thank you & friday fun links!

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's A Small World

Well you guys have made my heart go pitter patter. Yesterday’s post was not easy for me, and I sat there for a long time before I pressed publish. Thank you for your kindness. My inbox has been overflowing with sweet messages. It means the world to me that you read my story and just bringing her top of mind makes me smile. I know she’ll never be forgotten. So for that, I will be forever indebted to you. And how about that picture up there! That is me with some jazzy high waisted denim and suspenders…because apparently they weren’t high enough…along with my mom and sister standing in front of the It’s a Small World ride.

But, let’s get back to the fun stuff already! Friday Fun Links! Before I take off on this long holiday weekend, I wanted to leave you with some fun reading material  and of course shopping links.

If you haven’t seen the movie Amélie, Netflix it tonight. It brings out my inner francophile, and the photobooth scrapbook makes me giddy as a school girl! Domaine just posted a get the look of Amélie’s Parisian Apartment. Find the post here.

This awesome new store called Bright Lab just debuted these pretty little string lights. I love all the colors!

If you’ve been watching my Instagram, I’m going to be DIYing a chair soon and reading this post by Orlando over at Homepolish. I’m so excited to get this one started.

Zoe Karssen has always rocked my world with her sweatshirts, but I think this one is number 1…get in my closet already!

Last weekend we noshed on some burgers at Au Cheval. I got to wash my hands with this soap and fell in love. I looked so weird smelling my hands over and over again, but I’m telling you, it’s soooo good!

I’m going to start designing more free printables for you guys, but I need opinions. Would you like free printables or free desktop backgrounds or free phone backgrounds or yes all three of the above please?

I’m going to mosey on over to Target tomorrow in hopes that I can snatch up this super cute white pitcher with gold accents.

We’ll be relaxing and grilling on the new patio this weekend and listening to tunes on this portable speaker. What are you guys doing this weekend? Got any fun plans?

If you get rained in, stop over at J.Crew.com’s sale section. They are offering an extra 40% off final sale items with promo code WEEKEND

Feeling sad? Head over here to listen to Taylor Swift’s new song “Shake It Off”…it’s such a fun little song. Let me tell you, I listened to it a lot yesterday!

Feeling bored? Let’s both try to master this cute little ponytail wrapped in a scarf.

HAPPY LABOR DAY YOU GUYS! I’ll be seeing you in a few days!

 

my sister died

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So I’ve known for a long time that I was going to write this post. In fact, I’ve tried to write it more than once and it ends up sitting in my drafts folder, and sooner or later it gets deleted or lost in the shuffle. Not because it is not important, but rather I’ve been trying to figure out how to share my story with you. After you read this, please don’t feel sorry for me. Ya, it was the suckiest event of my life, but I’ve also have some really awesome things happen as well. Because my sister died I became stronger. It’s made me appreciate life a whole lot more. It’s made me appreciate the people in my life. It’s made me act nicer towards others. It’s reminded me to stay in the moment because tomorrow it may be gone. This is my story.

my sister died suddenly

My sister and I were just like normal sisters. Some days we hated each other and some days we loved each other. We grew up in a really small town in Wisconsin and went to parochial school. It was a very simple childhood. Even though she never wanted to follow in my footsteps, she kinda did. She went to the same college as I, and shortly after graduation she too moved to Chicago. This is about the time we became friends again. We didn’t care for each other much during high school.

She majored in drama and shortly after moving to the city, she and some college buddies started at theatre company. See, it was difficult for unknown actors in a big city. This company was to be a place where college grads from her alma mater could get their feet wet while figuring out the city’s theatre scene. I saw many a play where I wanted to stick hot pokers in my eyes…but there were a few cute ones in the bunch as well. Besides, I didn’t go because I loved theatre, I attended because it supported her. I remember driving her home after one particularly awful play in which she turned to me and said, “Ya, I didn’t expect you to like this one. I’ll have to agree, it was really awful.” I pretty much berated her all the way home and told her she owed me 2 hours of life back for what she just put me through. It was painful.

About 8 years ago, she got engaged to this wonderful, funny dude whom my entire family adored. They had been dating since college and they finally said let’s do this. Shortly after, my boyfriend proposed to me and we started planning our weddings together. Some people might think that we would become battling brides, but we tried hard not to step on each others toes. We also had very different tastes, so that helped as well. She went dress shopping with me first and helped me talk mom into buying a dress that was WAAAAAAY out of my price range. She clenched the deal for me. She was having her dress made, but I went dress shopping with her to help her get an idea of what she wanted. It was to be simple with eyelet fabric, but everything we found was so heavy. I finally got her to try on a ball gown and OMG, it looked spectacular on her. She looked like this little 5 foot 2 princess…which, neither of us are really princess material, but that day, she looked stunning! I think that day she fell in love with organza.

It was about this time that we went to lunch together (which we tried to do once a week at least if our schedules allowed). I had just switched jobs and was working about 2 blocks away from her office in the Loop. It was nice to have a lunch buddy. One day, she chose this spa themed sandwich shop where everything had kale or wheat grass or quinoa and the water was infused with cucumbers or some sort of fancy fruit. We sat down and she said, “So, I’m going to have that heart surgery again.” I believe my exact response was, “Woah, why?”

Quick backstory, when she was like 4 years old, we were at one of those restaurants where they also put on a musical after dinner…must be where the drama thing started. And suddenly she yells, “My heart just stopped!!!” She started to cry. Not because she was in pain, but because she was really scared. My parents immediately got up, and we were on our way to the ER. This is where we learned that she had this tachycardia condition. After testing, doctors found scar tissue near the node in her heart that was causing a rapid heart beat. This condition caused her to have panic attacks and she had to go on a lot of expensive medication to control everything.

When she was in high school, one surgeon tried to zap it with a laser. He went in laparoscopically and found the tissue, zapped it, but it was too close to that node. He nicked it once and said if he damaged it any further she would have to wear a pace maker for the remainder of her life. The surgery failed.

So back to my lunch. I was sipping on cucumber water while she explained to me that she had found a new doctor in the city. One who told her that the laser surgery had come leaps and bounds from where it was years ago. This time they could go in with a cold laser and freeze the tissue; therefore avoiding any harm to the node. She was excited to go off of the meds. One because they caused weight gain (not that she was over weight, but it was difficult for her to lose pounds no matter what she ate or how often she exercised) and two because these meds caused birth defects. Now, if you remember, she was getting married. I’m not sure if kids were in the cards for her, but she thought prior to marriage would be the best time to move forward with this procedure. The main med that controlled the tachycardia was also discontinued. This was a huge concern. She had changed from name brand to generic, but what if that generic were to be discontinued as well. Then what?

