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Building A Modern Bar Cart

One of the most challenging parts about starting this little hobby when I did is that I’m spending all day shopping online to find things I love — in direct conflict with my current spending freeze!

So, to avoid being tempted to buy a bunch of new stuff, I’ve been focusing on rearranging what I have to give my apartment a fresh look. And, as I mentioned yesterday, my bar cart is the perfect place to start because a few small items will go a long way toward making it look brighter and more modern.

When I’m styling a bar cart, in addition to liquor and the standard mixers, there are a few things I consider staples: a tray, straws and napkins to add pops of color; wine glasses of varying shapes; and a champagne/ice bucket or decanter to add height.

Here are my modern spring bar cart must-haves:

Modern Spring Bar Cart | Sweet Home ChicagoCocktail Napkins (OBSESSED! My only dilemma is whether to do these or a monogram!) // Matches // Target Bar Cart // Trays (If anyone is interested in one of these, I’d love to split the set with you!) // Champagne Bucket // West Elm Bar Cart // Candle // Straws (I bought these recently at Greer and LOVE them) // Wine Carafe // Wine Glasses

What are your bar cart necessities?

The Single Girl’s Guide To Valentine’s Day

A League Of Their Own
You know what is most annoying about being single on Valentine’s Day? It’s not the weeks of reminders that you’re single leading up to February 14th, but the fact that every restaurant is full of couples — making it virtually impossible to gather your closest also-single friends for dinner at a fun restaurant.

Here are five alternatives to the restaurant scene:

1. Party Like It’s 1992 

Throw on your sweats, dig out your favorite 90s movies and invite your friends to sleepover (or, better yet, have them bring a bottle of wine and leave slightly after midnight). The only real question is, what pairs better with Kim Crawford: Doritos or Cheetos?

2. Run, Swing or Climb

Trying a new workout in a social atmosphere is a great way to put your single woes aside and maybe even meet new people. A great (free!) option is Fleet Feet‘s annual Cupid’s Dash fun run at its Old Town store on Friday, February 13 (RSVP here). I’m planning to go – anyone want to join?*

If running isn’t your thing, grab some friends and reserve a tee time for the night at Fairways or test your rock climbing skills at Brooklyn Boulders, newly opened in the West Loop. (I have been DYING to try rock climbing for months now!  Anyone else?)

3. Find Comfort In Dating Disasters Even Worse Than Yours

Have you seen @TinderNightmares on Instagram? It’s hilarious — and eerily accurate. This week, Second City’s UP Comedy Club is bringing online dating disasters to the stage with #DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment. And if you want to add to your own dating disaster story, you can sign up for a “mixer” after the show through OKCupid.*

4. Shop Your Friends’ Closets

Let’s face it, we all have things in our closets that are totally wearable — to someone else. Lure your friends to your apartment with promises of wine and cheese and convince them to drag along the best items no longer in their rotation. At the end of the night, you’ll all end up with “new” items to freshen up your wardrobe — for the price of a few bottles of Three Buck Chuck.

5. Stay In Bed

If all else fails, buy a bottle of wine, find a book that will make you feel better about the state of your life and crawl into bed.  I’ll be reading this one.


Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

I honestly don’t remember the last time I actually bought a gift (or had a date!) for Valentine’s Day, but since a few people texted me looking for ideas, I thought I’d put together a full gift guide. If I were buying for someone special, I would get something small (under $50) and splurge on a class at the Chopping Block or a rock climbing class at Brooklyn Boulders (or the old standby — a fun dinner)!

Here are 14 things I’d love to give (or buy for myself!):Sweet Home Chicago Valentine's Gift GuideEarrings (I wear the clear version of these almost every day and would love to mix it up with these!) // Jawbone // Tie (check out Tie Bar in Lincoln Park for lots of options starting at $15!) // Body Scrub // Paris (or London or NYC) City Guide (and plane tickets…) // Onesie // How To Be Parisian Book // Print // Heart Paperweight // Necklace (I’ve been wanting a bar necklace for a while and this one looks great for an easy-to-swallow price) // Scrub // Phone Case // Blow Dry From Blowout Junkie (my favorite blow dry bar in Chicago!) // Boxers // Pajamas

Super Bowl Party Ideas

I have to admit that I haven’t been that into NFL football this year. (I even had to double check which two teams were playing before writing this post – pathetic!) But I can get behind a theme party. And, since I don’t think anyone puts a ton of time or money into Super Bowl Party decor, I put together a few inexpensive and easy ideas to spice up your Sunday night. (Side note: although the decor below appears to lean more toward the Seahawks, it was meant to be neutral!)

Super Bowl Party

1. Lime Straws // 2. Banner // 3. Mason Jar Mugs (I use these for every party I host!) // 4. Navy Napkins // 5. Downloadable Bingo Cards // 6. Chalkboard Table Runner (also great for a wine and cheese night!) // 7. Cake (this decor would look great on brownies or any box mix…)

For me, the menu is generally less important than the decor, but it takes center stage on Super Bowl Sunday, so I rounded up a few menu ideas to go with the New England v. Seattle theme — your guests won’t even know they’re paleo!

Paleo Apps: Garlic Dill Sweet Potato Wedges // Roasted Red Pepper Dip (Ok, these apps don’t go with the theme – they’re just easy and good!)

New England: Paleo Clam Chowder // Seattle: Paleo Salmon Chowder