There was a Michael Jackson poster hanging on the back of my door [the one where he’s wearing all white and I think he had a yellow sweater tied around his neck] and I’m sure there must have been some Corey Haim and Mark Paul Gosselear [who is still hot btw] posters up somewhere too.  I also had a secret door in the back of my closet that opened into a room in our old farmhouse that we never used.  It had never been remodeled and was very creepy.  The one thing I always wished I had was a canopy bed.

Like this “Coraline Canopy Bed” from PB Teen.  I might have even draped some sheer fabric over some of the posts … oh who am I kidding? – Pre-teen me would have used it as one more place to toss my clothes.  Still, I always wanted one.  A canopy bed just seemed so fairytale-esque.  But I survived without it and eventually I picked up all my clothes and papers and tucked them neatly into files and drawers [this only happened within the last few years].  No more belts or teen idol posters on the walls – just some antlers, actual artwork with frames, and a large white pendant lamp adorn the bedroom now.  If I could go back, I think I’d keep that bedroom clean … maybe then I would have gotten a canopy bed.

Be sure to check out the next Blog For Digs post on Get It Girl Style tomorrow.  And visit Dwell with Dignity today!

decor life

DIY Project: Nightstand Rehab

Sometime in September we found this beat up old nightstand in the alley.  I was immediately drawn to it’s shape and could see right past all the dirt and dings. 

It started a mini obsession rehabbing old wooden furniture and spray painting anything I could get my hands on [bedroom dresser DIY coming soon].  The ONLY thing I miss about our old apartment uptown was that it had a small yard and big basement I could use for this kind of stuff.

Anyway, all I used was some medium and fine grit sandpaper, gloves, black spray paint [mine was a high gloss], and a new knob.  Easily less than $20 in supplies.  And no more than 1-2 hours of labor.

First I scrubbed it clean, sanded out the imperfections with the medium grit paper, wiped it down, went over some spots with the fine grit, wiped it down again, and then I busted out the spray paint.  Omigosh I love spray painting … even if I did have to drive 10 extra miles to a Home Depot outside the Chicago city limits to get it.  You can buy one of those spray paint holster things to save you some finger cramps, but this was a pretty small job, so it wasn’t really necessary.  I find using a slow and steady back and forth motion with the can works best.  Don’t get carried away.  Light even layers.  Make sure each layer is dry before you do the next to prevent drips and bubbles.  After the paint dried, I screwed in the new knob and one month later we moved our “new” little nightstand into our new loft.

Saved from the trash, and now a bedroom treasure.

cooking life

MMMM … Macaroons

I have just recently fallen in love with macaroons.  I don’t know where they’ve been all my life, but I’m sure glad they are here now.  They make you feel a little fancy when you eat them – part of their charm I suppose.  Dainty, yet somehow exotic, and very very satisfying.  YUM.

Some lucky person on our Christmas list will be getting a box of these gorgeous French Macaroons from Sparkles Kitchen.  Suck up now.  [lol]

baby / tots life

Baby’s First Dim Sum

After what has seemed like forever, we are finally all moved into our new place.  I still have plenty of boxes left to unpack, artwork to hang, and knick-knacks to arrange, but for me that is the fun part of moving.  [Pictures coming soon!]  Our loft is located in the South Loop, pretty close to Chinatown.  Yesterday we took Ava for her first dim sum [think Chinese brunch].

We brought along the training chopsticks Mike bought her [by Combi from ThinkGeek], which she was actually able to pick up food with [but enjoyed just poking holes in it more].  Her favorite part of the meal was the green tea – she loved holding her little tea cup and sipping warm tea.  So mature.  :-)  XO

life

Smile Real Big!