About a month later, surgery day arrived. My mom had driven down to be along with her. The boy drove down from the burbs and we met her, her fiance Adam, and my mom at Eddie Bauer on Michigan Ave. She wanted to eat dinner at some Italian restaurant, but she didn’t make reservations. The boy was all irritated because he had already found parking once we found out we couldn’t get a table for hours, and I was bitching at her about who doesn’t make reservations and not being very nice at all. We finally stumble upon buca di beppo, got a table and ordered. I kept joking that this was her “last supper” because she couldn’t eat anything after midnight. Little did I know this really was the last meal we’d have together.

After dinner we parted ways. I woke up the next morning for work like I do everyday. My mom took a cab from Northwestern Hospital to the Loop to have lunch with me at Goodwins. I think she was itching to move around a bit. My sister was still in surgery, but Adam was with her. While we were standing in line he called my mom. She was out of surgery 3 hours earlier then expected. She was groggy but awake and feeling well. The surgery was a success. They had frozen that piece of scar tissue and she would now be med free. I think my mom told every worker behind the counter in the sandwich shop. They were all looking at us like we were nuts. While we sat at that little table munching on wrap sammies, we kept saying, wow, I can’t believe she is out of surgery already! Unbelievable! Now she can start her life! We were both so happy for her.

She stayed at Northwestern for EKGs and every test came back with positive results. She was allowed to return home at about 10PM. I remember calling my mom asking how she was doing and she said, “Well, I think she is a bit weepy. Mainly because she doesn’t have that feeling in her heart anymore. It’s gone.” It had to be such an unfamiliar feeling for her. I can’t even imagine. I think she was more or less, overjoyed.

Later, the following day, she came down with a fever. This was not good. She called her doctor who told her to keep an eye on it for the next 24 hours, and if it didn’t go away, she was to go straight to the emergency room. Well, it didn’t go away. She called me that Sunday evening and explained to me what was happening. They had admitted her. I remained quite calm on the phone but when I got off, I remember dropping to the floor and sitting on the bottom stair of our townhome. I was crying uncontrollably, sobbing, saying, “She is going to die. I just know it. I can feel it in my bones. My sister is going to die.” The boy was hugging me saying she was in the hospital, the safest place she could be. She was going to be just fine. All she had was a simple fever. I was overreacting.

She stayed there from Sunday evening to Thursday morning. They did an array of tests on her. Checked her for a blood infection. Everything. They found nothing. The fever had subsided. I texted with her a bit but received most of my info from my mom who had spoken to her. Everything was fine. She was resting. I kept telling myself that I should go over there and visit her. I had just given her a copy of CS Wedding, and we wanted to go through it together. Unfortunately, I was in one of the busiest times of my life with work. When I could get home, I left the city immediately to grab a train. I didn’t go see her. She was only a 5 minute cab ride away from me, and I was too busy. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for that.

Thursday afternoon I was in a meeting for a new business pitch. If we got this, it was going to be HUGE for the company I was working for. The meeting ended right before I needed to catch my train home. The message light was blinking on my phone. I quickly punched in the PIN for voicemail, and it was my sister. She sounded sooooo happy! She said, “I GET TO GO HOME! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! I GET TO GO HOME! They are releasing me now. The infection they thought was in my blood was just a cross over from the initial prick. It was nothing. Nothing is wrong with me! YEAH! I GET TO GO HOME! I love you. Talk to you later.” I know this verbatim because I think I listened to this message 739 times.

I was almost home to suburbia when Adam called me. He sounded scared. Panicked.
He said, “Where are you? I need you to come back down to the city immediately. Your sister is in ICU.”
Utterly confused, I said, “Dude, what are you talking about? She just left me a message saying she was getting released.”
He said, “No, she is in ICU. I don’t know what is going on. No one will tell me anything except she is being taken to X-Ray. She has a blood clot.”
I don’t understand. She said she was fine. All the tests came back fine??? My heart sunk.

Now, I’ve know people who have had blood clots before. I know they are nothing to mess with, but usually that means some heprin and observation. I guess when I think of a blood clot, I think like the size of a quarter, right? I panicked and got off my train immediately…2 stops too early. I called the boy and told him I need him to come get me and take me to the city. He kept asking me why I got off where I did, and I just kept saying, “I don’t know, I panicked! Just come get me! I need to get back downtown!” I called my 2 best friends. Kristin was the first to pick up. She told me how her older brother had one in his arm and not to worry.

5PM rush hour traffic in Chicago could not have been heavier that day. I think I could have crawled on my hands and knees faster. We inched towards the city and finally arrived at Northwestern Hospital. I looked up at the building and thought to myself, “Your sister is in there somewhere, and she is going to be okay.” I was told to go to the Galter Pavilion and check in at the front desk. They’d be expecting me and would escort me upstairs. That seemed weird, but then again, so did everything at this point. How would they know who I was, and why were they expecting me? Just how bad was this situation.

A very nice woman was there within seconds, introduced herself (which went in one ear and out the other) and said come with me. We went up the elevator. She explained my sister had a blood clot, and they had taken her to x-ray (this to me meant she was awake and coherent, right?). This woman was wearing purple scrubs and was talking a lot of doctor mumbo jumbo. I finally looked at her and said, “Okay. Well, it’s not like she’s going to die, is it?” She gave me a look of bewilderment like didn’t you just hear the words coming out of my mouth. Her face was grave. She just looked down and kinda shook her head. Apparently only the boy noticed that her name tag read “CHAPLAIN”.

She walked us into a little room (by the way, if you are ever unfortunate enough to be in such a situation, you NEVER want to be escorted to the little room…it’s a sucky room where you hear really sucky information). Adam was already there seated on a small sofa. He had his hands in his head and a young woman doctor was holding him, crying. All I could make out thru the sobbing was “I’m sorry. I’m so, so, so, so sorry! I didn’t know!” Little did I realize, this was the doctor who had been caring for her the last 4 days.

My sister’s surgeon had also just arrived, and he asked me to sit down. He rolled one of those low office doctor chairs over to face me and pushed up his sleeves. He looked right and me and started moving his lips, but couldn’t process anything. He kept saying, “Do you understand?” I nodded. I tried concentrating harder, but it was like I was having this out of body experience. He said something about signing documents for approvals of this and that. I nodded. The young woman doctor next to Adam was now crying harder. I stared at them, but suddenly remembered this surgeon sitting on front of me and his words began to sink in. He was holding his hands out like he was holding a large watermelon saying, “You’re sister had 2 massive, MASSIVE blood clots in her lungs. We gave her clot busters to destroy them. We are unsure of how long she was lying there. She was found blue and unresponsive. She was taken to x-ray to scan for more clots, but in the elevator she coded again and again. I’m terribly sorry. She is still alive and we are trying everything we can to save her. They are cleaning her up now and you can see her in a few minutes. You need to call your parents and ask them to come back down.”

