Monday, May 31, 2010

i'm so proud of you.

this is a small shout-out in comparison to all that the the US servicemen have done to serve our country. thank you to all of you that have given up your lives for the sake of this country. i do not think we are able to thank you enough for price that you have paid for American's freedom. you make us proud.

and daddy, thank you for all you have done for this country. thank you for showing me and my sisters what it means to honor and respect America. thank you for teaching us not to take our freedom for granted, for reminding us that a price was paid for us to live in this God-blessed country.

1. serving on the field in the Philippines
2. working hard at a dental clinic
3. with his girlfriend (now my mom - isn't she gorgeous?!).

you have also made us proud. i remember as a little girl, seeing you in your uniform and thinking, that's my daddy! and i still think that today - so thankful for your service to our country and to your family. i love you.

[Happy Memorial Day!]

i get to see this big goofball tomorrow.
i can't wait.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

memorial day weekend highlights. so far.

summer vacation started for me at 3:00pm last friday.
oh it's been bliss.
though i do enjoy my job, the feeling of not having to go in to work at 7am for the next week is not a bad feeling at far, it's been a wonderful break. ryan headed home for GA yesterday - but before the airport run, we took a stroll around the city and of course, had to make a pit-stop at the farmer's market.

so much green. love it.

i always love the flowers at the farmers market.
the colors are so vibrant.
makes me so happy.

lots of people are always at the farmer's market.
the woman and her dog cracked us up.
poor thing.

i might have even heard him bark, i hate my life.

enjoyed some berry-chill with nora, one of my closet friends here in chicago.
anytime that i spend with her is never boring. we laugh a lot and share a lot of the same memories.
i love this girl.

(nora, if you're reading this...8 years, baby!)

oh and cherished some precious time with some of my best friends and one of the cutest couples in the entire universe, the newbys! whit and shawn were in town only for a short while, so we had just enough time to grab breakfast at elly's. the 2 hours that we had went by so quickly. anytime i spend with them always does.

whit and moi.
this girl and i can talk for hours.
we would get lost on the road multiple times because we'd be so busy talking, we'd miss the signs and the turns we were supposed to take. it took us forever to even decide what to order at elly's
because we were busy catching up. not surprising.

shawn and me.
i haven't see him forever - so it was esp. good to see my old friend.
oh, btw, there is nothing like getting a giant hug from Shawn! they are the best.

we were reminiscing last summer when we did a photo shoot of us at the fountain down on michigan ave. might need to dig those out sometime. it made me wish that they still lived in the city so we could go on more of our crazy city adventures. we had so many of them when they did. aw, i love them so much.

i hope you have a chance to spend the weekend and summertime with those that you love most.
do something crazy.
take lots of pictures.
enjoy the sunshine.
let's love life.
[Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friends!]

Friday, May 28, 2010

in etsy news: little miss momma feature and shop update!!!!

be sure to checkout this adorable blog, featuring Much Love, Illy!

First off, Ashley has been such a doll to work with! Her emails are always super friendly with contagious excitement. I wish I could meet her in person! And you definitely cannot miss out the adorable pictures of her precious baby that are found all over her blog. She has a line-up of great d.i.y. projects, as well as a collection of other great etsy finds. We will def. be hearing more from her as muchlove-illy has an upcoming giveaway on her blog. Yay, giveaways!

(Oh and for those of you that have participated in the giveaways, can I send out a shout out of...THANK YOUs! You don't even realize the encouragement you bring me. As crazy as it sounds, I've read every single comment on those giveaways because of the happiness and encouragement they bring me. So thanks, friends!!)

Also updated the shop with a couple fun summer headbands. I've also received a handful of custom request, so if you ever think up of a color combo that you'd be interested in, be sure to email or convo me. I love custom orders! (Come football season, I'll surely be putting up college team combos - already created on for a fellow USC student - gotta love the cardinal and gold!). So be sure to visit!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

oh, my lee, shadows, and red paper hearts.

i'm one of those kinds of persons who gets giddy-happy over little things. even though nothing major or huge happened the past couple of days, i was happy over a lot of the 'smaller' things in life. such as...

