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new year, new city, new home: kitchen style

Posted in Living by

It was a long time coming, but Dani and I finally found a place in Chicago and moved to our new city (full time) at the beginning of the year. Setting up our apartment has been really fun, but there are a few things that we seem to still be missing… or a few things we have too many of. Here are a couple of things that remain on our want list!

Print: It’s no secret at all that The Hold Steady is my favorite band, and I found this print a few years ago and have coveted it since. “Citrus” is one of my favorite songs of theirs, and I’ve always thought this would be really cute in a bar area.

Coffee station: We really like coffee. Like, it’s a problem. We have so many coffee mugs between us that there’s not enough storage in our kitchen, not to mention the varieties of coffee and tea we have tucked away. We’ve been on the hunt for a storage unit that will fit our needs, and I really like the Billy bookcases from Ikea – they have so many different combinations, we could easily customize something that would (hopefully!) fit our collections.

Bar cart: …we might also like gin and similar to our coffee collection, we’re out of space for our margarita and wine glasses, and the liquor bottles require a step stool to reach. Not acceptable. I love the bamboo style of this one – matches my favorite Framebridge photos!

Coffee pot: This is our coffee pot. These… are our coffee pots? We got matching coffee pots before moving in together, so now we have a match set of this guy. It features an autostart option so you can schedule it to brew your coffee before you wake up (I did this in Nashville a lot and it was great,) as well as a timer to shut the coffee pot off before it burns out.

Kitchen island: I really love islands, and this one serves a double purpose: not only would it increase our counter space (as we’ve found out, we don’t have nearly enough since we take food seriously here) but it would also give me a place to pull up a bar stool and perch to work at. For some reason I’ve always been able to focus better sitting in taller chairs (maybe because of my towering height) so the only disappointment for me in our apartment is the absence of a counter to hang out at.

Do you have any kitchen must haves?

January 9, 2017

Desi’s Dream Apartment

Posted in Style by

Here’s the thing about moving: it stinks. And when you’re moving around the country in your little Toyota Corolla, you can’t drag along things like furniture with you every time you relocate, and it hardly seems cost-effective to bother renting a U-Haul for my $80 Ikea bed (bought secondhand on craigslist) and my falling apart $40 (again, Ikea via craigslist) dresser. Since I’m hoping that this time, the move will be at least a little more permanent, I’d ideally like to style up my apartment a little bit more. Here are some of the pieces I’m leaning toward!


Ikea Trysil – My old bed was a MALM, and I liked it, but it always felt a little low to the ground. This frame has higher legs, and I like the sleek lines of it.

Ikea Knopparp – This couch would be better in black, but I like the lines of it too. Seems like it would be really comfortable and hug you. Eventually I might just want to get a sleeper sofa, but this will be a good start.

Three-piece dining set – Instead of having an indoor dining table, I’m just going to get a patio set and turn the dining room into an office.

Crosley Turntable – It’s definitely time for a record player upgrade in my life.

Macbook Pro – I have some ideas popping around in my head that involve needing to be more mobile and have a faster computer. My old 2008 Macbook Classic is fine for reading and blogging bed, but it’s not apropos for meetings anymore.

Sisters of Los Angeles Rocks glasses – I will probably live without real plates and dishes for awhile (I have two plates, lots of tupperware and cooking accessories), but I deeply want a new set of nice glasses. The theme of my apartment is going to be travel, decorated with photos and reminders of my vacations. (Probably the last thing that my wanderlust needs, but I love the idea.)

So this is my wishlist! I’m hoping to score a lot of furniture over time on craigslist, and I’m thinking about getting a bigger TV. I know I don’t need it, but I’m starting to feel like I might be the kind of person who needs those kinds of home comforts to really feel settled (and also, that I’m the kind of person who needs to feel settled.)

What tips do you have for decorating and furnishing a new place on a budget?

July 25, 2014

The Lightbulb Moment: Moving

Posted in Career, Living by

I’ve been really struggling with what to do about moving – if I want to get a long lease here, go sublet to sublet, etc. I had this flash of what the *#$& are you thinking and I finally know what I need to do – it’s simply not working for me to be here. It’s just such a disconnect to have this job that I really like, but not be fulfilled in any other way (further proof that I’m just not a career girl.) This compounded when I was talking to my mom about my tooth – how I feel like I made the wrong decision allowing them to do the root canal instead of just taking it, etc. – and said that I feel like every decision I have made in the last year has been the wrong one. I have always thought that I was a very independent person, but it turns out that I need a support system near me. It’s been impossible to meet people here, and one of the three friends I had put some pretty serious doubt in my head, so I don’t even talk to her anymore. I thought I could tune all that out by living at work, but I basically did that in February, and all it did was make me tired. It turns out that I need my family, I need to be close to Sixx, I need people. It really annoys me to be one of those people.

