My Pretty in pink bathroom.

Embracing my pink bathroom tiles. (Because, pink.)

by Val Bromann  :::  04-13-2015  :::  Comments (1)

If you’ve watched as many home decorating/real estate/DIY shows as I have you’ve surely come across an episode where a homeowner encounters a pink bathroom. And you can probably guess what’s coming next.

The homeowner opens the door, eyes widen, eyebrows raise, and the side of the lip stretches back. “No,” accompanied by a throaty laugh is usually the first words out of his or her mouth. And then the realtor or contractor assures them it can be painted, it can be renovated, it can be masked.

So you can also, probably, imagine my reaction when I was looking for an apartment, opened the door to this bathroom, and encountered pink tiles.

Eyes widened, eyebrows raised, the sides of both lips stretched up into a smile.

“I’ll take it.”

And then I assured myself that the pink tiles could certainly be highlighted.

Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Pink Tiles in My Bathroom

The bathroom in my new place has old pink tiles and I did more than embrace them.

OK, so I may have gone overboard in that way that I go overboard with everything: pink shower curtain, pink bathmat, pink towels. But, if you haven’t noticed, pink is my favorite color.

There’s a little green in there too though, to balance everything out. OK, not really, it’s there because I always previously had green things for my bathroom. But it works together.

By now I have everything in my apartment unpacked, but that doesn’t mean much. I have very little furniture so in most of the rooms there are just piles of things waiting to be put away once I can afford to buy things to put them away in.

So my pretty pink bathroom is pretty much the only room that’s finished for now.

Until, I guess, I find a few more pink things to stuff in there.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom


Pretty in Pink Bathroom

A little hutch over the toilet to hide my haircare products and makeup (and a pink hairdryer…)


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - jewelry dish

A gold dish to throw the necklace I forgot to take off the night before.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom

Orla Kiely cosmetic bags. See? Pink and green go together.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Pink Shower Curtain

A pink dotted shower curtain from Target. With the sun shining behind it, the whole bathroom glows pink.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Pink Bathbat

A matching pink bathmat.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Pink Towels

And matching pink towels.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Pink Towels

And a matching pink decorative towel.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Owl and Canisters

A shelf for all things green. Green canisters from West Elm, a brown owl, some vases I bought way back in college, and a pink and green flower vase to tie it together.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Owl and Canisters

There’s a running theme of owls in my apartment.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom


Pretty in Pink Bathroom

Even my toothbrush is pink.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom - Method Fig and Rhubarb Soap

OK, so my soap is purple. But it’s Method Fig and Rhubarb soap, and I apparently now buy everything fig.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom with Pink Bathrobe and Snuggie

Oh yeah, even my bathrobe is pink. And my Snuggie.


Pretty in Pink Bathroom


Pretty in Pink Bathroom


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March: In like a lion, out like a slightly smaller lion.

by Val Bromann  :::  04-09-2015  :::  Comments (1)

My March could be summed up in one concept: moving.

I moved into my apartment. I moved in all my stuff. I bought more stuff and moved that in too.

I unpacked all my boxes. I hung up some curtains. I hung up some art.

I rearranged the few items of furniture I actually have.

I bought a shelving unit for my kitchen and thought it was a great idea to carry it home on the el.


Carrying a bookcase on the el.


It wasn’t.

I went a month without internet because Comcast wouldn’t let me set anything up online. And then when I finally brought myself to call them I got suckered into paying ten dollars more for a cable package that includes Food Network and, as far as I can tell, nothing else anyone would want to watch. But, really, there is little else I’d want to watch anyways.

I’ve also spent over a month sitting on my floor because I still haven’t gotten around to buying anything to sit on.

Someday that will happen.

But it was fun going through boxes, seeing what I have and what I don’t and pondering what the hell I was thinking when I packed up my life. Like, you know, I’m sure there was a rational decision behind selling my DVD player and keeping my VCR…

I’m sure.

I was happy to find that I kept my Snuggie.

Me and my pink snuggie.

And some special souvenirs from Thailand.

Thai salt toothpaste, condoms, and back pads.

So at least I have the essentials.

And as for other things in my life…


I saw Book of Mormon! Finally. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop laughing the entire time.

Book of Mormon in Chicago


I met up with my friend Priya, just in from a year on a working holiday visa in Australia, for vegan food at Chicago Diner (including a who would have guessed vegan carrot milkshake which may have changed my life), a long walk, an a mariachi opera.

Vegan Carrot Cake Milkshake at Chicago Diner

Mushroom Lentil Loaf at Chicago DIner

El Pasado Nunca Se Termina


I spent a day at my nephew’s birthday party.

Dylan's Birthday


And I went to Travel Massive. But didn’t take any photos.

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I’m not Irish. But you can kiss me anyways.

by Val Bromann  :::  03-17-2015  :::  Comment

I’ve never been big on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s just never been my thing. Even in college, when most of my peers were waking up at the crack of dawn to ditch class and drink green beer at “unofficial,” I was diligently sober in class.

I really don’t know how I’ve avoided it for so long. I mean, Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day pretty hard. So much so that people I’ve met who are actually from Ireland have told me that they hope to celebrate here some day.

But I’ve never passed out or puked on a Wrigleyville bar crawl. I’ve never seen the river dyed green. I’ve never worn shamrock beads or a t-shirt that said, “Kiss Me I’m Irish.” And I’d never been to the legendary South Side Irish Parade.

Once known as being one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations outside of Dublin, the parade was shut down in 2009 for being too out of control. Too many people were attending, too many people were drinking in the streets and causing trouble, and the community couldn’t support the chaos.

But in 2009 the parade marched again, now with a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol, and returned to it’s roots of a community event.

