CAF Open House Weekend 2014

This past Sunday, I got to tour a couple of (private) spaces for the Chicago Architectural Foundation’s Open House event. It’s an annual festival for the public to “explore the hidden gems and architectural treasures of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods—all for free.” –

Here are the few wonderful places I had discovered:

Tour 1: McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River MuseumIMG_3570.JPG
IMG_3572.JPGThere are 18 bridges throughout the main downtown branch of the Chicago river, all with their own set of bridgehouses at each end. I was excited to actually go into one of these houses, where you can view the enormous gears that raise one half of a 6,000-ton bridge, to the top tower with 360 views of the busy Michigan & Wacker intersection. This museum is now on my must-see list for CHI tourists ($5.00 admission)

Tour 2: Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Vault & Boardroom
IMG_3573.JPGThe CBOT building is an incredible Art Deco structure, known for the faceless Ceres on the lookout. Such details weren’t spared with their massive vault (the door was thicker than me!) and original boardroom (the boardroom was too crowded for me to get a photo – sorry!)

Tour 3: 190 S. LaSalle ‘The Library’
A gorgeous tenant-exclusive business club with two stories of book-lined shelves, elegant chandeliers and serious downtown views. Was my favorite spot of the day!

Tour 4: The Cliff Dwellers Club
A historic private club across from the Art Institute with some fabulous art pieces and equally stunning views of Millennium & Grant Parks, Lake Michigan and the 340 Randolph building where E & I did our marriage ceremony.

Tour 5: Sky-Line Club
IMG_3583.JPGAnother rooftop private club with bridge, river & Trump Tower views. Who knew there would be so many stodgy ‘prestigious’ establishments at the top of these skyscrapers in the heart of CHI-town?!?

Tour 6: Tip Top Tap Lounge
Everyone who walks along our Magnificent Mile notices the red ‘Tip Top Tap’ atop the Allerton Hotel. Former swanky-bar-now-mere-banquet-space hasn’t been open to the public since 1961 and while the gaudy carpet replaces the nostalgia of its wild past, the lounge was the best location to take a close-up pic of that infamous sign.

Just a couple of other sites along way: Calder’s Flamingo & crossing the Chicago River.
Just a note that my mother-in-law is a CAF member and volunteer, which meant that we had VIP access passes to bypass all the lines. Some folks patiently waited for 30-45 minutes to see the much-anticipated sites, like the CBOT Vault and Tip Top Tap Lounge. I’m not sure if I would have that kind tenacity (especially since I dragged my hubby along – hah!)

Can’t wait for #OHC2015 next year!


Wedding Madness #4: Projects, Projects, Projects

Of course, this D.I.Y. girl had to get her hands dirty (with paint & glitter) for one of the biggest events of her life!
Here’s a small list of all the projects we’ve been working for our upcoming ceremony:
photo 1

  • Spray-painted and glittered jars, bottles and votives for decor
  • Made burlap & sequin table runners
  • Built and spray-painted our wedding ‘arch’ out of pvc pipe
  • Designed & ‘punched’ round labels for our favor jars
  • Decorated large wooden spools to use as dessert/ food stands
  • Made my ‘faux’-quet from silk, feather & sola wood flowers
  • Made my veil (correction – made three veils in which the first two got shredded by the cat)
  • Spruced up my wedding shoes
  • Made a rhinestone crystal sash (which I’m not using and will probably turn into a headband)

photo 2

Still on the ‘Need-To-Finish-Quick!’ list:

  • Make this geometric heart for our arch
  • Make tissue tassel garlands
  • Design & print ‘offline wedding’ sign
  • Frame our invite as a guest sign-in book
  • Figured out a card box/ basket
  • Add flowers, succulents and candles to those spray-painted jars

Cross your fingers that we finish everything on time and are able to get all this ‘stuff’ out of our apartment and over to the event space! We say our vows in less than two weeks – I am getting so excited!

Wedding Madness #3: DIY Chicago Ceremony

In the midst of wedding pinning, some actual planning for our 3 (THREE!) wedding events has taken place.
I’ll cover more details in the next wedding madness post but here’s our mood board for our Chicago ceremony, which is next month (I cannot wait!)
Chicago Ceremony Decor v2
Top row: Inspiration for DIY spray-painted, glittered jars & bottles (L to R: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Middle row: Inspiration for a DIY arch/ backdrop (L to R: 1, 2, 3)
Bottom row: Other details (L to R: 1, personalized napkins from The Knot, our cake topper, a Momofuku cake)

Holiday Wish List 2013

Just a quick peek into my own wish list for this holiday season
holiday wish list 2013

1. Polaroid Z2300 – a digital camera that also does instant prints.
2. Crystal Aston Pendant from Bauble Bar
3. HBO (we had a 3-month trial and got completely hooked! I miss all the great shows, especially Girls & Veep!)
4. Serger machine – to take my sewing projects to the next level!
5. Snowboarding socks – utterly essential for Chicago winters. Warm & padded, perfect for wellies & snow joggers.
6. Pretty, nice-smelling candles – this one’s from Anthropologie (something I wouldn’t buy for myself but love receiving as a gift.)
7. A (FREE) wedding planner – seriously NOT kidding! Planning & organizing any huge event is not easy. Book shown is ‘The New-Fashioned Wedding‘ by event planners, Bash Please.

