Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Love it or list it

We should have had our renovation filmed for an episode of Love It or List It. Not that it's going badly, but we have run into a few of the classic plot points ... a flooring order that fell through due to a strike in Spain, and now the dreaded "knob-and-tube" wiring!

Neither issue ended up being that big of a deal. We picked a different color for the floor that I'm now convincing myself I like even better, and we only had to add an extra couple of days to the electrician's workload to redo the wiring. The big (good!) news is that the inspection(s) are happening Friday/Monday and then if all goes well, we can start really making progress with tile and drywall. Fun!

Here are a few pics of the work in progress ...

The layers underneath -- old wallpaper in the tandem room closet


The master bath

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Best of Paris

What a week! I arrived in Paris last Sunday for a 4-day workshop and then Jason joined me on Thursday for a long weekend of intense sightseeing.

We strolled along the Champs Elysees (forgive me for not adding all the accent marks here ...) and The Seine, saw the Arc de Triomphe and Tour Eiffel at night, toured the Musee d'Orsay, visited Monet's Water Lillies at the Musee de l'Ongerie, saw The Thinker at the Jardin Rodin, marveled at the stained glass in Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame, and checked out the view from Sacre Coeur.

Sounds like a lot, right? It was, but in between all that, we also had a lot of time to just relax and experience life in Paris. We walked around the different neighborhoods, took the Metro, saw the city in lights, sat in cafes and watched the people go by ... it was wonderful.

We learned a few key phrases from my mom before the trip and felt like that saved us from acting like total Americans (we couldn't believe how many people we sat next to at cafes who didn't even attempt a basic "Bonjour" or "Merci ... come on, man!). My favorite phrase of the trip was definitely "eau du robinet, s'il vous plait" (tap water, please) ... it earned smiles from a few French waiters who seemed to appreciate the effort. In general, communicating in Paris was much easier than I thought it would be and people were pretty friendly and helpful.

We had hoped to take a day trip to Versailles, but ran into logistical problems with the Paris Marathon and train station closures. So that means we'll have to come back! There's still plenty to see and do, cafes we need to visit, and macarons we need to eat. Au revoir, Paris!

Selfie at the Arc de Triomphe

Tour Eiffel. These 2 fraidy cats only made it up to the second level, but still, it was quite the view!

Feeling French in my new scarf :) Purchased in Montmartre after climbing the hill to Sacre Cooeur

A flower shop and motorcycles ... this corner felt very French

We took this picture for Molly ... a fancy chocolate shop that specialized in ducks :)
Impressive-looking clock at the Musee d'Orsay. We saw a really cool exhibit here: Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky

Surrounded by Water Lillies ... hard to pick a favorite, they were all so beautiful

Monday, April 3, 2017

Time to chill

Our vacations have taken on a pattern now that Molly is in elementary school -- 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week for Spring break, and a few long weekends over the summer. I love it. Every trip seems to come just when you need it, and this Spring break was no exception.

We went down to Florida for a week of what I like to call "active R&R." There's golf, swimming, and tennis ... but also plenty of time for reading, relaxing, and eating. I finished 2 paperback mysteries, so that's about as perfect as it gets from my perspective :)

I was a little worried that Molly would be bored without any other kids, but we managed to schedule a playdate with another little girl in the neighborhood while Jason and I played golf. And, after going all out in the pool every afternoon, it seemed like Molly needed as much chill time as the rest of us (by chill time, I mean time on YouTube kids watching unboxing videos ... we were relaxing, what can I say?). She also got a kick out of playing with my "old fashioned" Barbie clothes from the 80s (one-shouldered Dynasty dresses, parachute pants, and backless tuxedo tops, ha!).

We also had good family time, playing board games and hanging out on the back porch before dinner. It got me feeling ready for summer ... and retirement. Only approximately 19 more years until I can turn "active R&R" into a permanent lifestyle :)

Molly loves Florida ... 

Bonding with my girl

Daddy daughter time

Waiting for the SpaceX launch

Hanging with her Grand P's

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fixer upper ... part 2

It seems so long ago that I first posted about our "upcoming" renovation. Well, now we're finally (allllmost!) ready to start. Decisions have been made ... supplies have been ordered ... permits have been obtained. Now we just need our contractor to wrap up his current project so he can switch the focus over to O'Gradyland :)

I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can start at the end of the month, before Spring break, so we can miss a good chunk of the demolition work. Realistically, it's probably looking more like April. C'est la vie!