On Sunday I went to the parade with Heather and Jeremy and their friend Pat who lives near the route. And we watched bagpipers and Irish dancers and storm troopers and Santa Claus.

And, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.

A good ole sober St. Patrick’s Day.

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

Chicago South Side Irish Parade 2015 - St. Patrick's Day

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That time I went speed dating…

by Val Bromann  :::  03-12-2015  :::  Comments (4)

Speed dating is still a thing. Apparently.

I mean, I know it was a big thing in 2003, maybe, before all this internet dating came about. But in an age of OK Cupid and Tinder, where you don’t even have to leave your couch to meet a man, where all you have to do to find someone interested in you is swipe one little index finger right, actually having forced conversations with a room full of strangers in a public place just seems like an anomaly.

But these are the kind of men I find on Tinder.

I matched with no one on the Tinder.

And these are the kind of men I meet in real life.









(See what I’m doing here?)









And so, I guess I’ll try anything.

Even if that anything involves dragging myself to a dank basement bar with moody music and seven men waiting to have micro-conversations with me.


When I agreed to this speed dating thing I kind of imagined some bright river north bar with lines of tables and man upon man waiting to be micro-interrogated.

But, no. There were seven men. Which I guess is OK, because, really, I can only say the same thing about myself so many times before wanting to crawl in a hole.

But it was also kind of weird because there were also seven women and, including me, I knew five of them.

Did I mention that was weird?


Travel Lovers Speed Dating


Speed dating might not have been my first choice for finding a date. I mean, I didn’t even know people did speed dating anymore. But a coworker was telling me about this event she was signed up for — speed dating for travel lovers — and I thought, “I travel!” And, “I want to meet men!” And so I invited myself along. And then panicked.

I mean, small talk isn’t exactly my favorite thing. But, hey, if there’s one thing I can talk about, it’s travel. Or, at least, if there’s one thing I can talk about more than most other things, it’s travel.

And, really, all I had to do was sit there drinking a rum and coke while the men went in a circle meeting us.

Easy. Kind of.


Travel Lovers Speed Dating


All of the guys were nice. Some, more attractive than others. Some, easier to talk to than others. Some, more my type than others.

Sometimes conversations flowed. Sometimes, it stifled. Sometimes I was bombarded with so many questions that my mind went blank. When one of them asked what my favorite food was you’d think I’d never had seen a morsel of anything edible before in my life. When another asked what I do for fun I had to scramble to think of anything other than “watch Netflix in bed.”

And when I heard a question wrong from a non-native English speaker I accidentally told him I’d never left the country before and, too embarrassed to back track, went with it.

But sometimes it was easier. After all, all those answers to all those famous backpacker questions are second nature to me now: where do you come from? Where have you been? Where are you going? Oh yeah, what’s your name?

And, in the end, I talked to seven men and survived. And even had fun.

The next day I went onto the website to choose my matches. I chose four of the seven guys. Only one I was kind of actually interested in, but the other three I at least felt were nice and that we could have a good conversation. So, what the heck, right?

And then I went back to the homepage where it showed me my matches.

And then I checked again the next day.

And then I checked again every day until the window of opportunity to pick closed.

And every time it was the same: zero. I got zero matches at speed dating.


I got zero matches at speed dating. Zero.


So I guess I just need to become a polygamist. Or a sub. Or a mistress.

One of those.

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Living in between.

by Val Bromann  :::  03-04-2015  :::  Comments (9)
Making plans for decorating my new apartment...


For the past four months I’ve been neither here nor there.

At the end of October, after over three years of living nomadically, I “finished” my travels, flew back to Chicago on a one-way ticket, and accepted a full-time job.

But, in the four months since, I haven’t really been “here.” Not yet. I was living in a friend’s spare bedroom. I was living off of a designated shelf in the cupboard, a designated shelf in the fridge, a borrowed bed, a borrowed pillow, a borrowed towel. All of my things were still in storage at my mom’s. I couldn’t join a gym because I had no idea what part of the city I’d end up in (and, let’s face it, the only way you’d get me to a gym is if it’s convenient to home). I couldn’t shop for furniture because I didn’t know if I’d end up in a one bedroom or a studio, if I could splurge on a queen bed or would have to make due with a twin. I’d been wearing the same four dresses and one pair of boots everyday, still living out of a backpack.



I was neither here nor there. I was neither traveling nor settled.

I was living in between.

And it was depressing.

Don’t get me wrong: I had a great living situation and am grateful to Katie for letting me stay with her (and her cats!). And I’ve actually loved working. I love my job. I love my company. I love my coworkers.

But I felt off and had little motivation for anything other then Netflix.

The whole situation made me feel like I was back in my twenties. In that state where I didn’t know what I wanted, what I was doing. When I didn’t travel and didn’t move and lived with my parents for way too long. When I cried way too often and did nothing but work, watch TV, and sleep.

But, at least, this time, it was only temporary.

I hope.


My Lincoln Square Apartment


This weekend I started moving into my new apartment. It’s a one bedroom in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago.

I’m living close to bars, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping, a gym, and public transportation.

It’s an old apartment, it’s a little crumbly, but I like it. There’s a lot of space. There are a lot of windows that bring in a lot of light. There are pink tiles in the bathroom. There are lots of closets waiting to be filled.


Pink bathroom in my Lincoln Square apartment


It’s a blank canvas that I’m excited to decorate just how I want.

I’ve already brought over everything I had with me. I’ve already bought some new things and made entirely too many trips to Target. I’ve even already ordered my perfect teal couch (though it will take at least 8 weeks to be delivered…)

I’m hoping that all of this brings me out of my funk. I’m hoping that I’ll finally start feeling settled because I will be settled. I’m hoping that I stop feeling like I’m living in between and more like I’m just living. That I’m here.

I’m hoping.


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