Finally Found Our Venue

It’s been a journey so far, but our venue and date have finally been decided on.

We looked far and wide, from suburban to urban options.

Should we go farther out into the suburbs for a better price, but more complicated transportation for everyone?

Or stay in the City with easy access to transportation, hotels and other things to do?

In the end, we decided to stay in the City, but still make the budget work for us.

The venue is an operating dance studio (which I love because I danced all they way through college). It is not a super common venue for a wedding, which I also love. When I mentioned it to a few other vendors, they had not heard of it as an event space (which can be good or bad, I guess).

We can choose any vendors we want and it is BYOB!

 

latin rhythms

The location in dance studio mode

 

It is an intimate timber loft with string lights already strung across the ceiling and wrapped around the beams. The hardwood floor and exposed brick complete the look I was going for, without the large price tag attached.

There won’t be much to decorate, just a bit here and there.

We just need our long banquet tables for our family style dinner (either BBQ or tacos) and I think it will be gorgeous!

Vintage Shopping Schedule

It’s March.

Which means it is almost April.

Which means spring, summer, and warmer, sunny weather are just around the corner.

What better way to get pumped about the season than by planning out which vintage/antique/flea markets you are going to head to?

I have been to a handful of markets around the area, and I plan on checking the rest off my list this year.

Chicago

Randolph Street Market

Website: http://www.randolphstreetmarket.com/ 

Schedule: May 27-28, June 24-25, July 29-30, August 26-27, September 23-24 (there are markets all year round, but these are the outside ones!)

Admission: $8 (discounted tickets and packages are available)

Have I been there? Yes, and it is awesome. Highly suggested. Just pretend you are on Flea Market Flip.

randolphstreetmarket105

Randolph Street Market, photo: Eric Clarke

 

Vintage Garage Chicago Flea Market

Website: https://www.vintagegaragechicago.com/

Schedule: April 23, May 21, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15

Admission: $5

Have I been there?  Yes, the market I went to had some cool stuff, but I did not buy anything. Also, it is held in a parking garage, so be aware that it is much cooler in there than the temperature outside. It was hard to hunt for treasures when my toes were freezing in my sandals.

vintage garage chicago

Vintage Garage Chicago Flea Market, photo: Courtney Laper of Courtney Michelle Photography

 

Wolff’s Flea Market

Website: https://www.wolffs.com/

Schedule: Sundays April through October

Admission: $2

Have I been there? Not yet. I will be making some plans to head over there on an upcoming Sunday.

wolfs fleamarket

Wolff’s Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/wolffsfleamarkets/

 

Chicago Suburbs

Kane County Flea Market

Website: http://www.kanecountyfleamarket.com/

Schedule: March 4-5, April 1-2, May 6-7, June 3-4, July 1-2, August 5-6, September 2-3

Admission: $5

Have I been there? Not yet, but I have heard great things!

kane county flea market

Kane County Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/KCFMARKET/

 

Grayslake Flea Market

Website: https://www.zurkopromotions.com/grayslake-illinois-vintage-flea-market/

Schedule: April 8-9, May 13-14, June 10-11, July 8-9, August 12-13, September 9-10

Admission: $7

Have I been there? Not yet, but I will be marking my calendar for one of those weekends.

grayslake vintage market

Grayslake Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/GrayslakeAntiqueMarket/

 

Southern Wisconsin

Elkhorn Antique Flea Market

Website: https://www.nlpromotionsllc.com/

Schedule: May 21, June 25, August 13, September 24

Admission:$5

Have I been there? Yes, and it is exhausting. Held at the Walworth County Fairgrounds, a map is absolutely necessary to remember where you have been and where you still need to go. Make sure you wear comfy shoes because you need them to keep looking for treasures.

elkhorn flea market

Elkhorn Antique Flea Market, photo: www.facebook.com/NHLPROMOTIONSLLC/

Have you been to any of these markets? Do you have any other suggestions? Please let me know!

Additional resources for shopping in Illinois:

 

Starting to Sow: An Apartment Herb Garden

We are finally sick of buying copious amounts of cilantro and basil to never use it all. So we decided to start growing our own.

I have a history of killing plants, so I am a bit concerned about how this will end up. Below is the photographic evidence of 2 of my plants that had untimely deaths. Rest in peace, my sweet plants.

Since this is our first attempt at growing our own food for consumption, we decided to take a cautious approach and not get too crazy about it. We bought a little greenhouse that will grow 36 plants (we made the assumption that some would not survive). After joking that we were going to grow corn and watermelons in our tiny apartment, we settled on the herbs and vegetables below.

  • 2 types of basil
  • Microgreens
  • Chives
  • Spearmint
  • Spinach

herbs

We sowed 2-3 seeds in each peat pellet, with each herb getting its own row.

baby herbs

Day 1, 3/12/17

Now we have to wait until the seeds sprout. Then, we remove the dome and place the seedlings in a sunny spot. Once we have full leaves, we will transplant our little babies into some bigger pots.

