Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Just wanted to post my most recent color love.  I'm dreaming of a tropical vacation and ran across this color combo.  The flora and fauna (not to mention the cocktails) found in the Caribbean are all represented here.  Yum!  Oh how I wish was in the tropics right now!  Dreaming of island living.... sigh.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I know it's Tuesday, but as yesterday was a holiday, I thought I would make an exception.

If you haven't "officially" heard this band before, they may still sound familiar.  I first ran across "Explosions In The Sky" in 2004 while watching the movie Friday Night Lights and they were also featured pretty heavily in following TV series. They now appear to be Hollywood's go to band to bring the emotion to the pivotal "big game" or other sports related sequence in general as I've been hearing them all over the place lately.  Rightfully so, as they truly do evoke some pretty powerful emotions with their beautiful compositions.

Those emotions don't have to stop at sports either as I even used this song during a portion of my wedding ceremony.  It was played live by my string quartet and it was just magical.

It's long, clocking in at just over 8 minutes, but worth every second.


Friday, May 25, 2012



Even though it is not officially summer, the barbecues will be in full swing to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.  It's a perfect time to get together with family and friends to honor our Veterans and to do it with style! Better Homes & Gardens gathered together some beautiful and patriotic projects for 4th of July parties, but I think it works just as well for Memorial Day.  How fun would it be to use some of these centerpiece ideas for your weekend gatherings?  The pinwheels are my favorite!  BH&G suggested you place these beauties on your porch to decorate, but I think they will work just as well on your table top.  You can find a ton of DIY pinwheel instructions online.  If I'm very adventurous, that in store this weekend...

Have a safe and happy weekend all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I have been falling head over heals in love with all the beautiful color palettes I've seen others create out there. I even have an entire Pinterest board called color love dedicated to them.  So much so that I went on a search for a way to recreate these beauties on my own.  I started out trying to visually match each of the stand out colors in a photo.  Whoa, what a time consuming mistake that was!  I also discovered that I clearly don't have a eye for tiny color nuances. Who knew? 

I also know that there is an eyedropper tool built within Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop that could help me out but as my free trial has expired (and I'm still trying to convince Mr. Squareview that it actually is a necessity to my health to have my very own version J) that avenue was closed to me.  I can't tell you how pleased I was when, by complete accident, I literally stumbled upon this website

The DeGraeve site allows you to submit a link of a picture and it will generate the palette in both a dull and vibrant version.  How wonderful is that?  I couldn't wait to get started... Here is what I was able to create.

Click on the image that you would like to use and choose copy image URL (this is on a PC, it may work differently on a Mac).

Go to the site and  paste the link into the URL of image space.  Hit Color-Palette-ify button and up pops the codes for all colors.

Now that you have the codes, you can plug them in to recreate the color using either or both the RGB or CMYK color templates.  My favorite site is ColorHexa and you can find it here.  I've put a red dot next to both color template codes below.  You'll see that it indicates for RGB a code of  Red 170, Green 204, Blue 170 to recreate  #aaccaa.  What I also love is it supplies complementary, analogous, split complementary, & triadic color scheme options at the bottom of the page as well.  How awesome would that be for weddings, party planning, etc if you were using a photo or object to build your theme around.  So fun!

Voila! Here is my palette.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Lounging outdoors this time of year is one of my favorite things to do. There is literally nothing better than being able to relax under a gorgeous big umbrella with a yummy refreshment of choice in hand.  Look at these absolutely gorgeous spaces, can't you feel the heat of the sun with just the right amount of cool breeze?  Can you feel yourself beginning to relax?  All the stress of the day melting away like the ice in that previously mentioned cocktail? Ahhhhh - there is nothing better.  I'll go as far as saying it's perfection!

Shade, patio, sun umbrella
Patio tropical patio

Now, back to the real world.  I live in Chicago. Not in the suburbs where there may be enough space at hand to build yourself a little corner of outdoor perfection, but in the city where you are lucky to have any outdoor space of your own.  

It seems to me that the average outdoor space in Chicago is shared and it's sole purpose is a fire exit.  Not too much to work with as far as decorating goes as doing so would basically be a fire hazard!   Even though this pic wasn't taken in Chicago, these multi-colored beauties represent a good example of what a real estate agent might describe as 'great outdoor space' in a listing.  J

Now, I'm not complaining. I adore living in the city, wouldn't trade it for the world but as I dreamily gaze at these pictures, I'm thinking there has to be something I can do.  I went back to the trusty interwebs to look for some ideas of ways to achieve my lounging goal even though I'm only working with a 5'x8' space (which is actually quite large in my neck of the woods).  I found a ton of photos, and even though they looked gorgeous, the same thing was missing from each.... no huge lovely umbrella to park myself under. 
APARTMENT THERAPY - 66 Sq Ft in Philly

The challenge in most cases is that the space isn't wide enough for the standard 6' round umbrella and the standard 15" round stand that comes with most simply takes up too much precious floor space.  The only option I've seen which I tossed out immediately was one of those 1/2 umbrellas you mount to a wall.  No thanks!

