Home sweet home

It’s been seven months since our moving saga.

While we are still learning neighborhood shortcuts and still finding replacement-people (dentist, mechanic, salon, bank, etc), when it comes to our actual home, we are finally settled in.

My heart’s still a wee broken. I admit to tearing up more than once when in near not anywhere close to the old ‘hood. It’s so so silly but as developers develop, businesses open and shut their doors, the No. 11 bus returns, I’m all “You’re moving on without me?! But, but I built a company, met Best Friend, facilitated countless life-changing connections here! How do you not fall apart without me, Roscoe Village? How do you remain so cute and quiet and parking-easy without me? HOW DO YOU GET A BRAND NEW WHOLE FOODS HOT BAR WITHOUT ME?!”

But there is little I am wistful for where the actual structure of the Ravenswood place is concerned; probably has something to do with the $300/mo heating bills for heat that didn’t work and the leaky roof + moving into an esthetically similar yet upgraded space. The pining is a neighborhood and memory pining. That will subside, I ‘spose.

Even if it doesn’t, onwards and upwards. No sense remaining stuck in what was. So from converted toy-factory to converted piano-factory, we build the next chapter of our lives. 

I’m always surprised when folks say, “I wanna see pics!”, chuckling at the thought that images of my walls and floors will bring any amount of joy to someone else. Yet, that’s exactly what I think and say when you move, renovate, do anything housing-related. Your pups, outfits, and babies are adorbs; but it’s your mantle, farm sink, and mudroom I’m jonesing to see. I loooove before and after pics, images with the hashtag #reno, and hearing what color grout you chose. I’m the person who loves taking the El or walking at night so I can non-creepily peer in your window and make mental notes about your area rugs and sconces.

So if you’re a Peeping Tom like I am, here ya go! A pictorial journey from my first visit to the new Mac & Cheese through today.

What I first spotted when Realtor Julie and I toured the listing that made me go “Ohhhhh! Me want!”


A parking spot! Next to an obnoxious car!

Three nerve-wracking days later (we had lost out to two previous offers on other properties — who pays IN CASH?!)…


And so we began the divorce moving process and a month later, 

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the old place stood empty,


and the new place, three miles away, stood waiting.

This was our first time getting parking permits, on both ends — worth it!

Our new keys — a good sign, no?Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 9.16.57 PM20160606_12453713346160_10154336921907033_4281282465258441817_o

Wait, now we have to unpack?! Moving is the worst.

But then you start to discover things that make it less worst.20160706_152314

Rooftop view20160611_095247

Right away, I loved the easy outside access (that’s the door to our dining room) and the peace and privacy in the middle of a bustling neighborhood, and green thumb’ed away a day.20160715_171324 20160715_17124613443293_10154358109827033_5483213137885897439_o

Power-hosing our windows brought me immense joy.screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-2-18-32-pm

We love that we have a Handygal we know and trust now that we’re home-parents; a godsend! We kept her busy the first few months.20160729_152843

I used moving as the impetus to complete the digital journey I had started a few years previous when I went paperless with my business. With the move, I went paperless personally and digitized everything from my 37 years — trophies, awards, diplomas, photos, yearbooks, ticket stubs, journals. It was emotional and sad and reflective and lovely and invigorating. I went from six file cabinet drawers to one and seven of those red tubs to zero.

Absolutely no regrets.

(Everyone always asks me what scanner I use; this one — double sided! Doesn’t matter the paper size! Syncs with Evernote!)20160729_15283420160801_171455

I got some good laughs and oy veys out of the digitizing.20160729_200608

Those laughs didn’t last for long — I hope you never have to have a truck like this parked in your alley.


While we were in Somewhere Magical, running one of our Sleepaway Camps, it was apparently a very very very wet weekend in Chicago. We returned to water damage throughout our bathrooms, bedroom, and hallway.


That’s our new house! That we paid $20K over list price for! In plastic bags! About to get thrown away! Yay, homeownership is fun!20160729_222813

We had to gut one of the bathrooms and slightly tear up the other rooms.

I had my first home-renovation shopping experience, at the overwhelming Tile Outlet, when the contractor called me as I was out for a run and needed to know a-sap what tile we wanted. Which is how I found myself precariously Divvy’ing home with tile samples on the front of a bike.20160822_13455520160913_15322020160914_113957

We played the fun game of “Where’s your toilet?” for almost two months.20160914_183435

There it is!20160914_173306

I made decisions about tile, thresholds, grout, paint, and lots of other stuff I had no idea about, and hoped I wasn’t a home-renovation moron.

Finally construction finished and with its completion, a new season began. I’m not sure why, but I feel, witness, and enjoy the seasons much more at this place than the old place.

Fall brought with it something extra special, something that occurs every 108 years.

When I was digitizing every thing, I stumbled upon Little Saya, wore her daily, out and about, and well, you know what happened.

