Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When it Rains or Mrs. Beasley's Birthday!

We can't wait!  Look who's turning 100!!

The save-the-date cards went out this week!

Mrs. Beasley is turning 100 and I'm helping to plan the party, including all the ribbons and trim and, of course, the adorable cards above.  I love paper.  Stationary, invitations, calling cards, banners.   But it's got to be unique.  So for Mrs. B and her upcoming celebration I ordered these custom cards from the sister team at When it Rains.  They even have a magnet on the back!  Who wouldn't want to get one of these in the mail?  We love them!

Here are just a few of the other things we love from the creative minds and hands at When it Rains.

We think the guys in our lives need a little help being thoughtful sometimes, so how about these rugged notes and envelopes for their stockings this holiday?  Not too girl-y.  Just right.

These gift tags will make a great first impression!

And these simple, retro thank you notes will leave a lasting impression!

Visit the When it Rains shop and take a peek.

Happy shopping Kichaas!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Kichaa Loves: A Girl and Her Camera

It's Cyber-Monday and I just have to introduce you to a wonderful photographer and her unique art.  As you are surfing the web today for gifts and one-of-a-kind finds to dazzle your family and friends, you HAVE to stop by the Etsy shop of Elle Moss.  I happened upon her shop some time ago and have been a fan (and customer) ever since.  Her fine art photography has been featured in magazines, exhibits, on book covers . . . you get the idea.  This girl's got an eye for style!  Just gorgeous.  I'm sure you will agree.  

You also need to check out her two other Etsy shops, alicebgardens and birdandbloke (where she teams up with her husband), featuring more of her whimsical and modern style.  Oh, and don't forget to check out her blog here.  And it gets better . . . if you stop by to visit today she has some special offers for all you Cyber-Monday shoppers.

To give you a preview, here are just a few of my favorites.  Enjoy and happy shopping!


And here are a few more from alicebgardens and birdandbloke . . .

All photos used with permission. Copyright Elle Moss.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gratitude No. 7: Merci Beaucoup to You!

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. 
 ~Rod McKuen

One final day and one final "thank you" to all of you, friends.  Thanks for your comments, your emails, your interest, your good vibes and your support.  Thank you, thank you thank you!!

Have a lovely weekend, Kichaas!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude No. 6: Bounty and Black Friday

It's the morning after.  Just waking up from my food coma because I have to drag myself in to work today (bummer).  I'm still stuffed from the huge, wonderful Thanksgiving dinner we had last night.  But that's not stopping me from considering a big slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast!  

The turkey was delicious (the weather was nice enough to grill it this year) . . .

 I made my own cornbread for the stuffing . . .

I tried out a new bread recipe (pumpkin cheese, it was yummy!) . . .

And afterward, we all sat by the fire, drank cocoa, ate pie and played Frog Juice!!  Lots and lots to be thankful for.  

Of course, I will be missing all the Black Friday sales today.  Are you out there braving the crowds?  Let me know all about it Kichaas!   I hope your holiday was wonderful!  


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude No. 5: Welcoming Guests on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  

This is one of my very favorite holidays!  My family is gathering at my house to celebrate the day.  Some have flown across the country to be here.  There is one honorary family member who is far away.  We'll miss him, but we're not saving him any pumpkin pie!!

Since he can't be here in person, I have asked him to be my virtual guest today.  So I am excited to introduce you to Deogratias, owner of Kilimanjaro Heritage Safaris, resident of Tanzania, mountain dude extraordinaire, and a very darling Kichaa!  I hope you love his post as much as I do!

Jambo!  Nashukuru!

Which means hello and Happy Thanksgiving to you!  I am very pleased to be Kichaa's guest on this special day of gratitude.   She has asked me about the five things for which I am most thankful.  There are so many things in life to be thankful for, but here are the most valuable to me and those that fill my heart.

My World:  The Mountain and My Home Place

Your world makes you who you are and I am very thankful for mine.  I am very happy to be from Kilimanjaro, to have been born there, to have my family there, and to earn my living from it and sharing its beauty with others.  

We Are Reflections of One Another

I have met many people during my work who come from all over the world.  I am very thankful for clients, who always become friends, and who then become a part of me, as I become a part of them.  We take a little of each other back to where we started.  We are reflections of each other and we are better for it.

 To Learn and To Share What I Learn 

Learning is an opportunity that absolutely everyone should give thanks.  I have studied the horticulture and wildlife of Africa.  This has allowed me to see and to share the uniqueness of Africa with others.  Learning opens your eyes.  There is an old Tanzanian proverb:  "Nilikuonyesha nyota na uliangalia kidole tu."  It means:  "I pointed out to you the stars and all you saw was the tip of my finger."  With learning, if you are willing, you can see past the tip of your finger and see beauty.  You can share what you learn with others and then learn even more.

My Health

You are nothing without good health.  I cannot climb to the summit, I cannot care for my loved ones, I cannot enjoy all that I am thankful for without it.  

My Love

This I have saved for last but it really is the greatest thing of all to be thankful for.  Love is crucial to all things, to give love and to be loved.  I give thanks for this most of all.

And one more thing . . . I give thanks for my own name!!  Deogratias is Latin for "Thanks be to God."  So I am full of thanks, even as part of my name, to God as well, and this Thanksgiving Day is the best day for me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude No. 4: Nesting

"Be grateful for the home you have, 
knowing that at this moment,
all  you have is all you need."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

Day four in my Week of Gratitude and I admit it .  .  . I'm a nester.  I have my own little space with a roof over my head and I am very thankful for it.  Not just thankful, I sometimes wish that I never had to leave it!  All the things I love are here . . .