I had just learned that my one and only sister had collapsed of a double pulmonary embolism. She was alone in her room with her discharge papers in her hands. They had said she was fine.

I didn’t even know where to begin. He left the room. I looked at the young woman doctor sitting next to Adam. She had finally stopped sobbing and was sitting on the sofa across from me, staring at me sheepishly. We were still in the little room. I was angry. I had no idea who she was and this sad little soul was going to be the recipient of my wrath right now, this very instance. “HOW DARE YOU!” I screamed. “How dare you be so rude when someone who has no clue as to what is happening to their sister acts the way you are acting! GET OUT! I don’t know who you are, but get the hell out of this room! NOW!”

It was me, the boy and Adam alone in the little room sitting in a giant mess. What were we going to do? My mom and dad were getting ready for a party back home. A party with their closest friends who all had kids who were my closest friends. Everyone was going to know within seconds. I had to call my parents and tell them their baby might die tonight. And that is exactly what I did. I kept apologizing, saying I was so sorry I had to tell them this news. This wasn’t suppose to happen.

The surgeon returned to the room. He said she was ready if we wanted to see her. I nodded, got up and suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of sickness. I asked for the nearest bathroom and thank god it was only around the corner. I got sick. I washed my hands 12 times because I didn’t want to get my little sister any sicker then she already was. Dumb, yes, but this is where my head was at. I splashed some water on my pale white face and gained whatever composure I could muster. I walked back out and said I was ready, walked around the curtain and there she was. I took a deep breath. She didn’t look like herself. I walked to her bedside. She was pale. Her face and her body were very puffy. She had a tube in her mouth and it was taped shut, but this tip of her tongue was sticking out. I wanted to push it back in. It looked dry. She had a tube in the side of her neck and a tiny speck of blood by her ear…I wondered why. I pushed the hair out of her face…it was so soft, but her face was very, very cold. Her eyes were shut. She was resting. She didn’t look like she was in pain.

There were so many tubes running to various beeping machinery, bags of fluid, under her blanket and into her body. A nurse was placing this weird mylar blanket under her hospital blankets. I peeked underneath. I don’t know who was standing next to me or what happened next. I know I told her she needed to pull through all of this, and if anyone was strong enough to do it, it was her. I carefully held her hand as to not move any tubing or harm her. It was cold and lifeless. I’m not sure how long I stood there, but eventually I turned around. I had tears streaming down my face. There was a large team of people in white coats staring at me. I noticed blood on a few of them. I assumed them to be the ones who tried to save her. I looked at one with pleading eyes and quietly whispered, “Please, just fix her. She’s my only sister.”  They all stared at me while I walked back to the room. I turned the corner and put my head down. This was not good.

After I saw her I knew my parents had to get to the city immediately, but when I called, they hadn’t even left the house. I tried to convey the urgency…didn’t they understand how bad this was? This was no time to pick out outfits! Get in a car and start DRIVING! NOW! It wasn’t until afterwards that they told me they already knew she was going to die. In fact, they didn’t even think to rush. It was too late. They knew there was nothing they could do. I don’t know what went on in that house after I hung up the phone. Now that I have children of my own, I can’t even imagine. But it seemed like forever before they embarked on the longest 3 hour drive to Chicago.

We took turns standing by her bedside. I tried to give Adam space but didn’t want to leave her. I can remember sitting in a chair, Adam next to her holding her hand and 2 doctors walked in. They lifted an eyelid and shined a flashlight. They did it to the other side. They looked at each other and shook their heads. No one could tell us how long she was unresponsive. All we were told is that they found her. What does that even mean? They found her? A nurse changed one of the various bags of fluid dripping into my sister.

After what seemed like an eternity, mom and dad arrived. I watched them absorb the room, the bags, the tubes, their daughter. It was awful. I think by this time my brain had turned to auto pilot. I looked at them, hugged them, told them I was sorry, and said something trite about a parent not having to go through this with their daughter. You know those things that people say to each other in movies when trying to console? I could hear the woman in the room next to us yelling that she was in pain. A nurse changed another bag. I finally noticed a table set up near the bed. It must have had 30 bags of various fluids on it. As soon as one was filled, another was empty.

My phone started buzzing like crazy. People wanted to know what was happening. My friends, her friends, my parents friends. Did they make it yet? How was my sister? Any news? Both Kristin and Weslee called…my 2 best friends since childhood. They said they were coming down. I said no. It was a 3 hour long drive and they both had young children. Please don’t come down. There is nothing you can do. You have families you need to be with.

Now, I’m normally not a church going person, but I suddenly had this overwhelming urge to locate the hospital chapel. The boy went with me. It had this overwhelming beautiful room. Stain glass to the ceiling. I felt small as I sat in the wooden pew. We were alone. I prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed quietly. I prayed out loud. I asked God to take me instead. I explained to him that out of the 2 of us, she was the nicer one. She was the better person. I was the bitchy one. Take me…please God. Why is this happening to our family? Just let her be okay…please?

We went back to ICU. I tried to get some sleep in that small room. I laid down on the floor. A nurse handed me a pillow. I closed my eyes. Suddenly, over the speakers came a voice yelling, “Code blue! Code blue!” A team of doctors ran the opposite direction from my sister’s room. Not her, someone else, thank God, please be okay random person, go back to sleep. I lay there listening to my heart pound from the excitement that just happened and saw a red feather on the pillow. A big fluffy one like from a feather boa…it was bright spankin’ red. I thought it was weird and flicked it away…closed my eyes. It must have been about 4AM when I woke again. This time, a black feather was on my pillow. Again, I didn’t think much about it, got up and walked to her room. Around the corner I saw my dad holding her hand. He was humming, “It’s a Small World” to her.

See, they had taken us to Disneyland when we were small. My sister loved the “It’s a Small World” ride. I liked “Pirates of the Caribbean”. My parents split us up…me with my mom riding Pirates, my dad with my sister riding Small World. They said they must have taken us through 20 times that day. Over and over and over again. I started to help him sing. Tears were in his eyes.

The boy had driven back home to sleep since the little room was quite crowded. Upon his return, he walked into my sister’s room and told me how he just kept looking at all the cars sitting in traffic. Thousands of people sitting on the Kennedy driving to their mindless jobs, singing to random songs on the radio. None of them had any idea of the pain that was ripping our hearts apart. None of them knew the grave condition of my sister and the seriousness of our situation. Today was just like any other day. I still think of his comment to me as I sit in traffic. What if the person next to me is having this sort of day?

