Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chicago Parent Blog: Diner en Blanc- My First

Check out this piece I wrote for Chicago Parent dot com

I am sure, you, like me, are not aware of everything this great city has to offer during the summer. We do the beaches, we do the zoo, we do the street festivals and outdoor concerts at Ravinia or Grant Park. yada yada yada. 

Well, I am about to embark on a rather new and amazing Chicago phenomenon. Diner en Blanc. Yup, that's right, it's french for Dinner in White. SO you are thinking, "yeah, I have heard of those cliche white parties or "some-color-theme-type party."
Oh no oh no oh no. This is not your average dress all in the same-color-party. This is basically the original, the creator, the founder, the leader in all "white" parties. 

This is a worldwide phenomenon that is celebrating it's 26th anniversary!! It was created by Francois Pasquier and ten of his friends more than a quarter of a century ago in Paris. Francois and his friends (a.k.a they might be called "foodies" today) just wanted to wine and dine in a forbidden Parisian location like Chateau de Versailles. Their evening was a grand success! These friends invited friends who of course invited friends to the next Diner en Blanc. The original organizers kept the location a secret until the last possible moment. Since then, numerous locations throughout Paris have come to life in a sea of white for an evening of the finest wine, delicatessens, and human connection. 

In the last 26 years it has spread over 5 continents and 50 cities. Chicago was blessed with this event in August 2012. Keeping with tradition, this "friends and word-of-mouth only" event will take place on August 21, 2014 where over 1,000 Chicago attendees, INCLUDING ME,  will meet at a predetermined transport location. Then, and only then, will we finally learn our secret prestigious location for the evening. We will arrive to set up our all white tables, chairs and decor to enjoy an evening of fine food, architecture, design, life, and people that is Chicago. 

For more information regrading this grand event.
Otherwise, stay tune for the reveal in 2 weeks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Outdoor Fire Pit - A Success Story

Remember last weeks bittersweet blog about demolishing our play set? If not, click here.

Well, I thought I finally update you all on the final results. It was worth every bittersweet moment as many new memories have already been made. 

I christened the fire pit with some gal pals and a couple glasses of wine. Sorry for low resolution night pic. 

LOVE the box fortress in the background that the boys put together when the patio furniture arrived.

Here is our first family s'more night. Boys were very surprised mommy could start a fire.

Sunday evening with some close friends

Our most recent Sunday evening where it seemed we got the entire hood making s'mores. It was great to see that age didn't matter, young and old loved the pit.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Outdoor Patio With Fire Pit

Every year we head up to northern Michigan for the summer. Part of the trip always involves us enjoying the summer evenings around a fire pit. There is something so calming about sitting around a fire pit and just being.

So, back in May we made the decision to finally have our old and rickety playset removed. It was bittersweet as I watched the playset come down. As if a portion of our family was changed forever, a part of our past was grown up, over, done. I must admit it tugged at my heart when I caught my boys watching the process.  

UHHH! Still tugs at my heart. So I knew I needed to create space that would be enjoyable for the kids. A space they can create new memories and what better way than with a fire pit. Mommy can enjoy it with her girlfriends while having a glass of wine in the evenings, and the kids can create some gooey s'mores. 
So began the Pinterest Board of Fire Pit ideas and floor plan. Check out my board here for more ideas but I narrowed it down to a couple plans for my yard. 
I knew I wanted to use clay pavers. In my front yard I have clay pavers and a unilock paver design. I hate how in the last 5-7 years the unilock pavers have lost their color. BUT, clay pavers still look amazing. They last decades maintaining their rich color. Every few years they need a power wash and their beauty is restored. Also, I have brick pavers in the front walkway that I wanted to tie the front and back looks.
I saw this design outside a clients apartment complex and knew this is what I wanted. Red brick clay pavers laid in a 45 degree design with gray unilock fire pit and the outside border to be matching limestone to our front yard. 
So now I needed to get  a floor plan going and decided that I liked this the best. 

The Fire Pit will be centered to one side with a full seating area. Then opposite will be the BBQ and small bistro set for eating. Not to say that this is how it actually turned out. HAHA, stay tuned. 
Anyhoo, here are some inspirational pics that got my juices going.