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We’ve moved!

31 May

Lincoln Park on a Lark has officially moved to A Room With a View

 

 

To make matters even sweeter, I’m hosting a summer giveaway right now.

 

 

So update your readers! And go enter!

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Brain dump 2.

26 Apr

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend, whether you celebrate or not! Mine was certainly hectic, and everyday life is a bit of a relief. I think today’s a wonderful day for a brain dump post!

1) I am currently enamored with the idea of an unfussy but still gorgeous fresh poppy bouquet for the wedding. This bride went to a farmer’s market the morning of and made her own! Ambitious.

(source)

2) I want to know how this girl manages to look cute and stylish in wellies. I love my black ones, but they always look and feel clunky somehow. And they’re the exact ones she’s wearing, but in black. If I was to attempt pairing them with a dress, it would look ridiculous. Height issue, maybe? Also, at the rate we’re going with rain on days when I have shoots planned, I feel like I’m in reschedule and stay glued to weather.com limbo. No fun!

                                                                                                                  (source)

3) Does anyone else read Dear Prudie as obsessively as I do? I adore her. I also wonder, time and again, why in the world I don’t subscribe to Slate considering one of my very favorite authors writes a column for them, and Dear Prudie writes for them. Alas, Vogue is my only current subscription. As my bank likes to inform me time and time again, I’m flat broke.

4) We got the official lease sent over, and I’m so excited to renew! It’s nice to have some stability for the next two years, and to allow myself to fully settle in without that looming “will I have to pack up everything I own for the seventhy zillionth year in a row?” feeling.

Je m’appelle…

22 Apr

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about names. Blog names, specifically.

When I started this blog, it was mainly as a way to keep up with some friends, gather inspiration, and vent. I had no idea that I’d be heading in a more creative direction, launching a little photography venture, and (honestly) keeping people interested in what I had to say.

So I just kind of named this site off the cuff, with something I thought sounded cute. But I’ve always been a little… eh… about Lincoln Park on a Lark. Also, we live one street over, so we’re technically in Lakeview, which doesn’t have the same ring to it. Regardless, while we’ll be here at least two more years, I feel like maybe attaching a neighborhood moniker to my blog is a commitment I’m just not ready to make… or keep.

How did you decide on your blog name? Any thoughts on a big rename?

Upcoming posts.

12 Apr

I hope you all have loved these wonderful guest post as much as I have! I’m doing some future post planning, and I thought it’d be fun to get you involved. So far my tentative list looks something like this:

  • a weeklong look at what this vegan eats
  • another brain dump post
  • Chicago in the summer
  • why I want Wal Mart to stay away from Lakeview East
  • an update on my photography

If there’s anything else you’re interested in reading, let me know! Until then, enjoy this gorgeous day.

ABC Post.

6 Apr

Things are still a bit overwhelming on my end, so I thought I’d take a fun little break with these survey questions that have been going around. Kudos to the person who gets the movie reference first!

A. Age: 21 (I’m a youngin’!)

B. Bed size: queen, but it feels smaller because a certain fuzzy feline has decided her spot is right in between us.

C. Chore you hate: Tidying and decluttering. I don’t mind any actual cleaning, I just hate dealing with the mess that accumulates.

D. Dogs: Yes, please! One is enough for me, though. Obligatory Sunday photo:

 

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee coffee coffee (cue Gilmore Girls scene here).

F. Favorite color: I really can’t pick one (cue the “what are your wedding colors?” “all of them” “ALL of them?” conversation) my favorites tend to be purple, red, blue, green, yellow, and grey.

G. Gold or silver: gold, but I don’t wear much jewelry.

H. Height: 5’ exactly

I. Instruments: None at this point. I played viola when I was younger.

J. Job title: caregiver/aid, student

K. Kids: Just the animals.

L. Live: Chicago

M. Mom’s name: Nancy

N. Nicknames: Anni is a nickname, although no one ever calls me Anne.

O. Overnight hospital stays: None

P. Pet peeve: incorrect apostrophe use, and slow walkers who don’t step to the side.

Q. Quote from a movie: “I know you can overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” “I think you can in Europe…”

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: I’m an only child.

T. Time you wake up: Between 6 and 8, depending on the day.

U. Underwear: I love the Hanky Panky brand

V. Vegetables you dislike: onions! I loathe onions.

W. What makes you run late: Traffic, aforementioned slow walkers who don’t get out of the way, a certain someone who thinks I’m his alarm clock.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: ears, teeth

Y. Yummy food you make: vegan flatbread with mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Also, cupcakes.

Z. Zoo- favorite animal: I can’t choose just one – we’ll say it’s a three way tie between cats, horses, and dogs.

 

Guest post: Jessica from Heart on Homestead

4 Apr

This is Part 2 in my little series of guest posters. I really hope you’re enjoying getting to hear from some of my favorite bloggers, and I can’t wait to share all the exciting developments I have going on with you! I’m especially excited about today’s post because it comes from Jess, who is one of the most crazy awesome bloggers I know. Also, my dog hearts her dog.  So without further ado…

Hey y’all! I’m Jessica and you can normally find me blogging in my own little corner of cyberspace, Heart on Homestead. I’m so honored that Anni asked me to guest post! I’ve been a huge fan of her photography and blog for quite a while and rarely a day will go by that I don’t talk to this girl, it’s amazing what great friends you can find over the internet.
 