The night shift doctor walked into the room. He wanted to speak to the family. We were escorted to a much larger room this time. A conference room table in the center with an overhead projector and pull down screen. Okay, he has a plan. He knows how to fix this. But the projector was off. He started out by recapping everything we’d already known. He said, “This is not going to get any better. We have done everything we can. There are no signs of life…there have been no improvements. She is being kept alive by bags and machines. You need to decide how long you want to continue this process. Her organs have started to shut down.” The news did not come as a shock, but reality had set in. A decision needed to be made. The doctor looked at my dad. I’m not sure why, by my father referred the question to me.

I asked, “So there is no way she is going to wake up?”
He replied “No, I don’t think so.”
“If this was your sister, what would you do, knowing what you know?”
“I’d let her go. Even if she did wake up, this state of life would be unbearable. We do not know how long her brain was deprived of oxygen.”
“My decision is let her go, but only if everyone else agrees. If anyone disagrees, you will keep caring for her.”

We went around the table, one by one. Everyone agreed. It was time. They said once they removed everything, they were unsure how long the process of complete organ shut down would take. We knew that they had a group analyze her body since she was an organ donor. At least something of hers could live on. Help someone else out, but nothing could be saved. Every organ, even her eyes, were too damaged by the trauma she had suffered. It solidified our decision.

We waited for her to pass. Kristin and Weslee, my 2 best friends since childhood, drove the 3 hours down to Chicago to be with me. To support me in this shitty situation. They didn’t listen to me when I asked them to stay home. I was glad they didn’t. When the time finally came, we were called into her room. We all held hands and the Chaplains (they same from the day before and a new one) said some kind words and a few prayers. They stated time of death. We said one last goodbye and that was it. One last breath and Adam holding her hand, she was gone.

The boy drove me home from the hospital. I felt guilty for being somewhat relieved that part was over. I knew I had a long road of pain ahead of me, but the unknown was now very much reality. On the Kennedy in front of IKEA my phone started to buzz and a white feather danced in front of my face. The air conditioning blowing it around and around. I tried to catch it, but couldn’t. I put that call to voicemail. I didn’t want to talk to anyone.

I relived that night over and over. I had seen too much and that vision of her lying in her hospital bed with that tiny speck of blood on her ear was engrained in my head. I didn’t sleep for months. I just lay there wide awake because if I closed my eyes, I could see her…lying there…helpless. I was guilt ridden for not visiting her one last time. How could I have been too busy? Really? Too busy?

I’ve only had one dream that I can remember where she appeared to me. It was vivid. The most vivid dream I’ve ever had. It was short. I woke up immediately afterwards. She was helped into a room by someone else I knew; her arm slung over their shoulder. I was sitting on a sofa, and she stood in front of me. She had beams of light radiating from her body. I squinted. It was almost so bright I could hardly look at her…like trying to stare into the sky on a sunny day. I hugged her hard and asked her why she left me. Why did she go? She smiled and said, “I had to. I did it for you.” I told her I didn’t understand, but she said she had to say goodbye. She was helped out of the home I was sitting in. That was the first and only time she came to me. Every night I ask her to come back. If she has, I do not remember.

The person who phoned me in the car…well, he phoned me again shortly after I returned to work. It was a couple weeks after my sister passed. He had heard the news and told me about his dad’s passing. He said, “My sister would find feathers lying about the house. She kept them in a jar on her mantle.” To this day, I still find white feathers. Sometimes they are stuck to my son’s pajamas or in my daughter’s hair when they wake. The boy vacuumed the entire house and found one on top of the vacuum cleaner after he turned around. I find them on the train. On my walk to the station. In my car. If you’ve noticed my logo, you’ll see it. It maybe just coincidence, but these little white feathers give me comfort. Knowing she is all around me. Every day, every minute of my life.

 

lakeside remix — family & dining room

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My dear friend Laura over at Avery Street Design and i have collaborated before. Well, we decided to do it again, but this time Grace from The Big Reveal and Summer from Simple Stylings joined in the fun! A while back, Laura wrote a post about *needing* to own a lake house because she had too many mugs…I said I’d move in as well since I had too many chairs (I like to save them).

Anyhoo, Laura was reminiscing about a small cottage in Lakeside, Ohio her family rented when she was young. Super cute with tons of potential, but I mean, it’s a lake house someone rents out…it’s going to look a tad bit worn for wear…a tad bit out of date. One day she looked it up on the good old internets and there it was, just as she remembered it and thought to herself, this place needs a makeover. See, Laura does this thing where she walks into a space, empties the room in her head and fills it back up with fabby decor.

She got this grandiose idea to redecorate her old lakeside cottage, but timing, kids, summer, life in general, it was just too much. This is where Grace, Summer and I enter the picture. Laura thought, wouldn’t it be fun to include a bit of House of Hipsters, Simple Stylings and The Big Reveal to this makeover? Yes! Yes it would Laura! Great idea! Suddenly, my mind started swimming with ideas.

So cruise on over to Avery Street to see how I chose to mix things up in the dining room and living room.

Lakeside Remix Collaboration

how to build a pipe shelf /// DIY

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pipe Shelf

When we embarked on the adventure of refinishing our basement, I was pregnant with little maus. Being that my office was soon to become her nursery, I knew I had to move downstairs…which meant downsizing a bit. Being a graphic designer and a hoarder collector of vintage loveliness, I needed a lot of storage space, but I also wanted a pretty sumthin’ sumthin’ to display such loveliness. Shelving was on my mind.

I first saw this pipe shelf in the Bash, Please headquarters featured in Rue Magazine. I was like, “I could totally build that!”; however, I must admit, the boy did a lot all of the work…and woo baby, it looks fabby! It was surprisingly easy to make (and under $175!), so I decided to share my directions on how to make a pipe shelf with you today.

Here’s what ‘cha gonna need:

3/4″ gas piping and fittings

Pipe:
6 – 12″
2 – 27″ (custom cut and threaded at Home Depot)

Fittings:
8 Elbows
6 Three Way Tees
4 Base Flanges

Wood:
3 – 1-3/4″ high X 13-1/2″ deep X 32″ long boards (I called ahead to a lumber yard and asked them what was the thickest board I could get and had it custom cut…all we had to do was pay for it and pick it up)

Sandpaper:
220 Grit
320 Grit (just to make sure it is smooth)

Stain:
Minwax Dark Walnut

Tools:
Tack cloth
Drill
1″ Hole Saw
Degreaser
8 Drywall Anchors (4 per side)
8 Screws
Measuring Tape

Use a drill with a 1″ round drill bit to drill the holes in the wood planks. The boy built himself a corner template to ensure everything was aligned…he’s sooooooo smart. (Hint…be sure to compliment whoever is helping you…it solidifies help in your next big project.) Clean all the grease off the pipes with degreaser. If you don’t like the rawness of the pipes, you can spray paint them. I chose not to.