Now what is a girl to do, you might ask?  Funnily enough, it was reference my own vacation photos.  Mr. Squareview and I love to travel, and one of our favorite spots to get away is New Orleans.   NOLA holds a special place in our heart and we get there as often as we can.  If you've never been, go.  It's like a whole other country inside the US.  The French Quarter is full of gorgeous wrought iron balconies and on many, you'll find umbrellas (like this photo).  After walking up and down the gorgeous streets, I finally began to notice that the umbrellas were actually hanging out past the balcony itself.  EUREKA!  This is how I can fit a standard 6' umbrella on my 5' balcony!

Now how do I secure it?  You can't really see from the photo, but these are secured with your standard zip cords.  Great idea, but while the Windy City is a nickname for Chicago that has origins that have nothing to do with the weather, it's still pretty windy here.  I had images of my beautiful umbrella taking flight faster than you can say mild gust.

Then Mr. Squareview comes to the rescue!  Stay tuned... more on that next time.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I can't help it, I feel like I'm a character in a hip, moody, international spy -type movie each time I hear this.  Hope it whisks you away to somewhere cool and exciting!

Friday, May 18, 2012


 I'll be hosting my first summer party soon and I've been scouring the interwebs for some fun fresh ideas.  I decided to end my work week by spending too much a resonable amount of time on my one of my favorite places, Pinterest, to gather some ideas.  Here are the goodies I came across.  It's sunny and the perfect tempature today and all I have to say is... 
 Yea! Summer is here 
Source: via shelia on Pinterest

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I just had a pretty noteworthy evening and I just had to share...

I'm visiting our New York offices today and after a very long day, I headed out to make my way to the hotel for a much needed rest. As I walked down 5th Ave, dragging my rolly bag behind me, trying in vane to find the hotel, I realized that the NY addressing system is NOT the same as my sweet home Chicago's. In Chicago, if you are standing in front of street address #487 and you wanted to go to an address on that same street at #373, you would end up walking just over a block...In NY - just over 7 blocks - in heels - ouch.

I did get there, though and happily walked up to the front desk and asked to check in. It seems that the hotel had a bit of a flood and several floors, as a result, could not be occupied. I was literally turned away from the inn :)

They handed me an envelope with $10, an address uptown (for another hotel), and sent me on my way. In the exact same direction I had just come from! Go figure :)

Now, the real challenge begins. How do I get from 35th & 5th to 47th & 8th? You may call me lazy if you wish, but by this time walking was completely out of the question. Hailing a cab was in order, STAT! There are 5 million cabs in this great big city, but not one of them was stopping for me!

Then, through the traffic and mobs of people, an unlikely angel peddled up to me and asked me if I wanted a ride. Now, that may sound creepy, but I jumped at the chance to climb in the back of Mr. Pedicab's Eco-friendly ride!

I really wish I had thought to take a photo of me and my rolly bag in the "back seat" of a pedicab being peddled across Broadway in New York City. Best $20 I've ever spent!

Instead of that photo, I'll leave you with this one from seat 20a somewhere above Ohio. Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Panda Riot is a 3 piece ensemble hailing from Chicago.  According to their bio, they create tiny sonic bliss-outs and swirl-pop sing- a longs.  Just love that!

Driving home from my Mom's yesterday I heard them playing on the Sunday night radio show that highlights local bands.  I had heard them years ago, but forgot how much I liked them.  So much that I have a two-for on today's Music Monday's post.  My all time favorite song from Panda Riot was nowhere to be found on YouTube.  As a result I decided to post both my fav song and my fav video.  The song is called Serious Radical Girls and can be found  here.  It definitely delivers on the tiny sonic bliss-out and swirl pop sing-a-long promise!

Here is the video for the song Motown Glass.  I can't get enough of the hand drawn images of what I've decided to call Chicago from the hand drawn (again, what I decided to call ) the El train.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I'm starting to love fonts. I mean, really love them. Mr. Squareview is getting a little worried. J
Lately, I've been on a mission to find the most beautiful inexpensive fonts available.  My hunt began looking through the 100s of blog postings out there hoping to stumble upon some jems.  There are some beauties to behold and even some bloggers that post a Font Fridays series.  You'll find some gorgeous fonts if you go that route but downloading more than a couple would end up being a little too rich for my blood just to admire their charms!  That, and it was pretty time consuming to hunt and peck your way through to the goodies.

