An Inexpensive Date Night

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Friday, December 23, 2011. Filed under:
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I'm really excited to finally start this little 'series'. The boy and I are on a tight budget, so we don't really go out for fancy dates. In fact, the one time we planned a fancy date, we were unhappy most of the time! We had placed such high expectations on the evening that we decided the best thing for us was spontaneous, inexpensive, in the moment dates. We are so high spirited during those times, and we have the most fun memories.

Last night, we went out on a Christmas themed date. 

We started with a $5 meal at Halsted Bar & Grill. GO THERE. Their meals are delicious. We had a Groupon that cost $5 for $20 worth of food. But .. I didn't take any pictures. So instead, I'm showing you what happened last week when we went to a delicious sushi restaurant during their $3 happy hour.. you read it right.. $3 a roll. Oh Yes.

My biggest piece of advice is if you have not already, sign up for Groupon, LivingSocial, and Scoutmob. Those 3 have provided us with many free and inexpensive meals. In addition, keep your eyes peeled for  the specials that local restaurants run. That's why we love $3 sushi happy hour!

Next, we went downtown to the Magnificent Mile. Part of my Christmas present was to go shopping, so we visited H&M. We planned to visit other shops but ended up at the Hershey Store for hot chocolate.

{hmm... I will get better at this taking picture thing!}

The Mag Mile is decorated so beautifully in Christmas lights.. it really puts you in the festive spirit!

 Find yourself a warm bear equipped with hot chocolate and walk around a cold city. It will be fun!

 We found 3 story tall Christmas tree by the John Hancock building and attempted to get a picture with it..

 And then we found a big lit structure.. 

The experience was great! Who needs to spend money when you can walk around enjoying your environment? 

See you next time!

Tonight is my Friday..

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Thursday, December 22, 2011. Filed under: , ,
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Today I am thankful for working in higher ed. Because I am home free until January 2. :)

what to do .. what to do.. 

I have an idea. ;)

Artnog Recap

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Tuesday, December 20, 2011. Filed under: , , , ,
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What a whirlwind!

Artnog came, and then it went. What's Artnog, you ask? This combination art show, Christmas cheer and delicious eggnog party began last year when the talented Matt Tinken brought together a large group of people to create innovative, beautiful music, art, and food to fill Chicago with joy. A good friend and I were co-curators of the art featured, and it was one of my favorite experiences I've had thus far with my pals at Missio Dei. Sadly for us, last summer Matt and his lovely wife Sarah moved to Pasadena, California so he could attend graduate school.

This year, my friend Tre' and I approached the leadership of Missio Dei and asked if we could (attempt to) carry on Matt's legacy with Artnog. The truth is.. we are greatly inspired by the beauty of creativity as it lives in each of us, and we wanted to see more of it! We love to see what comes out when artists create.. and sometimes, even when they create out of worship to the Lord (though that was not the purpose nor the majority in our show!).

 Frances MacLeod 'abide' and Kyle Letendre 'soon' 
for purchase information, contact artists via websites or me via comments

You know what came of the show? Some of the most beautiful work I've seen created in Chicago. We had such a solid group of artists participating: Andy Luce, Andrew Bouverette, Matt Schwerin, Josh Rains, Frances MacLeod, Kyle Letendre, Ayla Kindle, Alyssa Ray, Susannah Lancaster and Matthew Jorgensen.

artists Josh Rains and Frances MacLeod

artists Matthew Jorgensen and Susannah Lancaster

artist Andy Luce

artist Alyssa Ray

I couldn't have been more pleased with what they brought to the table.

artists Andrew Bouverette and Matt Schwerin 

And that's not all...

We were surrounded by tons of people, all who would stop and put their faces close to the pieces, even reaching out to touch them {causes a shudder in every curator's skin.. but don't worry, we loved the excitement so we hid our shudders..}. It brought joy to my heart to see some of our shy-er artists stand behind crowds of people leaning in close to their work. How great that must have felt. :)

It made my heart swell when one girl realized her mission work would be helped because she was the recipient of proceeds from one artist's sales at the show .. check out her story at

We were almost surprised by the turnout at artnog -- there must have been over 150 people there flowing in and out between 7 and 10pm. People enjoyed gingerbread men, santa hat brownies, spiked and non spiked eggnog, among tons of other goodies. They crowded the photo booth upstairs. They photo bombed each other.. and had contests for funniest use of the typeface-mustaches.

the photo booth -- I was so sad not to get an action shot of this. 

We couldn't have done this without all of the help we received: Sarah Schmidt, Mike Brown, Tre Henry - y'all are rockstars. Anthony Barlich & Laura Stoll for providing the photo booth fun. All of our volunteers who bar tended, hung coats, swept, cleaned, and helped out in other ways - you're great! And all of the artists, we couldn't have done this without you!

Tre & I :)

Until next year. ;)

Christmas on the blogs // roundup

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Thursday, December 15, 2011. Filed under: , , ,
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Hey y'all..

washi tape ornament tutorial via poppytalk

Well I'm going to be perfectly honest here. Our Christmas this year is very low key. We're sharing the cheer with anyone we come around, but we're not traveling or gift shopping / making. With saving for the wedding and a move, and student loan payments right around the corner, we're just not good St. Nicks this year. I'm looking forward to next year.. I'll be saving some of these gift roundups and starting my gift shopping and creating at the end of the summer. It will be nice to plan for!

garland tutorial via poppytalk

In the mean time, I'm gaining a good amount of Christmas cheer through the devoted bloggers I follow. If you're looking for last minute ideas, or you're just interested in seeing what's out there, take a look at these!