1. Lee winning american idol!

lee is so cute. and of course, love his voice.

ilene is happy. phil is upset

great part about living in chicago.
it's local news.

2. Enjoying another beautiful, summer day in Chicago

loving the sight of flowers all over the city.
even made some shadow friends. now that there is sunshine, they like to come out and play. we made friends with a shadow dog and his pal, shadow birdy.

3. First time this summer to eat dinner outside.

we ate at a delish italian restaurant called Trattoria
(there are a number of different ones all over Chicago. we went to the one on wells,
the same one ryan took me to for my bday last year.)

my bf. i like him.
a lot.

we love bread at italian restaurants, esp. when it dipped in olive oil and parmesan cheese.

happy and content. that i am.

the night ended with an incredible season finale of 'flashforward.' can't wait for next season (our fingers are crossed...praying that it doesn't get canceled cuz we heard an ugly rumor of that possibility). while waiting for the finale to start, i was busy cutting out paper hearts. colormekatie inspired me - plus i already like paper and cutting out hearts and sticking them in envelopes and cards, so i thought 'why not? i needed a good stress reliever.' it doesn't make sense to some people, but the feeling of doing something creative with my hands (like making poppies for headbands or cut out red paper hearts) is such a stressreliever.

like ryan always says: whatever floats your boat...

the weekend is almost here.
[goodnight, world.]

inspire me: colormekatie.

a couple of years ago, two of my friends (good ole rooms and sally-pants) and i decided to do something random and crazy...such as join improveverywhere for one of their crazy events. (it was also my b-day week then so it made me happy to do something out of the blue like this). so we all dressed in green (you could chose either red, yellow, blue or green...duh, we chose green) and downloaded the MP3-clip we needed for this particular experiment. (you can actually spot me and my rooms a couple of times if you look hard enough.)

all that to say, it was a blast and such a random experience that i'm on the hunt for the next one that comes to chicago. so anyways, during one of my slower days at work (summer days are a tad slower at a college), my friend jen sent me a link to a brand-new blog filled with lots of eye-candy for ilene. i am in blog-love. so as i'm searching and searching, i'm trying to figure out who is this artistic, creative blogger/photographer/dreamer...and she happens to be one of the photographer and brains behind improveverwhere! she is a part of a team that includes her bf too, so that is pretty sweet. that made me soooo happy - and i admit a tad jealous...because wow, what a sweet job!

so miss katie my recent blog addition and inspiration as of late.

Magic Curtain from katie sokoler on Vimeo.

[such a fun carefree video - and she has a ton more on her site]

if you see any of her ingenious art-projects on my blog, you'll know where i got the inspiration.
oh, and if improveverywhere ever comes to your city, do it!!!
if it's in chicago, i'll most likely see you there, friend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

yes, yes i am a part of the craze.

i'm rooting for Lee Dewyze tonight.
[Who are you rooting for?]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

oh summer, how i love thee.

[i'm in love with my green bike. the two of them will be such good friends.]

chicago has been in the upper 80's all week. it has been nothing short but uuuuh-maaazing. can't complain. so today my bf and i took advantage of it. he got me a bike (it's me is that?!). i was so excited because now he and i can explore the city together.

(we tried to do that with rollerblades the past two summers. it wasn't too successful. i was a big baby about it - plus it didn't help that i'm such a klutz. even before we left ryan's apt., i slammed the door on my foot, tripped over the bike, and managed to bruise my left foot against the weight of the door AND the bike. smooth, ilene.)

we then rode our bikes around the city for the rest of the afternoon until it was time for some chipotle and american idol (go LEE!).

[i can't wait for more days like these.]

delayed reaction.

like i mentioned last week, i went to my college roommate's wedding in CO. i had the honor of standing as a bridesmaid in her beautiful wedding.

[college doesn't seem that long ago but this pic looks ancient, doens't it?]

surprisingly, i did not have too many pictures - we were pretty busy. but it was a fun-busy, if you know what i mean. here are a few that i did take.

[wide-open blue skies]

[huge gorgeous mountains. the pictures i took do not do them justice.]