The overall planning process hasn't been too painful. Jason and I are pretty decisive, and we've been able to piggyback off a lot of the hard work that Susie and Sean did planning for their kitchen and bathroom renovation (thanks, guys!). Things just take longer -- and cost more -- than you want them to.

For those who are interested ...
Final floor plan.
Bathroom vanity design. Note: This does not reflect our tile or fixture choices. We'll have dark gray tile on the floor, white tile on the walls, and an array of chrome Kohler fixtures.
Linen cabinet. Oh blessed storage!
Jason's side of the closet
MY side of the closet ... even though I'm constantly paring down my wardrobe to the essentials, I'm dying about having All. This. Space!
My closet inspiration, and what I'm hoping it ends up looking like. We'll have light gray cork on the floor, shelving and drawers will be white like this, and I LOVE the idea of having a fun purple bench in the middle and glam lighting up above. Our window will be off-center at the far end, but I plan on balancing it out with a framed piece of artwork or a full-length mirror.
It's going to be crazy at our house until May with all of our master bedroom furniture crammed into the guest room and my office, cabinets and supplies stacked in boxes downstairs, and contractors coming in and out of our house for 8 weeks. But hopefully it will all be worth it!

Monday, February 20, 2017


Now that I've been at my current job for about 2 years, the travel is starting to pick up ... in the best way possible. Last year, I went to Madrid, Vienna, and Washington DC. This year, I've already been to Barcelona and have a trip to Paris scheduled for April!

The work trips are usually pretty intense -- long days filled with meetings and then a few hectic hours each evening to meet deadlines. But there's almost always time for a little sight-seeing at the beginning of each trip, and plenty of time for dinner and drinks with coworkers.

It was so cool going BACK to the Sagrada Familia to see the progress they've made since Jason and I were there a year and a half ago
I also love having the time to myself on the flight to relax and watch TV. I really took advantage of the Netflix and Amazon download options on this last trip and watched the entire first season of The Crown (loved it!) and checked out a few episodes of Black Mirror and Goliath (enough to make me want to watch more!).

My travel didn't stop after Barcelona. Immediately after landing in Chicago, I jumped in my car and drove straight to Holland, Michigan, where we had a weekend rental with another family. Molly was having so much fun with her friend, she hardly even reacted when I walked in the door after being gone for a week.
Molly and her friend Larry on the beach. We had gorgeous weather last weekend. On the beach in February?? Crazy!!
The O'Grady fam :)

It's SO much easier to travel now that Molly is older. I used to feel so guilty when Molly was younger -- partly because she made me pay for it with tears and/or the cold shoulder. I would do anything to get out of having to travel for work. Now, Molly enjoys the alone time with Jason and we have fun sending each other videos back and forth while I'm gone ... She knows I love her. And, since I'm not the only one in the family who travels, I get a chance to be alone with Molly this week when Jason goes to Boston :)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The little things

The world's a little crazy right now, but there's always time to find happiness in small things ...

Hanging out with my sisters on a strangely warm January day

One-on-one time with the Molls

Looking through old pictures

Grooming 2 new NU fans

Finding out I can wear jeans to work WHENEVER I WANT

Watching Roger Federer win the Australian Open!

Going to see Hamilton with my main squeeze. It. Was. Awesome!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Oh what fun!

It was another epic O'Grady Christmas road trip. This year, we drove west, spending a week in CO Springs, New Year's Eve in Denver, and then a couple of days in the mountains skiing and sledding. We were gone for 2 weeks, but it felt like a month ... in the best way possible.

Now we're refreshed and (hopefully) ready for 2017! We have a Colorado-inspired resolution for the year -- to hike a 14er and/or the Manitou Incline -- and are feeling motivated to hit the gym, build up our endurance, and shed the extra holiday lbs. It's a pretty perfect resolution because it gets us in shape and back to the place we're already missing.

I have a ton of wonderful holiday photos, but here are some of the best of the bunch:
Cooking cousins
Ugly sweaters ... handsome men

Ready for Santa
Two Wookiees 
Escape room success
New Year's Eve - we're all laughing because Evan requested a refill on his "party milk" (sparkling cider .... hahahah!)

Skiing Copper Mountain

Molly getting a little help from Uncle Roger

Post sledding pic
Evan in his favorite spot ... sitting with Molly