My books . . .

My stress relief (this big beautiful claw foot isn't mine but looks a lot like it) .  .  .

More stress relief . . .

 My garden . . .

My kitchen, and . . .

Image here

My dreams.

I hope all of you are finding a place to nest this Thanksgiving or welcoming others into yours.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude No. 3: Bad Days and Dreams

Artwork Erin Carver

Do you ever look back and realize that some of your worst moments were the start of some of your biggest and brightest dreams?  Today I'm grateful for those bad moments and the crazy, big, beautiful dreams that came out of them.  I'm thankful for those challenges that caused me to go in a different direction and have the courage to . . .

Climb a mountain . . .

See nature in all its wonder . . .

Experience new places and meet people I felt like I've known all my life, and . . .

Express myself in a way I had never tried before.

So, for all those bad days and horrible nights that sparked some magnificent, crazy, totally unthinkable dreams, THANK  YOU!!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude No. 2: All Creatures Great and Small

"No heaven will not ever Heaven be,
Unless my pets are there to welcome me."

It's day two in my Week of Gratitude and I must introduce you to the small but very important creatures who bring me joy each day.  The sister team of Agnes (top) and Zelda.  I am grateful each morning to wake up to their warm, cuddly purring.  They are true comfort and pleasure seekers and always seem to be able to put the day in perspective:  Why stress out?  Take a nap!  Get a belly rub!  If only all of life's choices and challenges were that simple!

I hope all of you are lucky enough to be grateful for the love of a pet.  And if you aren't, go out and adopt one . . . or two (I found my beauties at Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue)!  You'll be thankful you did (and so will they).

Happy Monday Kichaas!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Week of Gratitude

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
Marcel Proust

Thanksgiving Day is this Thursday and I've decided that, rather than celebrate just the day, I would make this a week of gratitude.  So, each day this week I'll post about something for which I am grateful.  On Thanksgiving Day I've asked a Kichaa for which I am very grateful to be a guest blogger.  He lives far away, in a different country and in a different culture.  He'll post about five things for which he is thankful.  I thought it would be wonderful to see how much we differ and yet how much we are the same on Thanksgiving Day.

So, for my first post I have to give thanks for my family (that cute little boy in the picture above is my dad with just a few of my aunts uncles, and my grandma and grandpa).  They have loved me, made me laugh, picked me up when I felt crushed, provided me with opportunities, taught me right from wrong, and made me who I am.   I wouldn't be here without them! 

What are you grateful for today?  Have a lovely Sunday! 


Friday, November 18, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again . . .

That's right.  It's time for the office Holiday Party!
Cost cutting and good deals "if you book it early" caused management to let us cut loose a little early this year.  But that didn't stop us from celebrating the spirit of the season!  And the spirits in our cocktails didn't hurt either.

G-Cue Chicago hosted our big event last night.  So this is what a bunch of lawyers looks like after a few games of pool and an open bar.  Happy Holidays Kichaas!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Decision -- to be Scared

I have to share my new favorite read with all of you.  It's been out since June so maybe I'm a little late to find it, but I love it and I think you will too.  My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock.  It's about the author's personal journey and a year of changes leading up to her 30th birthday.  Regardless of what birthday you are on, we all can relate to those times that really seem to throw you, make you doubt yourself, the plans you have made, and even doubt your future.  I know I have had that kind of year (maybe longer -- yikes!) when everything that I thought was me, or that I identified as me, changed.

To get over that self-doubting hump, the author took a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt to heart:  "Do one thing every day that scares you."  The book is all about the author's "Year of Fear." 

I am liking that idea, how about you?  Trying to venture forth into the unknown all alone is scary enough, and hard.  So here's to all the things that scare you and to doing every single one!!


Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Flipping Out!

All photos Miko's

It's popped up and open for business!  That's Miko's Flipside Cafe.  It's a great new pop-up cafe in a teeny-weeny space in Bucktown.  It's usually a teeny-weeny ice hut (Italian ice, that is) in the warmer months.  But a colder wind is blowing now and the tiny ice hut has been transformed into a cafe.  Coffee, cocoa, mulled cider (and, of course, custom made sodas). . .

Homemade pastries and desserts (try on some dark chocolate cake and curry snaps). . .

With lunch and dinner menus that include homemade soup and mac 'n cheese, you are sure to keep warm during the cold winter months (the small 6-seater bar doesn't hurt either).

Hurry, the ice shop flips into a cafe only from October to April.  Check it out and let me know what you think Kichaas!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Before I get back to my usual blogging . . .

. . . I thought I would share some more moments from my recent trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar.   This blog space is just my take on style, living and the pursuit of happiness.  Well, this trip goes primarily in the living and pursuit of happiness categories, although I think you'll agree that the style was amazing, too.  It was incredible.  Sometimes you have go out of your usual comfort zone to get a fresh take on . . . well, everything.  

It was all put together by a darling Kichaa who owns a tour company that takes adventurers (like you and me) up Kilimanjaro and out on safari (if you have the itch to go on a VERY COOL and unique adventure, click here or email me for contact info).  My only request:   I wanted an authentic, African experience (oh yea, and on budget too, please).  Boy, did Kichaa deliver!!

I stayed in out-of-the-way villages, shopped in outdoor markets, ate with my fingers, traveled with locals, met some of the most lovely people imaginable, and saw the beauty of old Zanzibar.  See for  yourself.   I hope you enjoy the photo journey as much as I enjoyed the real thing.  

Here's to living large and always pursuing happiness!

XOXO Kichaas!

 Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends. 
Maya Angelou