It was great fun screaming, pleading, and hiding faces in pillows with Best Friend as the Cubbies filled and burst our hearts.

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We tried not to buy too much for the new house as we’re still smarting from the cost of this whole home-ownership thing. There’s been a few small things and one huge thing — a new bed. Our first king-size, our first non-Ikea purchase, our first mattress by mail. Look at that thing, it’s tiny! Delivered right to the front door. You’ll see our bed frame splurge a bit later.

Best Friend did a ton of research and found Tuft & Needle to be the King of the mattress in a box options (see what I did there?!). After three months of never knowing when he’s getting in and out of bed and feeling like I’m the only one there, I concur.

Sleep is important. Splurge yourself.20160829_134907

Check out this video!


We’re enjoying getting to know Wicker Park. I took it as a sign that we’re where we’re supposed to be with “Farmessori”, a farm and garden associated with the local Montessori school, just a few blocks away. Proud Montessori alum!

I’m a lover of ogling rich people houses. No shortage of ogling material ’round here. These are two we sauntered by on our New Year’s Day walk. 20170101_10180720161226_145019

And so here we are. January 2017. We started the new year replacing all of our halogens with LEDs — savings is sexy!

First snow at home.

Come on in! If you don’t mind taking your shoes off though… We’re a bit floor-crazy now that we own these floors. Best Friend spent the first few days living here felting everything. He may felt you.

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Dried flower arrangements created by my mom many moons ago that she sold at craft fairs20170101_114523 20170101_114321 20170101_114224

Projector Box that hangs from the ceiling; this and our Sonos system (one in every room!) makes me feel adult and luxurious.

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A closet for all my Camp and Facilitation supplies! Heaven!20170101_11533120170101_115050 20170101_11494620170101_11521520170102_09551120170101_11573520170102_131529 20170102_13162820170102_13114920170102_09485420170102_095228

You need a big freezer when you marry someone from Louisiana. Deer meat.20170102_13160620170102_095129

We didn’t have cabinets in the last place. Just like Oprah LOOOOVES bread, I LOOOVE cabinets. And having more than you can fill is amazing. As is having somewhere to put tupperware, which has always been the bane of my existence.20170102_095101 20170102_094934

Two things I never thought I needed until this place surprised me with ’em — a double-oven and an automatic ice maker. Need.

HVAC and water heaters decidedly not sexy. Until you have to buy new ones. Then you want everyone in the world to tell you how sexy they are and your guests look at you weirdly when you excitedly show them the new additions to the family and happy tears form in your eyes when someone notes how fast your water gets hot.13412214_10154336819507033_4468695384384076131_o20170101_11584720170101_11591020170101_115932

Maps of where we’ve been together, along with the color key. Work in progress, cause ya know, TRAVEL (we’re teaching an online travel-hacking class, if you’re interested).20170102_095430 20170101_114900 20170102_112419

Notes from our campers over the yearsuntitled-design

Member the water-damage disaster? Guest Bath — Before. During. After.

Happy with the results! I’m not a moron.

Bathroom door sign, a housewarming gift from our Handygal. Look how she matched the colors to the tile!20170102_14445520161228_13243720161228_13251220170102_144424

An entrepreneur’s bathroom. Always be marketing, always be inspiring.

Office / Guest Room20161228_132733 20161228_13264520161228_13282420170101_112050Bedroom
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Master bath. Another thing I realized I needed once we moved in — the ability to take a regular shower and a rain shower at the same time. Who knew?!

20170101_11264620161228_132207 Never had double sinks or vanities! The vanities really do it for me, especially cause they’re so deep.20161228_132229 20161228_132257 20161204_134811

So there are our first seven months in our home.

Would I have chosen to get to the new Mac & Cheese via the path we traveled? No. But I’m grateful to be here, under a roof, with Best Friend, in relative health (perhaps I need to cut back on cookies), with a year of new adventure, opportunities, and who knows what ?! ahead of me. My pining for the Brown Line and sadness that Trader Joe’s is no longer spitting distance are ridiculous “problems” that hold no weight on the problem-scale.

Not to mention, our home truly is a home sweet home.

So, viva la journeys you didn’t want to travel but make the best of, through which find yourself actually (gasp) happy and appreciative and full.

If you need a housing-related Service Provider — locksmith, realtor, handyman, plumber, HVACer, lawyer, etc — check out my Service Provider Referral List on my FAQ page. Lord knows, we’ve gotten intimately acquainted with such folks over the past few months.

Special shoutout to Sara & Julie, our realtors; they made an emotionally taxing situation much less so and they are forever on our Angel List for being the skilled, knowledgeable, empathetic, professional, and all around lovely people that they are. If you need buying or selling support, use them! They’ve helped 1.2 billion of our friends and now us, and we couldn’t thumbs up them more.