[and of course the dazzling bride. heather was absolutely breath-taking.]

heather is probably one of the most joyful persons that i know.
anyone that knows her would agree. she has always been kind, giving, and such a good listener.
i can think back to college days, and we both admitted later on that at first, we never thought the other person would become such a close friend, we were both quick to assume that we were too different to be friends - and that we are.
yet that did not stop us from the blessing of a wonderful friendship.
i love this girl and only hope for the best for her and her new husband!

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Matt Romig!

Monday, May 24, 2010

inspiration in the midst of a clouded mind.

sorry that i've been MIA for the past couple of days. i was out of town for one of my dearest friend's weddings in CO. i will def. post pics of that soon - it was a honor to stand in heather cummins' (now romig) wedding and it was aaaaa-maaazing to see the mountains of CO that everyone talks about. it was so breathtaking and stunning, the pictures i took do not do justice. so those pics will follow up soon.

for now, we have a couple etsy updates. be sure to check all them out, friends, 'cause i'm pretty stoked about them. it's a great way to start another work week!

first up, i'm hosting another giveaway on one of my fave blogs, cakies! so be sure to check out the party over there. and if you've never heard of
cakies before, it's probably one of the most adorable blogs out there. you will fall in love with her precious family! rubyellen is an amazing artist herself (incredible photos and inspiring entries) - and i just really appreciate her transperancy in her writing.

[image via mycakies]

be sure to sign up for the giveaway. i thought i'd do something different and offer a muchlove-illylil' shop!

another fun etsy happening is the new exhibition at paper-n-stitch! can i say that i'm excited about this, too?! i have been a follower of this incredible blog for quite some time now, and its nothing short of inspiring. her lovely collections, refreshing colors, and delightful entries always make me crave for more.
sample set, so that the winner gets a taste of everything in the

[image via paper-n-stitch]

be sure to check out brittni's blog as well as my shop via new exhibition. its exciting to be a part of growing, artistic community!

in other news, just like the rest of the world (if you don't live under a rock), though i am a little tired due to a busy weekend and the adjusted summer hours of 7am here at work, my mind is clouded with last night's LOST season/series finale episode. i am a mix of emotions. i don't know what to think. part of me loves it, the other side of me hates it. maybe i'll have more of a conclusion when i get more caffeine in this system.

for now, arivaderchi! and oh, yes happy monday, folks!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

it was one of those mornings, i woke up instantly...realizing all that i had to do today. i leave for a friend's wedding tomorrow, so a lot of on my list must get done today.

let's see if it happens.

[thursday to-do list]

1. work until 4:00pm (it's a given - can't get out of that one ;))
2. work out (MUST do this!! no excuses, ilene!!)
finish up etsy orders and mail out by tomorrow morning (ask Ryan to mail them out for me - such a good bf)
3. complete at least half of wholesale order so it can be shipped by tuesday (another exciting opportunity with an online boutique - woohoo!)
4. watch "Flashforward" with Ryan (second to last episode to season finale)
5. watch/download "Lost" to be ready for Sundays series finale (the last episode ever!)
6. make sure the black heels i have works with the bridesmaid dress (yeah, yeah...i know i should have tried those on weeks ago - i'm sure it'll work. i have it all figured out in my mind...right?)
7. write out utilities check for Sarah (long-overdue, rooms, i know...sorry!)
8. oh, yeah and PACK for Colorado (as much as i love traveling, i HATE packing)

this is do-able, right? i actually feel better seeing it all written out.
yeah, yeah...i'm kinda OCD in that sense. i love lists. i love knowing what's the plan.
this doesn't always play in my favor - but hey, i'm working on it.

happy thursday, folks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

muchlove-illy giveaway: i fly like a bird

be sure to stop by tessica's lovely blog to enter in another muchlove-illy giveaway!

since i am a huge fan of lists, one of my favorite things about tessica's blog is her list of "26 things to do before 26." it might inspire you to do your own. i have a list of 'things to do before i'm 30' (aaaah, that's less than 5 years away!!). i should post that list sometime.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

oh, baby. kill me now.

probably one of the best desserts i've ever had.

i'm a fan of easy desserts.

if anyone knows me, i love food but not at all a fan of the process in creating it.
so for those of you like me, you'll enjoy this.