So instead of devoting my time to finding an apartment, I’m revving up my engine to apply to jobs back north. I sort of thought wanting to move home would feel like a bigger failure than it’s turning out to feel – but I guess I’m just old enough now to know (and want) what makes me happy. Plus if I can move back to my parent’s house, or into my grandparent’s currently empty house – I would be able to pay off, conservatively, at least two of my loans this year. (On the flip side, staying here sans roommate would mean barely scraping by to make minimum payments.) And if, by May, I don’t have any leads or offers – I guess I’ll have to revisit looking for apartments or subleases. I know that I don’t have the luxury this time of being able to quit my job without something else lined up, so I have to do better this time. And while I’m not overly happy about moving again for the fourth time in a year, but I would rather make one move back up north than another move in town here and then ultimately move back since I know that’s what I really want.

* But I still love Ohio State. 🙂

March 8, 2013

Do I ever want to own a home?

Posted in Living, Money by

There’s an overarching theme in the pf blogosphere – it seems like everyone is saving for or has recently purchased a house. (I can only think of two blogs that I read regularly that don’t fit that description, and even if the bloggers are saving for it, they don’t post about it regularly.) I’m thinking about it a lot more since one of my friends and her husband just spent a few months looking for a house and are in the process of buying it, and my boss is in the beginning stages of selling the house he and his wife bought a few years ago and moving on up (already? This is just crazy to me. They can’t have been in this place for more than three years, and it’s great.)

Thinking about it even in high school, I knew I never wanted a house. I pictured myself in a trendy downtown loft apartment of some fancy city, either living with my man or solo. And while that’s certainly not how my life has turned out (I live in a pretty typical apartment with a roommate, two cats, and an upstairs roommate who has a more infrequent schedule than my nurse roommate), I’m still not sure I’d want to settle into a house.


  • I could paint, redecorate, or anything on my own whim.
  • It’s mine, mine, mine.
  • There wouldn’t be so much moving around, and the risk of payments going up every year would be smaller.
  • Would be putting rent money toward property that I would own


  • In choosing a traditional house, I’d lose the convenience of an office to have packages dropped off to. (This seems like something trivial, but I lost HOURS of my life last year having to drive out to the UPS facility to retrieve packages.) 
  • Anything that goes wrong is my responsibility.
  • All the bills are mine – no complex covering trash, or even utilities that many companies offer to cover.
  • Maybe it’s just the stage of my life, maybe it’s my profession, or maybe it’s just who I am – but I’m still moving around a lot. I certainly don’t want to buy a house here, when I don’t plan to be here much longer than two years (barring some giant promotion that would make it worth it.) Relatedly, I don’t know where the place I would want to settle down and have a home-ownership life would be.
  • The worst thing would be to commit to a house, then move during another housing market crash and be unable to sell. No matter how much I would be making, there wouldn’t be any amount where I could pay rent and a mortgage on an empty house.

Are there other things I should be considering, or am I just a weirdo for not wanting that kind of life?

January 27, 2013

The Cost of Moving: The Sequel

Posted in Living, Money by

That Cost of Moving Series I started? Yeah, it’s about to get even higher. Over the weekend, I said my last goodbye to the red door.

After going rounds with my landlord about the heat situation, quoting the state Landlord/Tenant Laws, and him coming at me with a lawyer that turned out to be fake – I ended up hiring a lawyer of my own and moved out. Below, the costs associated with this:

  • $30: I bought a space heater of my own to see if it would heat up any better than the two he gave me. It did not.
  • $100: consult with a lawyer, who finds all kinds of crazy things that I missed on all of my reads of the lease. He sends scumlord a letter notifying that I expect the full return of my $775 deposit plus attorney fees, and that we will take it to court if he does not follow through in a timely manner. (This was sent last Wednesday, and I have not heard from him since.)
  • $80: truck rental to move my (few) pieces of furniture
  • $50: deposit on a new place. I initially meet the housemates, two girls who seem fairly normal. When I go back to pay the deposit, I discover that one girl moved out and meet the new guy who is coming in who was just discharged from a long stay in a psychiatric ward. I choose not to live here. (Still waiting to see if that will be refunded, but I’m doubting it.)
  • $500: I finally just move in with a friend! I’m loving it. She’s letting me stay for $500 including rent and utilities.

In my research I found that the house was zoned for a single-family only and that I couldn’t even take out renter’s insurance since it wasn’t a legal apartment. I’m just waiting to see about my deposit. To be honest, I do need it badly since I feel like I’ve been bleeding money – hoarding it for the move, paying bills, dental emergencies, and making trips to and from Ohio.  I hate that I feel like I’m living paycheck to paycheck – moving here and taking this job was NOT supposed to make me feel like this. Even when I was horribly under-employed and working part time, driving an hour to work for shifts from my parents house I didn’t feel like that was the case. All I can do in the meantime is unpack and settle in to my new place, where she will hopefully let me stay for an extended length. I’m not sure I can handle a sixth move in one year – especially when I don’t hope to even stay anywhere without D for too much longer.

Any tips on dealing with unscrupulous landlords or getting back your deposit?

December 3, 2012