Stay tuned!

 

Green Wedding Resources

As I go about this experience of planning a wedding, I have attempted to compile some information and resources for other ladies and gents who are taking in consideration the footprint of their big day.

Resources for Anyone Anywhere:

A Practical Wedding

This amazing website and book tell you basically everything you need to know. In true fashion, I ordered the book secondhand from Amazon for about $4 and devoured it in 3 days.

apw

via Amazon.com

APW is focused on creating a culture that supports laid-back, feminist weddings. All that stuff wedding media tells you that you have to have? We think you
don’t have to have it (unless you actually want it). And we don’t believe that all those things people tell you are tradition
s actually are traditional. -APW

Craigslist

I live for Craigslist for all of my furniture (I have several tabs open as I type this), so there is no reason not to turn to it for wedding materials. All you need to do is search wedding and there will be tons of results for local brides selling items they used only once. From crafty DIY materials to table runners and decorative pieces, wedding dresses & rings, Craigslist has it all.

craigslist

Thrift Stores

Are you pining for that mismatched vintage look? Head over to your local thrift stores to see what little pieces you can start collecting. For your tables, look for glassware, plates, platters, serving trays and cake stands. For decorations, look for old books, candlesticks, globes, and frames. Your purchase may also support a local charity!

Resources for those in the Chicago area:

Green Wedding Alliance

GWA is a group of eco-friendly vendors in the Chicagoland area. They put on great events like the Committed Wedding Event and the Great Wedding Recyclery.

green-wedding-alliance

Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance connects a growing community of environmentally and socially responsible event vendors with the conscious consumer for mindful weddings, commitment ceremonies, and social events. The Alliance is a collaborative network of over 50 member vendors who strive to grow and inform their responsible business practices. -GWA

Do you have any other suggestions that I should be aware of? Let me know!

Chicago Recycling Round-Up (Hint: It’s Not Good)

My experience recycling in Chicago has not been easy, and I have written about it every step of the way.

Just getting a blue cart for our building was a challenge. I mean, it took 79 days, and numerous follow ups for it to arrive on our curb.

bluecart3

But once the blue cart arrived, it was not smooth sailing.

For a while, I was placated by the multiple notes I noticed taped to the carts, to serve as a reminder that they are for recycling only. I was comforted that someone cared enough to write the note but also annoyed that they were necessary in the first place.

 

After that, the city-wide recycling drop-off centers began to be phased out and the City released a video showing why plastic grocery bags do not go into your blue cart (Spoiler Alert: It seriously messes up the machinery.)

recycling drop off

Goodbye my dear friend

 

A few months went by without too much excitement, but that must have been the calm before the storm. Our maintenance has had trouble understanding how recycling works, making it even more frustrating, thus why so many blog posts were necessary.

 

trash-can3

Caught our recyclables being moved from the blue cart to the trash cart

 

Hopefully, now that we are nearing the anniversary of the beginning of this struggle, I the next year should be less eventful.

I promise to keep you updated.

Vintage Shop Hoppin’

It is no secret that I love secondhand, thrift and vintage finds. So when I heard about the Vintage Shop Hop, I was all over it.

2 days

300+ stores

Northeastern IL and Southeastern WI

Sign. Me. Up. 

vintage-shop-hop

While I did not get to caravan all over IL  and WI for two days, I did get to spend the entire day with my Mom driving around the Northern suburbs. From 9 AM – 3 PM, we hit approximately 16 different shops (with a quick lunch break).

 

 

I was on the lookout for a number of things:

  • A plant stand for our future herb garden
  • A catch-all for K’s dresser
  • Cake stands for the wedding
  • Vintage house/address numbers for table numbers for the wedding
  • A TV stand
  • Napkins and handkerchiefs

While it was a super amazing day of getting to look at so many different vendors, we did not load up the car like we had hoped.

That is okay because I want my finds to be perfect, not just so-so.

As we finished the winding hallways of an antique mall, I found the perfect plant stand.

I took one look at the chrome and white enamel kitchen cart and said, “This is the one!”

kitchen-cart

It is a beauty and I cannot wait to show you what I end up doing with it. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

We are Saying ‘Adios’ to Our Last Piece of IKEA Furniture

Back in college and the post-college days, K and I both had an assortment of IKEA furniture.  This included dressers, bed frames, coffee tables, nightstands, etc.

When I moved to DC, the easiest thing for me to do was pick some up from the IKEA in Maryland and lay it all flat in the back of our car (followed by 11 hours of putting it together). Then when I made the move back to Chicago, I sold all but one piece of it to the next person moving in.

 

That one unsold TV stand is now the only piece of IKEA furniture we have left in our apartment after selling a number of other IKEA pieces (aka K’s super wobbly dresser as seen below) shortly after we moved in.

 

dresser-for-sale

If you so much as poked this dresser with your pinky finger, it would wobble all over the place

 

 

Legitimately every other piece of furniture we currently own was previously owned by someone else.

