Dining Room Upgrades

Our house projects were put on hold when we realized we didn't know exactly what we wanted to do. Neither of us really feel like this is our "forever home", so we don't want to put a ton of money into upgrades. 
We do, however, think we'll be here for several years, and it makes sense to make our house comfy and ours. 
I have always loved the look of wainscoting, and when I showed several pictures to M, he was on board. If it were up to me, the whole house would be done (I'm an over-doer), but we started with just one room- the neglected dining room.
Now here's the deal. I told our real estate agent that I HAD to have a dining room. Why? I don't know, a lot of new houses don't have formal dining rooms. I just really wanted one. 
We've used it maybe three times in the last 4 months. 
It's a collector of coats and mail, but hey, it came with the house and it's what I wanted. 
Ready to see the transformation???

We went to Home Depot with a  general idea of what we... erm... I wanted. We walked out with pre-cut pieces of wood that M cut down to the correct sizes at home. He did all the dirty work, I just told him where I wanted the "batten" boards to go.
The gray color we went with is the same as what we put in the downstairs hallway and bathroom. 
The rug was a Christmas gift from my Mom, which seriously could not be more perfect.
We are still unsure of what we'd like to do with decorations.
The chandelier must go, but we really haven't looked that hard to find one. Also, the table is a hand-me-down, so we'll eventually replace it. For now, we're thinking about doing something cheap like sanding it down and staining it dark.
Also, I picked up these glass balls at Hobby Lobby a while back, but I'm still searching for the right dish/basket/??? to put them in.

You may have noticed from the background in some of the pictures that the foyer was a darker shade of purple.
We decided it was time for a drastic change. The shade of Barney just wasn't working for either of us.
It's hard to capture how awesome it looks now, but it's seriously a whole new foyer. It looks less like a nursery and more like a dramatic, regal purple.
Here's the before shot of our foyer.

So, that's what we've been up to since Christmas. I hope you all are enjoying the new year (and sticking to your diet and exercise plans - that's what we're all doing, right?!).



During our epic Greektown eat-a-thon, we came across a brand new art gallery.
We stopped in and interrupted an artist going to town on a huge canvas.
It was Sotirios Gardiakos, aka "Garsot".

He welcomed us in, and insisted that we weren't interrupting him.
After getting his permission, I started snapping away as he explained the meanings behind his beautiful masterpieces.
Some were Greek mythology, others were about keeping our planet clean, several were completely abstract, but his explanations all made sense (at least I nodded as if they did). For the most part his paintings look straight forward, but there are secrets hidden in them.

This one has women hidden in the background.

This one is about Greek history and mythology.

This one has something to do with music between the planets.

This is an "appealing woman". He wanted to steer clear of anything anyone could find offensive, so he didn't add a face and kept her neutral.

This one is about keeping the Earth beautiful.

This one is based on Greek mythology. It only looks like a man chained, but when you look closer you can see someone hiding in a Lion's pelt coming to release him.

His paintings range anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000  but he sells tiny prints for a cool $250.
Garsot has sold paintings to people all over the world, and we were lucky enough to get a personal tour of his art gallery.
By the end of our meeting, we had talked about art, food, Greek culture, and I was pretty sure a dinner invitation was going to spill out of his mouth at any time. It never did, but he did invite us back to hang out and enjoy his new work.


Greektown Eat-A-Thon

My Dad and I came up with a plan to eat our way through Chicago's Greektown.
The idea was to not repeat any orders at any of the restaurants. You know, in order to maximize the number of meals we could try. 
Three of us ordered a different appetizer at each restaurant and we split them.

We started at Pegasus with tiropitakia (feta cheese and spices stuffed into Filo dough), soutzoukia (meatballs with spices and a tomato sauce), and kolokithakia (pan-fried zucchini with a side of a rather garlicky tzatziki sauce).

We walked off the first round and popped into Roditys.
We ordered Mavrodaphne, but sadly the batch was bad, so we settled on Chateau Ste. Michelle for our wine. Next up was saganaki (flaming cheese), dolmades (grape leaves with a thick egg-lemon sauce), and some rendition of moussaka (eggplant and meat pie). I missed the picture of that last one.

After passing several more restaurants, we were ready for more and poked our heads into the Parthenon for egglemon soup, olives, feta, spinach pie (I think), hummus, and the Mavrodaphne I had been waiting for.

We walked the block and noticed a brand new art gallery had just opened. That's a post for another day though. Once we were done chatting with a phenomenal artist, the sun was setting, and we were ready for dessert. Ok, we kind of forced it down after all the deliciousness we had earlier in the day.
Artopolis happened to be on the same side of the street as us, so we obviously had to stop in.
I had almond baklava, M had traditional walnut baklava, and my Dad had galactoboureko (lemon custard with orange blossom syrup).

So, my favorite dish of the day (besides the olives and feta that I'm pretty sure I could live off of), was the tiropitakia from restaurant numero uno.
My favorite restaurant was a tie between Roditys and the Parthenon. The waiters were personable and the atmosphere was comfortable. Pegasus was a little place I'd like to have dinner dates, not exactly somewhere to go to get a sloppy gyro or be elbow deep in tzatziki sauce.

Overall, it was a great success. I can't wait to do the same with Little Italy, Chinatown, the German village, etc, etc, etc.

Stay tuned for my post on an amazing artist they call Garsot…