I've found the compilations the wonderful pinners pin (or create and pin) on Pinterest to be one of my favorite ways to discover new lovelies.  Some are so beautifully put together and visually pleasing,  I decided to take a stab at creating my very own collection of favorite fonts.  I've only scratched the surface at the top of the alphabet.  So, drum roll please....Here is a collection of some of ... favorite fonts -letters A thru F

sources for each:

Font collections for letters G through Z coming soon... Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I'm back in Chicago today and realized that I never posted the final Minted challenge submissions for you all to see.  I know you were waiting with bated breath, right? right? J

Anyway - here they are.  Voting is open and I'd love your support!

I've already posted the rest in a previous post, but here they are again as a reminder J

thank you cards - Savile Row Plaid

thank you cards - Cerulean Crisscross

thank you cards - Tangerine Garden

Tangerine Garden - this one started out to be one of my favorites because I loved the way the 1/2 flower pattern turned out on the top and bottom rows, but I just couldn't find a font that fit. I ended up with the old stand-by BlackJack.  It's funny how you can end up being just "eh" about a design if something is just a little off.  Even if it was gelling for you before.

So much so that I was so "eh" about the purple one I originally posted that I didn't even bother submitting it.  Go figure.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  There is just something so promising about the beginning of the end of a work week....

Monday, May 7, 2012


I didn't have a chance to get over to YouTube for today's posting. On another business trip and unfortunately got caught up in prep for my real job :) I will resume next week for sure.

Began the morning in Chicago, landed in DC (Regan) headed to Bethesda, met with clients, back to DC (Dulles), now on the plane making my way to Boston. All in the space of a few hours. Phew!

You may have seen my photos from the air in past posts. I decided on my last trip that, if possible, I would take photos to commemorate each of my business trips going forward. Maybe, with the amount I travel, I have a new weekly topic... PICS from the TOP TUESDAYS (or something like that).

Here are a few snaps from seat 5a (to DC), of national monuments from the air and from seat 9d (to Boston) respectively. Of course all have a little Instagram love added. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I can't believe May is already here.  One of my favorite ways to kick off the summer season is to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  The fact that this year, it falls on a Saturday calls for an extra big party!  Anyone could put out some salsa & chips with a side of Corona and call it a day, but not me!  I went looking for party ideas that would celebrate the occasion while being both fun and modern. Here's what I found...

Not your mother's fiesta banner ::
This bright and modern banner from Paper Fox Design would set the tone to make sure the mariachi band played long into the night!
found here on Etsy

Food is key to the success of any party and you can't celebrate Cinco de Mayo without a delicious guacamole recipe.  I'm partial to authentic Mexican guacamole which is just avocados, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and a little lime juice.  Some folks like it spicy... Whichever your preference, this recipe will fit the bill.

Perfect Guacamole
Perfect Guacamole Recipe ::
Prep time: 10 minutes
2 ripe avocados
1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
A dash of freshly grated black pepper
1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
1 Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avacado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
2 Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more.
If adding the chili peppers – start slow. Chili peppers  vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.
Keep the tomatoes separate until ready to serve.
Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.
3 Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.
4 Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.
Yield: Serves 2-4.

MMM, Beer (as Homer Simpson would say) ::

I think I've mentioned before, I love beer. And nothing beats a yummy south of the boarder beverage on a hot day (or a cold one for that matter, I live in Chicago so I'll take what I can get!J).

Frozen Margaritas with a twist ::
I'm a big fan of the Hostess with the Mostess.  I'm inspired by all the fun and fresh ideas they share and this one is no exception.  So fabulous!  

Margarita Ice PopsMargarita Popsicles
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
Kosher salt, for garnish
Special Equipment: 
4 small cups (recommended: Dixie), 4 popsicle sticks
Combine sugar, lime juice, water, lemon juice and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool transfer to a blender with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime wedge and process until smooth. Pour into the cups and cover the top of each cup with foil. Place the popsicle stick in center of cup (down through foil, which will hold it in place). Freeze until hard, preferably overnight. Remove from freezer and run cup under warm water to loosen popsicle. Garnish with kosher salt and serve. 

A great way to say THANKS! ::

I adore this letterpress card and it would be a perfect way to send a heartfelt thanks to all your guests.

You can find this one on Smock.  

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I live in a Chicago neighborhood originally settled by German immigrants. There are hits of both Bavarian and Northern Saxony culture in every nook and cranny as far as the eye can see.  One of which is the massive May Pole that lives in a corner of what is now a parking lot.  It stands there all year round, but today it is decked out with beautiful ribbons (not unlike this photo that I grabbed from a Google search because I am not in my 'hood, but in the Loop today J).  May Day always feels like summer is right around the corner for me and if you aren't familiar with summer in Chicago, I can tell you that summertime is the best time. 

As a Chicagoan, I feel it is my obligation to cram in as much fun a frivolity into those 3 small months as possible and the absolute best way to kick off the season is Mayfest held just under that very same May Pole.  Don't be confused by the name though, as Mayfest actually begins June 1st. Such is life in Chicago!