Monday, November 21, 2011

apartment living

We have been living on our current place for 3 years now. I think we've been lucky to get this place although we just got here in US then. It has most of the amenities that we were looking for when we started looking for an apartment. Included with the rent are: heat, gas, water, parking and garbage disposal. We have considerable closet space and a sink with great counter space in the bedroom is an unexpected bonus! There is also a laundry facility at the building basement with 4 washers and 4 dryers. The few downsides are: the building is old (built in the 70's), the appliances are old and pets are not allowed. I would have loved to have a dog specially at the time when I'm not yet working.

Our current rent falls between $750-800 a month. It's a 1 bedroom place with about 800 sq/ft on it. The amount that we pay for rent is not unusual here in the Chicago suburb. Naturally, apartment rent would cost more in the city. I have a friend who pays more than a grand for her place in the city, excluding parking.

When we moved to our place, it was completely bare. Except for a stove and a fridge, it's pretty much empty. Little by little, we furnished the place to what it looks now. Admittedly, when you're starting your own place, you try to find the most inexpensive place to buy home stuff. Inexpensive but of good quality.

Living Room
Our living started really bare. Just an old a/c and vertical binds. Although we'd rather have wood flooring, it's really not an option since most of the older apartments have carpeted floors.
living room bare except for a/c and binds
I've been scouring for inexpensive sofa sets and furnitures online and I've come across Cort. It's a company that rents furniture to offices for a certain period. And then they have clearance centers where they sell these furniture for a really low price. Although they are technically second-hand stuff, you won't be able to tell. Their stuff are well kept and maintained. We bought our sofa set (pillows included), matching side and center table from Cort.
sofa set and tables from Cort
The photo below is taken on our first Christmas here in the US. This was in 2008 and I've taken the picture right after I setup our Christmas tree. We got a couple of home accents to decorate the living room.
taken at Christmas 2008
This is how our current living room looks like now. We've bought a couple of things from then to now. A bookcase to house my growing book collection and a daybed for friends who spend the night over.
how the living room looks now
I just realized that although our place has tons of stuff, it still seem bigger compared to the time when it was really bare. The daybed, tv stand and bookcase are all from IKEA.

Dining Room
Our dining room and kitchen is not much but I'm happy that at least we have an open layout to the dining table. As mentioned earlier, the fridge already came included with the apartment, the dining table we also got from Cort. The wall decor came all the way from Baguio, as a reminder of home.  If I remember correctly, the picture below was taken when we first got our dining table together with the sofa set. The kitchen counter is still mess-free.
dining room/kitchen at 2008
The photo below is the current one. A small book shelf is added to the wall to house Topher's notes for work and our counter space is now bursting with kitchen aides. Oh and our fridge is curently crowded with magnets from places we've been to in the last 3 years.
kitchen and dining place now
The very first furniture that we've bought is our bed. I figured if there is anything that we should splurge for initially, it should be the bed. Peace and relaxation after a hard day's work is priceless. First day at our place, we went to IKEA to buy our bed. It's a good thing that Topher is really handy with tools and putting items together because I really don't have a clue when it comes to assembling pieces.
bed frame
We got lucky that the bedside tables that we've bought from Cort is the same shade as the bed frame that we got from IKEA. Beddings, table lamps and pictures finish off our bedroom.
Picture below is how our current bedroom looked like. Our bedroom is huge, it's almost the same size as our living room. Topher got himself a study table he used while finishing his degree. The dresser across the bed is fairly new, we got it to divide the clothes bursting on the old dresser. We've been joking that a new TV would look really good on top of that dresser. Wouldn't you agree? And I'm planning to hang a blow-up wedding picture there too.
our bedroom now
As much as apartment living had been good for us, we've been planning on getting our own place. At least with paying the mortgage, the money we're paying goes to OUR house. Hopefully we can have this by next year, before my family comes to visit from Manila. At least a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with beautiful kitchen with an island. Master bedroom with huge closet space and a separate bath and shower for the master bath. For now, we need to save, save and save!

With black Friday coming this week, I'm planning to get linens and bedding sets to stock up in case we do get the change to get that dream house.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the undressing of Brandon Boyd

August 21, 2011. We celebrated our 14th (yep, 14th!) anniversary as gf/bf by watching Incubus live. It was our 4th time watching them live and the timing couldn't be any better. Twice we watch them in Manila, 1st was in 2004 at CCP grounds for the A Crow Left of a Murder World tour. The 2nd in 2008 at Araneta Coliseum for the Light Grenades tour. On both occasions, we were so far from the stage, it's like watching miniature Incubus perform.

The concert before this, we watched them here in July 2009 at Charter One Pavilion in downtown Chicago. We were there front and center and it was one of the most awesome concert experience I ever had. Which is why it had been an unspoken agreement between us that if they will be having a concert, we need to be there. Always.Watching the band play is an awesome experience, specially because I knew most of their songs by heart. Yeah, I'm such a groupie. I know.

When we watched them last August, I really thought we wouldn't get a good place at the front. But fate is really good to us that day, we're able to squeeze ourselves in a decent place, though not front but great enough to get decent pictures of them. And of course, sing and dance along with the band.

This post is entitled "the undressing of Brandon Boyd" because on all 4 concerts that we've watched, he started up covered up with jacket and all then by the end of the set, he's already half-naked. Not that I'm complaining, Brandon is always an eye candy. Covered or not. If there is one person that I can get a "pass" for, it would be him. Sorry, TMI here.

So anyway, if you're interested to know the set list from the concert, you can find it here. I posted a couple of pictures below that we took. Or Topher took.

*all photos are copyright images. please do not copy.


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