Sand the wood with 220 grit and then 320 grit until it’s smooth as a baby’s butt. Take the tack cloth over the wood to remove dust. Now you are ready to stain.

Until you are Scotty Pippen, you’ll probably need a ladder at this point or at least a chair. Assemble all the pieces and you are ready to hang. As a side note, I did not screw this puppy into the floor, and I’ve never had a slipping issue.

This most difficult part of this project is figuring out the math. You need to know how tall you want it, but don’t forget to add in the height of the top piping. Once you know the height, determine how many shelves you want and the spacing. Good luck and let me know how your shelf turned out!

shops in chicago to buy unique & vintage items

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sometimes people walk through my home and say, “OMG, where on earth do you find all this stuff?”, and I never really seem to have a good answer. My response is usually, “All over I guess, you just have to have patience to find unique items.”

Recently a friend of mine was explaining to me her way of designing a room. She goes to one store, grabs a clerk and orders the vignette in its entirety. Boom. One store, out the door. “Sweet Baby Jesus!” I gasped and exclaimed, “I can’t even comprehend the words coming out of your mouth right now!” Her answer, “Isn’t that what everyone does?” E-ghads girl! Absolutely not!!!! Do you really want to walk into your girlfriend’s home for the next wine book club meeting and see YOUR living room in HER living room? Where the ONLY difference might be a different shade of beige on the walls?

I’ve finally broken down. I’m going to share with you my favorite stores…my secret stores…the exact places where I find all these unique items in my home (in no particular order). BTdubs, in most of these places you will have to brace yourself for the ironically bearded with the I’m too-cool attitude (usually not the employees…they are sweet little souls). But we are House of Hipsters…we embrace you my fellow bearded brethren. So curl up those mustaches and buckle down the chin strap. Here we go!

Jayson Home and Garden

Photo Via Jayson Home and Garden

Jayson Home & Garden: I’m going to start off with JHG mainly because it’s one of my favorites. Everything item in this store is beautiful. Period. They are unique, edgy and elegant all wrapped up with a bow on top. A shopping mecca for the interior designer. I shop here for tabletop accessories, pillows and wall decor mainly because that is all I can afford. They always have a great selection of uniques trays and boxes. I usually walk away spending a zillion dollars, but it’s worth every penny. I rarely shop the flea items here because they are way out of my price range, but they sure are purdy to look at!

Brimfield

Photo Via livecreatingyourself.com

Brimfield Chicago: One of my favorite stores in the city for found objects. It’s also on Clark Street in Andersonville so you know it must be oozing with cool. It’s gloriously curated and the displays are incredibly clever. I feel like I’m in some chichi fishing lodge in the northwoods…very rustic. It is difficult to shop here if you are looking for something specific, but if you are “just browsing”, you’ll walk out with an arm load of unique goodies.

Scout Chicago

Photo Via ScoutChicago.com

Scout: This is one of those places that if you see it and like it, buy it immediately or at least bring it up to the cash register. Do notwalk away from it, not even for a second, or it’ll be gone in a flash. Everything has this very unique industrial flair. Cheap? Nope, but you have to understand that Scout is part gallery and part vintage finds. This is not your average thrift store. Here you’ll find tables, desks and shelving. Sometimes you’ll find a sofa and maybe some chairs. Very clean lines, very utilitarian. Larry Vodak takes the simple and unadorned and makes them feel interesting and sophisticated again. Scout may be a small retail space, but don’t let that fool you…it packs a power punch of awesome.

White Attic

Photo Via Refinery29.com

White Attic: Besides The Lamp Bar (which I’m sorry, but how cool is a build your own lamp?), White Attic specializes in bedroom furniture. Nightstands, highboys, credenzas and dressers…they list their inventory on Facebook so you can pre-shop (and purchase if you call). Everything is vintage mid century but refurbed and by refurbed I mean it’s usually painted. Now before all the haters come raining on my parade screaming, “don’t paint the wood”, I must tell you this furniture is beautious! They save pieces and make them look brand spankin’ new, not your slap some paint on it and flip it kinda store. No sir-e-bob. There is some serious love and effort put into each piece, and it’s worth every penny. They have a couple signature looks, one is teal insides on the drawers, another is a beautiful vibrant orange. They also deliver, and I can say it was hands down some of the best service I’d ever received.

An Orange Moon

Photo Via An Orange Moon

An Orange Moon: Okay, I have to start out by saying Lynne, the owner, is one of the most delightful and genuine people I know, and her taste is impeccable. You’ll find incredible pricing on pieces by Adrian Pearsall, Jens Risom and Milo Baughman. Because she also runs estates sales in and around the city, her inventory is always new and fresh. Nothing sits for too long. If you’re into mid century modern furniture, An Orange Moon is THE place to shop…and if you’re dressed all swanky and hipster-like, you may even wind up on her Facebook page.

Brownstone Antiques

Photo Via Apartment Therapy

Brownstone Antiques: A treasure trove of deals and steals to be found here folks! Unlike Brimfield, you’ll need to be in the mood to dig here. Be prepared to get dirty. I actually think I’d consider this more of a thrift store rather then an antique store; however, I must add that they do have items just as nice as White Attic and Scout, you just might have to put some muscle into shining them up yourself. You also might find other local shop owners picking by your side…ya, it’s that good.

Found. Vintage Living

Photo Via ChicagoRedesign.com

Found. Vintage Living: I swear I will tell you about places outside of Andersonville, but this neighborhood is THE shit for mid century modern finds. Found is a small but fun shop. This is one place I’ve found where the employees will offer some styling and design advise. Do bring in pictures of your room. They also list their inventory on Facebook so you can pre-shop — a very helpful perk when you have small children like me. A good amount of furniture and lamps with affordable pricing.

The Broadway Anique Market BAM

Photo Via Joseph Dennis

Broadway Antique Market: And we’ve made it to the Edgewater neighborhood! See, I told you I’d get us out of Andersonville. The Broadway Antique Market is huge. It’s one of those places that is full of booths and nooks where individual sellers can set up vignettes. You’ll find vintage cameras, globes, vases, ashtrays, old photos, maybe a pinball machine or two…I also tend to giggle in the aisle of “old porn”. Don’t forget to go upstairs. They have a nice selection of  MCM furniture. It’s chocked full of unique items top to bottom.

Modern Cooperative

Photo Via refinedhaystack.com

Modern Cooperative: Welcome to Pilsen! This is another one of my favorite haunts…this place makes my heart swoon. If you are a dude, you may think it’s a bit on the girly side and even I will admit, the vignettes are more feminine. But, I think that’s a refreshing way to see mid century…a softer edge of the clean line with a side of macrame. It’s a great place for furniture AND accessories and you’ll get a ton of design and styling ideas.