1 package of peanut butter cookie dough (bake-and-break kind is perfect)

1 bag of miniature peanut butter cups (a whole cup of Reese's are too big)

1 mini muffin baking pan

grease the muffin pan really good with non-stick spray. roll up small balls of peanut butter cookie dough (if you are you using the bake and break kind, divide a cookie in half to make one small ball). place a ball in the bottom of each muffin mold. bake at about 325 degrees for about 13-5 minutes. take out of the pan just as the dough is completely baked but still soft.

unwrap 12 yummy reeses' and gently press into the middle of each cookie (which should now be shaped into mini muffins by this point). let it sit for about 5 more minutes to somewhat harden and also to allow the reeses' cup to melt into the cookie.

oh, my goodness. the dessert is sheer heaven. ryan and i just about died. his lovely momma shared this amazing receipe with us. we have (gulp) made it 3x since then. (no worries, we shared them with least once.)

note: this is probably one of the few, rare moments on this blog that i dare post a recipe.
i am a fan of pioneer woman and my dear friend, whit who can tackle kitchen feats.

that is not me.
but enjoy this moment while you can.
and more importantly, grab your ingredients for this heavenly dessert.
you won't regret it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

not being grown-up for a change.

I was 17 years old, just graduated from high school, when i came to Chicago - with all my precious belongings in tow. Between now and then, I graduated from college, spent my first adult years in the city...which includes finding my first full-time job, paying for bills, paying for rent, learning to budget, going to bed early 'cause of work in the morning...blah...blah...blah.

It's hard to believe that was nearly 8 years ago.

As of two weeks ago, I made
a decision. I always thought this end of the season would end with fireworks or maybe a bigger paycheck or a huge brand-new adventure, but I sense that instead it concludes with peacefulness and closure. And it's so not a bad thing.

It's the end of a very good season in my time in Chicago. This city has been good to me. I've loved it - and I've already become emotional the more i think about the big move, but it's just time. I've sought the Lord on it and I sense His perfect peace and guidance. I don't know how else to explain it.

So you ask, What's the plan?

There really is none.
None?! Are you freakin' kidding me?!
(Oh man, even for say that is so out of my comfort zone.)

But it actually feels so freeing to say that. No plan. The only "plan" right now is to road-trip to Atlanta, GA with my bf, spend time with him and his family, and then we'll continue to the trek to my home in South Carolina.

I cannot wait to be home with the family I can't wait to wake up to Mom's good cooking and the coffee already brewing. I can't wait to hear Peyton whining at all the closed bedroom doors, begging for us to all finally get up and start the day. It'll just be so wonderful to be with family.

Like I said, there is no immediate plan. I know eventually I'll have to be in grown-up mode again and figure out what I'm doing next, but right now I just feel that this is an opportunity I cannot pass up. I mean, when is the next time that I can go home and just be with family for a change? It might be a month or two...who knows?

And a lot of people won't understand my reasons, but I do. I've sought the Lord; He has given me peace. Ryan is supportive. The family can't wait.

So why not?

For now, I enjoy the time I have left in Chicago. I'll miss this place. I'll miss the people. It's been good to me.

There truly is a time and a season for everything. And that is so not a bad thing...not at all.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

yes, i admit it. i'm the proud, giddy girlfriend.

Align CenterMoody Bible Institute
May 2010

p.s. more pics later. i have so many of them.
and do notice his proud momma behind us.
congrats to my amazing bf, ryan butler.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

to the siblings in iowa.

well, it's true.
we do!
this goofy but lovingly made message brought to you
from your crazy siblings from chicago.

praying for you both as you serve Christ in Iowa.


i laugh every time i watch this.
can't stop watching it. it's hilarious.
arnie is my fave.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

featured seller: lovely clusters!

excited about being a featured seller on lovely clusters.
check it out!

thanks, rachel!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

iron man is my hero.

ryan took me to iron man 2 on saturday. yeah, i was pretty pumped about it.
iron man (next to ryan and my dad) is my hero.
and robert downey, jr. does a pretty darn good job.

so excited. giddy-excited.

gah, iron man is so great.

see? i want to be iron man.
that'd be so sweet.