Shop Ruche Holiday Home Guide. Tons of DIYs, and lots of great decorating ideas. Don't miss it!

Poppytalk Handmade Holiday Gift Guide, Decor, Cards and DIYs

What are your favorite holiday posts around the blogs? What are your favorite traditions? Leave me a comment and let me know. :)

Wedding Crafting Progress

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Tuesday, December 13, 2011. Filed under: , , , ,
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Here's what I've been up to, aside from hanging Artnog:

First, crafting with my girlfrans and eating an enormous amount of homemade from scratch corn tortilla chips. I'm considering employing my friend as a wholesale corn tortilla chip distributor.. dealing to my chips and salsa addiction. mmmm.

 mmmm so good.

Next... making my groomsmen their boutonnieres.

 The tutorial for this is coming - promise!

Also, I'm working on some wedding details. Little things to make the day more fun for everybody.

can't show you the whole thing yet. :)

for the guest book table

Next up.. I'm learning to crochet ! I think I will start with Crochet School over at Crafty Minx. Want to join me? Just leave a comment and let me know. We can jump on the boat together! 

Artnog // sneak peek

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Monday, December 12, 2011. Filed under: , , , , , , ,
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Last weekend was the big preparation for next week's Artnog: an art show filled with merriness, cheer, and delicious baked goods.

My good friend and co-curator, Tre' Henry, and I met up Saturday at creative go-round, the gallery hosting Artnog.  We had a good laugh at accidentally setting off the alarm, me showing up very early and getting stuck in 12* cold, and Tre' having awful luck with public transit. After the hilariously hectic start to the morning, we were ready to hang the art! 

If it weren't for the long wait in the cold, I wouldn't have been 
able to see the sun slowly come over the buildings.. it was breathtaking. 

I would argue that next to jurying for an art show, the most fun is deciding where to put each piece of art. We were so glad to have a group of 10 talented artists in the show -- you can see more about that at the Artnog website. We were able to hang work for five of the artists Saturday morning, and pretty much without any troubles. 

I can't show you too much, but I do want to give a little peek of what is to come next weekend. 

Artist Matt Schwerin preparing an installation

{quick, get over to her website and fall in love!}

Artist Alyssa Ray 

Matt Schwerin -- you will love what he has to show us.

What are your plans next Saturday, December 17? If you're free anytime between 7pm and 11pm, please stop by to see the incredible work of all of these artists. Not only will there be art to see and purchase, there will be food, beverages, and fun community atmosphere. OH! And did I mention there will be a photo booth!? What are you waiting for? Hope to see you there. :)

Be sure to visit before you go!

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Monday, December 5, 2011. Filed under: , , ,
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Dear Blog,

I have a confession to make. I haven't been keeping up my commitment to you. Or, to wedding crafting for that matter.

What have I been doing then, you ask?

Well, for one, I discovered that I was buying way too many crafty ingredients and didn't have enough focused time for projects. Even with my master coupon using, I was still paying Joann and Michael's way too many dollars (remember my money saving post?) Second, despite all the technology I own, I forgot I could post from my iPhone & iPad! Crazy, right?

Let me fill you in on where I've been. :)

The oh-so-glamorous life of wedding planning.

Making gingerbread the second it turned to December.

Getting really involved in watching the entire series of Breaking Bad, Sister Wives, and Lost.

Anyone who watched Lost, how in the world did you make it with all the time inbetween episodes? There's one thing I'm sure of.. I never want to sleep. I just want to see what happens next! One thing I love is how the Mister and I have bonded over these interesting shows. :)

Oh and one other thing before I leave you -- we're praying and fervently planning something huge to take place very shortly after our wedding. Please pray for us!

So tell me, friends, what have you been up to in my absence. What crafts are you working on lately?

Friendsgiving 2011.

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Sunday, November 27, 2011. Filed under: , , ,
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This year was the first time I prepared Thanksgiving dinner. I was blessed to be surrounded by my soon-to-be husband, dear friends, and even a new friend! Here are some images, forgive how messy I look. It was a long day of traveling from Michigan, and cooking for several hours.

the beautiful Meredith preparing to carve the turkey.

about to serve mashed "purdurdurs" 

mmm crescent rolls

the lovely Sam

the mister

coffee time with keef

i served 3 pies: pumpkin, pecan and miniature apple.

the photog, nick, with my mug. :)

the mini apple pies with pumpkin. mmmm.

this is what all of the goods looked like together!
{all images courtesy of Nick Biscardi}

I can't tell you how happy I was to be in the kitchen all day, preparing dish after dish, so we could all enjoy a happy holiday together. It was a wonderful beginning to new traditions.  

We were stuffed with crescent rolls, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes (mashed purdurdurs!), roasted carrots, and the frans all ate turkey. There was fancy wine and fancy beer. We followed it up with coffee, eggnog and pumpkin, pecan and mini apple pies. Absolutely, 100% blessed.

The time was filled with friendship, laughter, and happiness.

At the end of the evening, the Mister and I made a deal with our friends to shop for the silliest things at the beginning of midnight on Black Friday. They picked up bath towels for us, and we picked up flash drives for them. Silly, right??

Our friend Nick sent me this, as we all stood in our respective lines: "We should still be full of pie and turkey and nog. These people in line with us should be at home with the families whose love they're trying to buy. We're all better than this."

But to tell you the truth, as much as I love my still-new Black Friday tradition, I have to say I was completely pleased with the fullness of pie, nog, and thanksgiving noms.

So, what traditions did you celebrate this year? Did you find any good deals on Black Friday? Did you celebrate a friendsgiving, or did you celebrate with family? Tell me all about your holiday this year. :)