December 21, 2012

Home for the Holidays

My sister and I are packing up the presents and holiday attire and heading down to Cincinnati to spend Christmas with family. May your weekend also be merry and bright.

Happy Holidays from Sandcastle!

December 19, 2012


It’s the time of year for entertaining, and I can think of no better way to prep than stocking up the bar cart. Essentials are key, but as these photographs can attest, it’s the special touches that really seem to set the mood for a party. 


December 18, 2012

It's Continuing...

to look a lot like Christmas. A few other festive scenes captured around our place lately...
Handmade felt mistletoe draped over a reading lamp
Satsumas, the perfect light snack after a day of eating cookies
Seasonal adornments
Glittery pinecones nestled among my book collections

December 17, 2012

It's Beginning

Tucking my new Confetti System ornaments in among my vintage glass ones

Though I’ve been away from home more often than not lately, I found the time to enjoy some of my favorite holiday pastimes this weekend. I’m incredibly happy to report that it is finally beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the condo. 

Unpacking my snowmen mugs and promptly filling them with peppermint hot chocolate and mini marshmallows
Creating a centerpiece tray using domed bottlebrush trees and fresh holly and evergreen boughs
Cards intended to send holiday wishes from the Windy City

December 7, 2012

Holiday Hailing

This weekend, we'll be cabbing it downtown to holiday party-hop. 'Tis the season!

December 6, 2012

Revolution Brewery

Signature raised fist tap handles

I’ve been looking for an excuse to go down to Logan Square to try out Revolution Brewery for a long time. Finally, we found ourselves in the vicinity during a free afternoon, and headed in to check it out. The beer was interesting, incredibly varied, and the perfect complement to their eclectic menu. On this particular day, the fact that the wait was minimal didn’t hurt either. All in all, I’d say it's worth a trip.

Tasting lounge with worn half cask tables
Bacon fat and sage popcorn starter
"Red Flannel Hash" for the red-flanned girl
Unexpected decor details

December 5, 2012

Winter Wonders

My boyfriend and I usually carpool to and from work, and although our commute is long, the drive is on a leisurely stretch of road that winds through the picturesque North Shore communities lining Lake Michigan.  This time of year, when the sun has set long before we’ve even left our offices, we can admire the holiday decorations adorning the beautiful mansions along the way.

Invariably, we begin debating the merits of white vs. colored lights, and I usually change my preference depending on the day. Every so often though, we’ll stumble upon an untraditional and highly impactful display that happily reminds me that there can be much more to holiday decorating than a single string of lights.

December 4, 2012

Handmade Holidays

The fantastic world of Sayuri in the windowed corridor

One of my favorite holiday traditions is a morning visit to the annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market. The Pulaski Park Fieldhouse is a great venue, and the event organizers always perfect the ambiance with art installations and turntable tunes. The booths are filled with inspiring crafts, nods to Chicago, unique food (Puffs of Doom, anyone?) and tons of gifts, including one that I scooped up for myself—this cute print by One Canoe Two

Colorful stamped cards for every occasion 
Rows of sparkly druzy stone necklaces draped over burnt wood
Perfectly creepy anatomical china
Simple boxes of rustic deliciousness
Admiring the Fieldhouse on an unseasonably warm morning

December 3, 2012

Kansas City

Our first of several trips into Kansas

We used an invitation to a wedding in Kansas City as an excuse for a long weekend of new sights, local foods and a short visit with family. First up was an afternoon trip to Independence, Missouri, where we chased daylight and scouted for signs of ruts left in the ground from wagon wheels on the Oregon Trail.

The following morning, we headed out to Fair Share Farm in Kearney to pick spinach, learn about community-supported agriculture and eat carrots plucked straight out of the soil. We crisscrossed over the borders of Kansas and Missouri so many times during the trip that I lost track, and then it all came to an end with a night of dancing and drinking beneath romantic strings of lights.

The start of the Oregon Trail, behind the historic Bingham-Waggoner estate
Tangles of wire on the outskirts of Independence
Gas station Barbeque that lived up to the hype at Oklahoma Joe's
The amazing view of Country Club Plaza from our hotel balcony
Gorgeous greens in the high tunnel at Fair Share Farm
Marveling at the extensive beer selection (Deschutes!) at Grinders
Wedding rafters at the Hobbs Building