I love it when we ask her to “Smile Real Big” …. and that she does.  XO.  Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

life

Out with the New and In with the Old

I have decided to go back to my original format for Furious Shirley.  This simpler style makes it easier for me to mix in some personal posts and to actually write more.  The ‘glitzier’ version made it difficult for me to put up quick posts about ‘what I made for dinner’ or about ‘what cute thing ava did’ and I felt the blog was losing some of its personality.  I’ll still be posting all the normal stuff too, but now I am hoping to connect a little more … hope you like it!  XO

life

Do Your Own Taxes With Style

Birds are chirping, specks of green are pushing up through the soil, my winter clothes have all been neatly folded and stored away, receipts are piled up on the desk, thoughts deductions and dependents fill my head … yes, it’s TAX TIME!  Even if you’re expecting to get money back, tax time is not something most people look forward to.  It’s just one more thing we have to squeeze into our already busy schedules.  I was recently contacted about doing a giveaway on my blog for H&R Block’s At Home Deluxe software package and I thought it would be a perfect fit for all of my DIY readers.

With this software package [a $49 value], you can efile for free, get step by step instructions, automatic error check, audit and investment support, and the ability to import your data from the previous tax year and maximize your deductions.  Basically, it makes doing your own taxes a lot easier and saves you from having to pay the $300 I had to shell out to visit a tax professional last year.  Learn how to win this package HERE!

Now all you need are some must-have supplies to get your tax info in order and adorn your desk with some style!

This super cute notepad from It’s Our Earth Inc. is made from recycled floppy disks and acid free recycled paper.  Perfect for jotting down tax notes, grocery lists, or dreaded to-dos!

floppypad

Get out your #2 pencils … these graphite pencils are from ForestChoice and are made using Incense-Cedar wood from an environmentally well-managed forest in California.

graphite

How fun are these drumstick pencils from ThinkGeek?!

drumstick

A calculator is a tax time must have.  These models from the Japanese company, Caina.jp mimic a computer keypad [via geek alerts].  Great design!keypadcalc

Or for you Lego lovers, there is this building block calculator available from Pylones in red, black, blue, and green.

legocalc

And my favorite is from Lexon – part of their bamboo line and last time I checked, sold out.  I’m hoping it will be back in stock soooooon!

bamboocalc.jpg

Bring a little piece of nature to your work space with this pencil holder from Made in the Hudson Valley made out of a branch from a fallen maple tree.

mapleholder

You’re going to need a place to keep all of those receipts, so try this DIY Memo Pockets Kit from Paperama.  I would love to make these if I had the time [or the crafting skills].

diyfolders

life

I Have a Baby, You Have a Baby – Let’s Hang Out

Since we only know one or two people here in Chicago [and no one else with a baby], I signed up for a couple of those meet-up groups for parents.  As one new mom I’ve been chatting with stated, “It’s like internet dating for lonely moms,”.  I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself lonely, but I am lacking in the friends with babies department.  I think that [especially in the case of first time moms] an outlet to share, compare, brag, and yes, even complain is an important part of motherhood.  There are never-ending lists of groups for every type of mothering style and personality [artsy moms, holistic moms, stay at home moms, etc.] and message boards with topics ranging from baby food recipes to pooping schedules.  Some meet-ups are for just moms to get together and chat over coffee, but most are playdates and get-togethers so your little ones can interact while you get time to converse with other moms in a situation like your own.  We haven’t attended any events yet, but are signed up to go to a Halloween party for babes too young to trick-or-treat.  I know that Ava will have a good time and I’m hoping Mike and I can meet some other parents we might actually like hanging out with.  It’s weird how your criteria for friendship changes once you have a baby.  We used to go out all the time and meet people at parties and local bars, but now we stay in and pray Ava will go to bed on time so we can have a few minutes to ourselves in front of the TV.  Gone are the days of being party animals and staying out until dawn … now we buy stuffed animals and wake up at sunrise.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Have a meet-up story you’d like to share?  Email me!!  XO

life

NYC – CHI

We made it to CHICAGO!!  The new place is so spacious … I love it!  After three days of cleaning [the place was filthy when we arrived – unbelievable] and four of unpacking, we are almost to the fun part – decorating.  I swear I have been dreaming about curtains!  Now that things are settling down, I can start focusing on Furious Shirley again.  I have some great spotlight pieces in the works and will be introducing a few guest bloggers in the upcoming months.  I will also be out and about exploring some great Chicago shops and sharing my finds, as well as my usual product round ups … so stay tuned.  I’ll be starting my regular posts again on Monday!! XO

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