So Very Thankful


  • For my amazing, loving family who are all over the world (specifically Hawaii, California & South Korea)
  • For my awesome, patient, silly guy, who I cannot wait to marry next year
  • For my soon-to-be extended family who are caring & supportive – I could not have dreamed of better in-laws.
  • For my island upbringing and urban cultivations – I am lucky to have experienced such a unique combination of environments.
  • For my wonderful mix of friends – from middle school days to new aquaintances – I truly cherish each & every companionship.
  • For exciting, new adventures to come!
  • Happy ‘Thanksgivukkah’ everyone!

Wedding Madness #2: Vintage Hawaiiana Pig Roast Reception

One of the very first decisions we made for our wedding was to have an intimate ceremony AND then two receptions later; one in Illinois for E’s large family and one in Hawaii for my large family. E really wanted our Illinois reception to be a pig roast in his parent’s backyard (what an awesome idea – Hawaiians love pig, too!) so that’s exactly what we’re doing next summer.

Here’s the mood board I put together for our ‘Vintage Hawaiiana’ Backyard Pig Roast reception
Rockford Reception Board Blog

Credits (clockwise, starting from top left): Wedding logo created by moi, simple tent decor, vintage Hawaiian fabric, salt & pepper shakers, ‘naked’ green orchid wedding cake, protea & sand centerpiece, Kate Spade gold glitter heels, pig roast invites, outdoor tent reception, tropical bouquet, gold spray-painted seashells, vintage marquee bar sign, vintage Hawaii postcard, gold dipped vases, maile lei’d groom

Couch Potatoes: Summer-Fall 2013 Edition

This past summer, I pretty much took over the Netflix queu in an attempt to broaden our movie nights beyond those mainstream blockbusters that are so readily available from RedBox (which we still love but a good indie film every now and then is quite refreshing, I think!)

Here are those that we have viewed recently, AND would recommend:Netflix Queu Nov 2013

Netflix Queu Fall 2013

I’m not doing any sort of reviews/ ratings, since I genuinely enjoyed all of these selections. Film critique is really E’s forte (maybe one day, he’ll do a column or something on the blog) but this is a nice, rounded list if you’re looking for something new and you’ve already watched your entire DVR. Enjoy!

Winter 2013-14 To-Do List

Yikes – Thanksgivvukah (Thanksgiving + Hannukah) is just two weeks away! And Chicago has already seen it’s first snow (SNOW – bleh!)  There’s probably a white, blustery, bitter winter right around the corner, which means I should probably start thinking of some projects for when I’m stuck indoors:

First Snow 2013

  • Bring a HOME-MADE dish or dessert to Thanksgiving (always held at my in-law’s)
  • Get into ‘wedding-dress’ shape
  • Design our save-the-dates & wedding website (and plan the rest of the wedding, too)
  • Go ice-skating at the Lincoln Park Zoo (during ZooLights!)
  • Do some clothing alterations (with blog posts)
  • Guest bathroom spruce up
  • Exchange my CA license for an IL license (which means studying for the written test)
  • Visit the Shedd Aquarium or Field Museum with E (since we live within walking distance)
  • Build a snowman
  • Go bowling – either as a date night or with a group of friends

Photo from Monday’s snowfall

Wedding Madness #1: The Dress

Okay – after a very long blogging hiatus (due to a very fun spring & summer,) I’m back on WordPress and in the midst of wedding planning madness! I wanted to return on a fun note and post a wedding version of ‘T.W.W.T.’

Here are my top picks! As you can see, I’m really drawn to (a more casual) sheath dress style with lace back detail.CBT Wedding Dress
Right to Left: David’s Bridal, For Her and For Him, Laure de Sagazan, BHLDN, Jenny Packham

I already visited David’s Bridal with my mom & sisters during the summer to figure out what I liked, what looked good, etc. Of course, one sister quipped that this strapless version made me look younger, as opposed to this & this, which were my first choices. Just one of the many perks of having close siblings…. (bleh!)

I’m mostly torn about spending $$$ on a dress I wear once (well maybe 2-3 times, since we have multiple events – more on that later!) I’ve found some good options of making a custom dress via Etsy. I’d rather splurge on food & beverage, or a videographer, or maybe a snazzy new tux for my groom. Gotta keep these (wedding) priorities and our budget in check!

I’ve missed blogging – it’s good to be back!

Casa de E&T – Version 1

510 Living Room
I’m really going to miss this little one-bedroom with amazing views of Grant Park & the lake (which I bragged about all the time via instagram!) Apt 510 will always be our first place together and the spot where E got down on one knee.510 Living Room 2
I’ve never had such a cozy, homey, comfortable apartment, come together so quickly before (and I’ve lived in A LOT of rentals over the years!) I am so very thankful that E & I have such similar decorating styles.
We got those lockers from a hotel going-out-of-business sale (he removed the green paint from the doors & white-laquered the rest,) searched Etsy for the vintage pull-down classroom map, turned an old Chicago parking meter into a lamp, and got an uber-stylish fish tank. Our friends say our place was ‘very CB2-looking’ which is the best compliment!
510 Bedroom
Our high-rise rental building went through a complete renovation of all the public spaces during the one year we lived there. It seriously looks like a boutique hotel now – complete with fancy fitness center, business center & residential lounge space. Management is okay but the doormen & maintenance staff are exceptional – I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking in the South Loop area.

I really loved coming home to this place – lots of amazing memories made here… And I can’t wait to now make more memories & have more adventures in our new home!