The Randolph Street Flea Market

Photo Via thenewcolonist.com

Chicago Antique Market Randolph Street Flea: Do not expect Kane County Flea when you walk through these gates. This is a small flea held in a parking lot (they do have a side building with potties and air conditioning), but it is A-MAZING! This flea is quality over quantity. No tube sock vendors will be found here (not that there is anything wrong with that…no hating on me.) You may find a food truck or two and a live band. This is a place I can usually bring my kids without having total and utter meltdowns within 5 mins. Randolf Street Flea is an outdoor (although you can find some relief indoors from the hot summer sun) urban antique market located in the West Loop where you’ll find furnishings, jewelry and other collectibles. This event takes place the last weekend of each month and you WILL find parking.

The Vintage Garage Chicago

Photo Via chi-spy.com

Vintage Garage: This is a flea that takes place in an empty 6 story covered parking garage April – October in the Uptown neighborhood. They theme each event so be sure to go when they focus in on your favorite treasures for the best selection. I learned that the hard way when I missed Mid Century and attended Rockabilly and Tiki. Although Rockabilly is adorable…it’s a bit too kitsch for my home. You can find street parking but it’s not easy. I suggest taking the Red Line or the bus. You are bound to find something here and for only a $5 entrance fee, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, the people watching is spectacular here.

Humboldt House

Photo Via Chairish.com

Humboldt House: An eclectic vintage bohemian mid century modern dream come true! Vintage textiles (one of the best sources for vintage kilim pillows and rugs in the city), barware, ceramics, taxidermy and vintage modern furnishings all reasonably priced. The owner, Claire Tibbs, also showcases a few hand selected local artisans for her jewelry and ceramic displays. Check their Instagram and Facebook to stream the newest pieces that are added daily.

Yearbook Studio

Photo Via Yearbook Studio

Yearbook: Venture out of the city a bit to Forest Park, and you’ll find this lovely academic bent gem of a store. Think rulers, globes, pennants and rugby…very collegiate and full of nostalgia. I feel like I’m in the movie The Dead Poet Society. Very Princeston prepster on a cold winter evening, but you’re all warmed up with hot cocoa (with a secret shot of Makers Mark) and a Pendelton wool blankie by your side. But, be prepared to fall in love with merch that is just not for sale. See, you have to understand that Yearbook is also a design studio…walk in knowing it’s somewhat of a gallery as well as a storefront. The owners are creating an ambiance for their guest. Be sure to check out their front window. Last winter they teamed up with my buddy Anthony to create a 1930s trailer in the snow. One of the best window installations I’ve ever seen!

District Chicago

A sofa Chris reupholstered in one of his client’s homes

District Chicago: When I first started shopping District, Chris did not have a retail space. Instead, he ran his storefront behind a blog. And if you didn’t watch his feed like a hawk, you’d miss out on serious vintage goodness. He sees such potential in run down mid century modern furniture…I honestly don’t know how he takes these thrift store, garage sale, sad pieces of furniture sitting in an alley and gives them new life. He truly has a gift. A good portion of the furniture is painted, but again for those who hate on painted vintage treasures please note: these are pieces that may not get another chance at life. Chris turns them into masterpieces. District is only open on Saturdays and weekdays by appointment only. They also deliver for a nominal fee (even to the suburbs if you ask pretty please with a cherry on top).

Salvage One

Photo Via Jeremy Lawson Photography

Salvage One: I’ve been shopping here for years. There’s really no signage for this place, so know where you’re going, or you’ll miss the small door on the industrial cement building. Once you walk in, you will notice stained glass windows lining the walls, ornate chandeliers hung from the ceiling and mismatched pews. Yep, this place is not only a great spot for vintage finds, but it’s also one of the hippest places in Chicago to get hitched. What you’ll find here are salvaged pieces from historic buildings slated to be torn down, many from Chicago. They have an entire section dedicated to just doors and another dedicated to door knobs. I found my vintage high school doors for my basement here amongst many other treasures. Remember as a kid you really wanted beaded curtains instead of a door? They have it, but it’s made from old film strips. 3 floors in all make up this warehouse of awesome. I’ve been dying to attend a wedding there…PLEASE SOMEONE I KNOW GET MARRIED AT SALAVE ONE AND INVITE ME!

Inside Home Chicago

Photo Via Inside Home

Inside Home: This little storefront in the Ukranian Village is stunning. Look here first and you probably won’t have to look elsewhere. An added plus, the owners are also interior designers so you know the vignettes are going to be nothing but on trend…plus they carry fabric and wallpaper. It’s a great mix of new and vintage pieces that are tastefully curated and surprisingly affordable. They specialize in Mid Century and Hollywood Regency and just plain awesomeness.

The Shade Store

Photo Via The Shade Store

The Shade Store: A custom window treatment retail store located in the Merchandise Mart available to the public. Blinds, shades and drapes…AWESOME! These guys are fabby to work with. Completely professional and no pushy sales people walking the floor. They are literally there to help you. After we bought our home, I requested their catalog…it was helpful, but I still had a lot of questions. It was hard to narrow down exactly what I wanted. The boy and I wound up walking into the Merch one night after work (because he had to pee, Bavettes had another few minutes to open and it was FREEZING outside) and I was like, “OMG! They have a Shade Store!!!!!!!!” jumping up and down, clapping my hands wildly. Meanwhile, he was all like, “Woah, hey there buckshot. Let’s put the crazy aside.” All silliness aside, if you’re looking for window treatments go to The Shade Store. They have everything: ripple fold, tailor pleat, pinch pleat, inverted pleat, roller blinds, wooden blinds…well, you get the picture.

Now you know it all. Well, I might have held a few back because a girl’s gotta have a few secrets. But, I highly doubt they will ever run out of vintage, am I right? So why not share! And when it comes to being a small mom and pop shop, getting the word out can be hard. These stores are part of a community and we all need to support them. So share this page with your friends!

 

freebies — printables

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like free stuff, do you? Well, House of Hipsters decided to design a few printable quotes especially for you my little kittens! A couple lovely little 5 X 7s with a few of our favorite quotes for you to do with as you wish.

All you have to do is:
1. Pick which quote you like (or pick them all because they’re awesome).
2. Click on the link below to download (or on the quote itself because I like to make things easy on ya!).
3. Right click with your mouse to save the image to your desktop or downloads folder.
4. I made them 5 X 7 and gave you crop marks.
5. Print at 100% on 8-1/2″ X 11″ (for best results, take them to FedEx Kinkos and have them print them for you).
6. Use a ruler and an X-ACTO to trim along crop marks.
7. Pin to bulletin board, mail them as a postcard, or if you’re extra fancy, place one in a frame.
8. Easy peasy. Enjoy!