For instance…

couch

Couch sourced from my aunt


 

coffee-table

Coffee table sourced from Craigslist


 

end-table2

End table sourced from Craigslist


 

IU chairs done 2

Kitchen chairs sourced from the IU Surplus Store & attempted to be refinished by me, but failed, so my dad helped


 

dresser1

Dresser sourced from Craigslist


 

dresser

5 piece bedroom set sourced from my Grandmother (50+ years old)


 

cabinet done

Metal cabinet sourced from a family friend and refinished by me


Not pictured are our kitchen table and mattress and that is mostly because I did not feel like clearing off the table to take a decent picture of it. The kitchen table came from a garage sale and was refinished by me, while the mattress was from a friend of K’s.

So now we are on a mission to replace the lone piece of IKEA particle board with something of a bit more quality, maybe something that won’t get instantly dinged up. Don’t worry, the TV stand will move on to another good home. My brother has his eye on it.

tv-stand

Lone piece of IKEA furniture left in our apartment, in what used to be a sea of MALM

The best part is that I love hunting for that perfect replacement piece. We are thinking of a midcentury modern lowboy dresser to provide us with some extra storage. Now it is down to finding the right one, at the right size, and the right price.

Sure, I could go online and order a TV stand that is made of particle board and will fall apart in 3 years, but I would so much rather have a real piece of furniture.

One that someone else loved.

I will be scouring craigslist, garage sales, and thrift stores until I find the perfect one. That will provide me with so much more satisfaction than just clicking “Place Your Order.”

Apparently, I Don’t Limit My Clean Up Efforts to Just Beaches

Over the weekend, I took a trip up to Boyne Falls, Michigan to go skiing with a group of friends.

I had not been skiing in 8 years. The last time was my freshman year spring break with my dad in Park City, Utah.

 

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My dad and I at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah

 

Since it has been so long, I was a bit nervous. Fortunately, it all came right back, just like riding a bike.

My skiing skills were not the only thing that came right back to me over the weekend.

While riding the chairlift, we noticed a number of items that had been dropped on the run below. Sometimes it’s a single glove, a hat, maybe even a ski, but we actually started noticing a lot of beer cans.

I have cleaned up beaches before, but never a mountain (Is it acceptable to call them mountains in Michigan? Asking for a friend). Suddenly I was on a mission to pick up the pieces that did not belong on the pristine powder, and I was not alone!

skitrip1

Here is my friend Eric and I completely staging this beer can collection. We had picked it up on the way down a run and since it’s not super easy to take a picture mid-ski, we chose to recreate the moment on some flatter terrain.

skitrip2

I stuffed each can into my coat pocket until we got down to the chairlift, where I handed it off to the attendant, who would then give me a super quizzical look. (AKA, Why are you giving me a beer can?)

Hey, garbage cans and recycling bins are not super common on mountains/hills! What else am I supposed to do with it?!

skitrip4

I am fully aware that each time we took a picture with a beer can or handed it off to the attendant, it looked like we were the ones doing the drinking.

 

skitrip3

That is a bottle of Fireball.

 

But in reality, we were being the good guys who picked up after everyone else. I do not condone drinking while operating skis or snowboards, but if you are going to do it, at least get a reusable flask and stop leaving your trash where you are about to go ski!

The Never Ending Recycling Saga Part II: Caught in the Act

Follow up to The Never Ending Recycling Saga, My Work Here is Done (Probably Not), A Recycling Conspiracy Solved, and A Recycling Conspiracy.


With the very nice (but slightly disturbing) February weather, I have been opening the windows and our fire escape door to get some fresh air into the apartment.

Even with the windows and doors closed, you can pretty much hear anything that is going on outside our apartment or on the sidewalk.

Yesterday, I heard a sustained rustling coming from the side of our apartment where the trash cans and recycling cart are kept.

So naturally, I went to our door and took a peek out.  Our maintenance guy was moving trash from one garbage can to another, which I thought was kind of odd, but not that odd since he has been moving recyclables into the trash can for a number of weeks.

recyclingprobs1

These pictures were taken through the fire escape, so just ignore the grates! 

I stood, quietly watching to see what he was going to do next.

recyclingprobs2

Of course, it was time to mess with the recycling bin! He proceeded to pull a bunch of cardboard boxes out of the blue cart and toss them on the ground, most likely destined for the trash can.

recyclingprobs3

CAUGHT

recyclingprobs4

IN THE

recyclingprobs5

ACT!

I could not take it anymore, so I nonchalantly opened the fire escape door and called down to him. Keep in mind this is the same maintenance guy I previously went out of my way to approach about his recycling thieving actions.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He just looked up at me and didn’t really give a response. I explained again for the millionth time that the recyclables belong in the blue cart and for him to please put them back.

He did.

Then he proceeded to roll the cart out to the curb even though it was not recycling week…