To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what to write when I was first contemplating my guest post and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that Anni and I are very different. She lives in the bustling city of Chicago when my home is situated on a dead end road in the farm country of Virginia, more specifically, the Shenandoah Valley.
 
To look out my back window and see a fabulous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is often breathtaking, but I guess I’ve watched one too many episodes of Sex and the City because I can’t hide my jealousy. It seems so amazing to have access to specialty shops, museums and entertainment just steps from your front door and that’s something that my small town just doesn’t offer. My life consists of a thirty minute commute to work and an even farther drive to anything worthy of a Saturday night out.
 
I’m drawn to the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C., only two hours from my one acre lot, it seems like an entirely different world! Within a few miles, you have the Smithsonian, memorials, the White House not to mention countless restaurants, theatres and nightlife. As fantastic as it all sounds to me, I’m afraid I wouldn’t fit in. I say y’all too much, talk to strangers and can’t parallel park. Reading a map is like looking at a different language and I’d probably be lost 99% of the time.
Now, just so this post doesn’t sound like an ad for Washington D.C., I do have to say that I wouldn’t give up my suburban life for anything. Even though the “country air” really just smells like manure and my next door neighbors are literally goats, it’s nice here. No, we don’t have a dog park but I love that I can let my dog out without a leash and let him run around our yard. A day trip for us means exploring the local wineries and marveling at the acres of vines. If we want, we can hike in the Shenandoah National Park or camp by the river on the weekend. 
 
I guess the grass always seems greener on the other side, right?  Had you asked me a few years ago, I would have jumped on the chance to trade my three bedroom house for a studio apartment a block from the metro.  Nowadays though, I more than happy to be settling down as my husband and I celebrate our one year anniversary next month all while continuously renovating our little stone house on a dead end road overlooking Appalachia.

The rent is too damn high! Plus Mean Stinks.

29 Mar

Well, it will be. Maybe. Do you know what I’m talking about? That cracks me up every time.

It’s no secret that I love our apartment. It’s 650 square feet of gorgeous 1920’s design and quirky architecture. I love the hardwood floors and molding. And I love our living room and dining room, where there’s lots of light. Let’s not talk about the 11×11 bedroom with one window that has a view of a brick wall about a foot away.

Let me give you a little tour:

This is our lovely living room. I adore the arched doorways and the windows. In the spring the trees out in the courtyard bloom with gorgeous white buds. I have no idea what kind of trees they are, but they kind of look like my own little cherry blossoms. I know next to nothing about trees, obviously, but they’re pretty.

 

And this is our cute nook of a dining room. I really wish it was about five to ten square feet larger so that I could comfortably fit a desk up against the window. Eventually I’d really like to get a desktop computer, but as of right now I have no place to put it. Either way, it’s a gorgeous place to sit down to dinner together and I love our cute little table.

And our living room (and miss Sunday) from the other side. If you look closely at the chair on the left side, you can see Zoey’s heated bed. She never leaves that thing.

Right now, we pay $1275 per month, which is a pretty good rate for what we have. We live in a great neighborhood with lots of shops and nightlife, about two blocks from the lake and Lincoln Park, and we’re only a little over a mile from my campus, so it’s an easy walk. Plus, laundry is free. FREE! No more stupid dryers not finishing on the first $1.90 cycle, and having to decide if I want damp clothes or to pay up. Sunday would like me to add that we’re a short walk away from Wigglyville, her favorite pet store ever.

The scary thing? I’ve been priced out of every apartment I’ve had in Chicago thus far. Back then it didn’t really matter, because my first apartment was absolute chaos for what ended up being a four-person living arrangement (two words: one bathroom) and the second apartment was a two-bedroom we shared with roommates, so it was much too big when we decided to live just the two of us.

We’ve been checking on Craigslist lately to see what things are going for in our area, and it’s not a pretty sight. I’m not sure if the rental market is just doing extraordinarily well because no one can afford to buy right now, or if we just rented a little bit out of our means and should have accounted for this, but I’m terrified that when our awesome landlord asks if we want to renew our lease, there’s going to be a hefty rent raise to go along with it. The problem is it’s really tough to find a decent, dog-friendly building around here, especially because we’re kind of picky people. We looked at about 15 apartments before finding this one, and we’re happy here.