Which one is your favorite? Do you have a favorite quote? Let us know, maybe we’ll design it!

 

Shake It Off Free Printable Quote

someone was listening to some Taylor Swift today I think

Free Printable Quote

I saw this quote on a shirt at Lollapolooza and had to text it to myself…OMG, words to live by

Free Printable Quote

OK, so this one is not so safe for work, but it makes me giggle.

Free Printable Quote

Think this every morning.

DOWNLOAD THEM FOR FREE BELOW (or just click on the picture, it will take you to the high resolution image too). Right click with your mouse to save the image to your desktop or downloads folder.

download SHAKE IT OFF High Res JPG with cropmarks

download ALL DAY ROSE High Res JPG with cropmarks

download JUST BE YOU High Res JPG with cropmarks

download BE A VOICE High Res JPG with cropmarks

 

last days of summer

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OMG! Summer is almost over! With Labor Day weekend quickly approaching, I’m in sudden panic mode. The dude is about to wrap up his days as a daycare toddler and enter full-time preschool. I haven’t nearly flea marketed enough. I need to sit on the back patio more often and relax by the fire. And most importantly, I really need to get to the beach. Lucky for me, I have an entire beach weekend slowly approaching (it can’t come soon enough) to Camp Wandawega. The boy and I rented a cabin, just the two of us to unplug and unwind. And yes, a trip to the Elkhorn Flea will be in order. I’m hoping to make fast friends with Tereasa Surratt and learn her wily ways to becoming one serious flea market professional. To make matters worse, right now Amanda Jane Jones is blowing up my Instagram with her week long stay at Camp Wandawega. Tick tock, tick tock! I’m quite impatient.

Amanda Jane Jones stays at Camp Wandawega

Photo by Amanda Jane Jones

But until my special weekend comes, I’m packing my beach bag in my head. Here are my 11 shore-side must haves for the end of my lazy summer days.

beach ready tote bag

1   ///   2   ///   3   ///   4   ///   5   ///   6   ///   7   ///   8   ///   9   ///   10   ///   11

 

let’s follow each other on pinterest

Monday, August 18, 2014

You’re on Pinterest. I’m on Pinterest. So, why don’t we follow each other on Pinterest?

Leave a link to your profile in the comments section. I’ll follow you if you follow me…what do you say?

my pinterest profile

 

i make emily henderson cry

Saturday, August 16, 2014

So, I’ve decided to start a series called, “How I Make Emily Henderson Cry”. If that name is completely irrelevant to you, just know she is my girl crush an HGTV star who I idolize. If you read my to-do list, you know that there are many areas in my home that aren’t perfect. Yes, there are nooks of perfection, but there are also nooks of complete and utter disaster. It’s real and it’s normal and for some reason photographing it and making it public gives me purpose to give it a makeover. But, until these poor unfortunate spaces gets redesigned, I know somewhere in Hollywood, Emily Henderson is crying. She may not know why. Maybe she’s chalking it up to a mood swing…leftover hormones from her pregnancy. Maybe she thinks she is sad because she didn’t buy that perfect MCM lamp at the Rose Bowl flea, or she forgot the booth number where she purchased that white vessel for her oh so perfect florals. Oh no sweet kitten, you cry because of my nooks of disaster.

The first in this new series that I’d like to share with you is my bedroom…not really a nook per-say. Ya, the entire room is sad, but today I’d like to focus on the bed nook, the non-existent headboard, and nightstands. And let me tell you that nightstand  is prolly her biggest disappointment. See, I was actually in her top 15 of of Nightstand Styling Contest winners! If you clicked on that link, I was #13. Well, that nightstand stayed like that for approximately 2.5 seconds, and then it became real again. So here it is in all it’s glory..the bed that makes Emily Henderson cry sweet salty tears of saddness.

this makes emily henderson cry

Don’t get me wrong. The potential is there. We have the Dwell Draper bedding, pillows by Dwell, a small herd of antlered animals (that the boy insists he will impale himself on someday) from Z.Gallerie and pretty white lamps. But that’s where the fun stops. Not really an inviting place to sleep if you ask me.

So what am I going to do about this? Well my friend, THAT is a very good question. Buying all new furniture is not really in the cards right now, so I think I have to attack this the same way I attacked the mantle restyle. I need to think small on this project which is oooooooohhhh so hard for me to do. I have existing blinds but need some drapes to soften the space. Maybe I can find some MCM nightstands at the flea market or estate sale them? I’d like to find some small artwork to hang above each nightstand (or at least casually prop against the wall). Maybe add a plant? A couple brass objects? A peony or two?

Well, now you’ve seen my challenge. My goal is to make Emily smile again. She’s such a perky little cutie patootie; I hate to bring her down like this. So Emily, my sweet girl crush, challenge accepted!

Check back for my mood board and thoughts on how to fix this monstrosity (hopefully I will have something together in a week or less). And if you have any ideas, please write them in the comments below! Plus, comments make me smile!

20 Fall Essentials — Fashion and Product Haul

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fall Essentials - Fashion and Product Haul Must Haves

Hello darlings! Do you ever find the perfect jeans or lipstick and just want to tell that world about it? Or did you ever buy a shirt and think, “well that was disappointing” and two days later your co-worker was like, “oh i so could have told you that shirt sucked.” Well, I’ve try it out so you don’t have to! Kinda like a personal virtual shopper! For today’s post I’ve decided to share with you my tried and true purchases that I just can’t live without. My go-tos, my essentials.

1. CLARISONIC: My skin has not looked better since i started using the Clarisonic. Even the boy uses it daily. It gives you this awesome glow, and I feel like my wrinkles aren’t a deep as they use to be. They are a bit spendy, but the juice is worth the squeeze ($10 if you can tell me what movie that is from). It manages to get all the yuck off that a washcloth alone can’t.

2. EBERJEY PJs: Otherwise known as the best PJs on the planet. Seriously, so  soft to the touch, a classic look, and a lil bit of sexy is thrown into the mix here ladies…and they look amazing on to boot. Do yourself (and your significant other) a favor and go buy them now. You deserve to sleep in something other then that old crappy t-shirt from college.

3. PERFECT WHITE T-SHIRT: Daftbird makes the perfect white tee. So many t-shirts out there have this boxy look, and I don’t know about you, but that look does nothing for me. This one has a great figure-hugging silhouette. I like to pair mine with denim jeans and a long gold chain necklace…a classic, simple look for any season.