For fellow renters, has this ever happened to you? Do you have any tips for negotiating renewals, or are we just stuck moving if it goes up too much?

On a happier note, my friend Jenna posted about Secret’s Mean Stinks campaign yesterday. (Yep, that’s me!) I love the idea, and wanted to turn around and pass along the love. One person in particular came to mind to highlight:

Steph from Forget Me (Not) is one of my absolute favorite bloggers. She’s sweet and funny, and I’m always excited to see that she’s posted. Her entries are always honest and heartfelt and I know from working with her on Operation Layla that she’s truly a generous person. I also covet her gorgeous red hair!

I love the message of Mean Stinks because I think it really highlights what can be so amazing about social media in spite of the nasty downsides like cyber bullying. I’ve come to “know” so many lovely girls on here, and I wish I could highlight all of you! Thanks for being so amazing.

 

Operation Layla

10 Mar

You may have noticed the donate button that’s over on my sidebar now, or seen me using the #operationlayla tag on Twitter. What is Operation Layla? Simply put, it’s a joint effort between an amazing group of friends to help one of our own when she needs it. Here is Layla’s story, which you can also see on Jars of Love.

This is Layla and her husband Josh:

One month after her 30th birthday, Layla was diagnosed with early stage cervical cancer (1A Adenocarcinoma). She was extraordinarily lucky that it was caught early, and was able to have a simple surgery to remove the cancerous cells. Three years later, Layla had been in horrible pain that affected nearly every aspect of her life. Temporarily uninsured due to a job change, she paid out of pocket last October to go to the doctor and make sure that the cancer had not returned. Thankfully, it had not.

However, her doctor believes that she has pelvic adhesions and Endometriosis due to the previous surgery, but it can not be diagnosed until an additional surgery (laparoscopy) is performed. The doctor also found out that Layla has cervical stenosis, which basically means her cervix has completely shut due to the scar tissue from the previous surgery. These issues make her miserable most of the time, making simple things like going to the bathroom and menstruation horribly painful, and sexual intercourse impossible. He stated that if she did want to have children one day, even sperm could not pass through her cervix, and she would have to have intrauterine insemination. The doctor wanted to schedule surgery as soon as the insurance at her new job went into effect. Her company fired her the day her insurance became valid, ten days before Christmas, plainly stating that it was because of her health issues.

Fortunately, she was able to get on her husband’s insurance, which went into effect on February 1st. As soon as she could, Layla scheduled surgery for March 22nd. Then her insurance company dropped a bomb: because she had gone to the doctor (even as a self pay patient) within a three month period prior to her enrollment date, they were considering her health issues to be a pre-existing condition, and would not insure any doctor visits, medication, or surgery for them for 388 days.

388 days is a long time to wait when you are in near constant pain and can’t work. The sooner Layla can have this surgery, the sooner she can return to work (hopefully with a nicer company!) and start living her life again. Her doctor has been nice enough to work out a deal with her, decreasing the amount of her surgery to $4,000, the cost of the anesthesia to $500, with additional fees for biopsies of removed tissue to be determined, if Layla can pay as a cash patient.

The problem is, Layla is unemployed due to this, has used her savings to pay for living expenses and medical bills, and has been denied loans for the surgery because of her unemployment status. She does not have a close family, so she can’t ask them for help. Surgery is scheduled for March 22nd, and Layla and her husband are still trying to secure a loan through several banks.

So how can you help?

Anything you can contribute will make a difference, whether it’s listing some old clothes on Ebay and sending the winnings, baking for the online bake sale we have in the works, spreading the word on your own blog, getting others involved, or clicking the donate button. If you want to be involved, leave me a comment letting me know and I’ll fill you in on the details!

Makeover!

14 Feb

What do you guys think about the new look around here? I absolutely love it, and Rachel from just b.CAUSE  is to thank – she designed it! And just in time for Valentine’s Day, too! What a wonderful present.

If you’ve never heard of just b.CAUSE, it’s a wonderful volunteer project. Rachel takes commissions for blog designs at a minimal cost (no profit, just charges for CSS code changes on WordPress and her software) and asks that you donate to a favorite charity. She even installs the changes to your site herself, so if you’re CSS-stupid (um, like me) you don’t have to worry.

To date, Rachel has designed many gorgeous sites and raised awareness for some awesome causes. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to go check out her site because she is one awesome girl.

I love Rachel’s commitment to helping out charitable causes. It’s something I don’t talk about nearly enough, but there’s a special place in my heart for not-for-profits. My future sister-in-law and her husband run a wonderful cat rescue, and I see firsthand just how much of that cost they incur themselves for the sake of the animals. Donating money is great, but your time is just as helpful! So if you have a favorite local charity or organization, I highly recommend calling them up and asking if they could use a pair of hands anytime soon.

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