4. CURRENT ELLIOT BROKEN-IN T-SHIRT: I wore this t-shirt to the PHOX concert last Saturday night and paired it with camo cutoffs from Madewell and navy Vans from Imogene and Willie. My girlfriends had on these cute maxi dresses, but comfy and casual was the name of the game for me that evening. This tee also has fun detailing that looks like moth holes, giving it that super worn in look. LOVE! (I also wore a neon pink bra under…the holes helped it peek-a-boo though…super cute.)

5: THE PERFECT BUTTON DOWN: A lightweight gingham button down is a necessity for any closet. I like to pair mine untucked (or just one side tucked) and peeking out from under a navy lightweight sweater (speaking of which, I lost mine, and I’m hoping J.Crew will bring back the Tippi sweater or I will be screwed this fall), layered under a mustard cardigan and belted at the waist with that braided lovely below. A seriously striking outfit with a distressed skinny or a dark wash wide leg. This is one of my favorite outfits. It’s kinda prepster slash hipster.

6: MOTHER JEANS: Anyone I’ve ever spoken to who wears MOTHER denim has screamed in my face with glee, “OMG!!!! BEST JEANS EVER!!!!”, and they’re right. The Runway Skinny Flares combine every aspect of what you love in skinny jeans and flares…hence the name…who knew they could do that! These have soft whiskering and heavy distressing. MOTHERs are my go to jeans; they fit well and keep their shape.

Fall Essentials - Fashion and Product Haul Must Haves

7. NAVY AND WHITE STRIPED SWEATER: I’m a sucker for navy and white stripes. I can’t walk past a store window displaying something navy and white stripes without stopping to try it on and probably purchasing. This new arrival for fall by Saint James for J.Crew is a winner in my book. Top it off with a few layered gold necklaces and short red nails; ya, I’m out the door.

8. THE ONLY BELT YOU NEED: I like this belt  by B-Low because it handles my weight fluctuations. The braid allows you to loosen or tighten as much as you want and not be committed to a hole. It helps that the color is also the perfect shade of brown.

9. THE PERFECT BACKPACK: Did you read my backpack round up? If not and you’re searching for one, please go read it STAT. If you read it, you’ve probably been dying to know which bag I chose…because THAT is important…the Madewell Transport Rucksack! This last month it’s been takin’ quite the beating to and from the train. No complaints here and a ton-o-compliments!

Fall Essentials - Fashion and Product Haul Must Haves

1o. & 11. FUN HAIR ACCESSORIES: Ban.do’s hair accessories really pack one heck of a colorful punch to the face. And how could they not? The entire company is all about disco balls, confetti canons, patterns and lots of sparkle. Every single time i step out in Ban.do, i get like a zillion compliments. Be prepared to hear, “OMG! Where is that from?” It will happen.

12. THE PERFECT SKIRT: Clutch the pearls I love this unexpected (for me) piece ,and being that I have an upcoming wedding to attend, this skirt is gonna look just fabby! When it comes to florals, I like to keep it simple. This skirt will be paired with a cropped white sleeveless top from Alice and Olivia, and I’m think a simple pair of patent black pumps (the heels have black and white stripes…a-mazing). However, this can also be toned down for work by tying a denim shirt at the waist and popping on a pair of black sandals…maybe even Birkenstocks? If my sister-in-law is reading this, she just crinkled up her nose at me and is shaking her head no.

Fall Essentials - Fashion and Product Haul Must Haves

I’m going to start off the product section by admitting this: Hello, my name is Kyla, and I am a product whore.” I can’t help myself…if a brand tells me it’s going to hold, plump, thicken, smooth, lengthen, condition…you get the picture…well, its got me hooked. These are a few of my favorite must haves.

13. THE PERFECT MASCARA: I love it when Sephora sends me those little samplers of mascara when I order from them. It makes it so much more easier to test them out…because how gross would it be to use one of the testers at the store? Hello! Pink eye! Barf! At the moment this one by Benefits Cosmetics seems to be a favorite. It gives my lashes a really thick, bold, bushy look minus the yucky clumping. The brush has plastic bristles that grab onto even the babiest of lashes. I don’t leave the house without putting on my face. Another that I’m quite find of is TARTE’s Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1. Both of these also lengthen and condition lashes.

14. PERFECT RED POLISH: Short red nails are one of my favorites year round but especially for fall. Butter Come to Bed Red is one of my favorite shades. I first tried it at the Ritz Carlton during my spa day in Maui. It reflects a mood somewhere between quirky and seductive. Yes, I’m also partial to the dark purples and navy blues that are oh so on trend these days, but I just have to be in a mood for them…and unless I recently spray tanned, it makes me sometimes feel too gothy.

15. SUPER SOFT LIPS: This lip scrub is the bomb diggety. Apply with a q-tip to lessen the mess and gently rub it into your lips as needed. It smells (and tastes…I know, kinda gross, but it has real sugar in it!) so good. Wipe off with a tissue to leave your lips kissably soft.

16. FLAWLESS SKIN: This foundation was suggested to me by a Sephora consultant. Normally I don’t ask, I just try, but this lucky chance was a winner winner chicken dinner. I always apply my foundation with a makeup brush so it needs to be lightweight. (BTdubs, by using a brush, it gives you a more airbrushed look. I use this one.) This liquid foundation doesn’t melt or make my face feel super oily over the course of the day.

17. BAD HAIR DAY FIX: I’m the queen of dry shampoos. I think I’ve tried them all…sprays and powders. This one takes the cake and only beats out Salon Grafix because of the smell…apparently their fragrance is developed in the same labs as Tom Ford *le sigh*…it smells divine! Oribe also trumps all others by not leaving that white residue which I loathe. I don’t just use this on my no-wash hair day though…no sir! I have super fine, thin, limp hair even after a blowout. Tease the roots, spray it in and let it dry for added volume and staying power. It with hold your style all day long.

Fall Essentials - Fashion and Product Haul Must Haves

18. THE PERFECT BOOT: The slouch on this boot is awesome, but beware…the slouch really can be more floppy then what it looks like in the photo. If you want it like the photo, be prepared to futz with the straps all day long. The suede is very soft which doesn’t give the cuff or straps a lot of support. Now, if you are okay with the rumpled look, then these are the boots for you. They are not quite grey, not quite brown sorta heather look which goes with anything…added benefit.

19. TRANSITIONAL SANDAL: So have you been seeing sandals with socks like I have? These Swedish Hasbeens look great barefoot or paired with a cute ankle sock (I think my sister-in-law just crinkled her nose again). I’m searching for a pair with ruffles…they WILL look fabby! Also, these are on sale at Shopbop for 40% off…what are you waiting for?

20. CLASSIC SNEAKERS: You can’t go wrong with Vans. There’s a reason why every skater boy in the 80′s and 90′s wore them. I like mine without socks, but socks are necessary in cold Chicago winters, unless you like cold piggers. I like Happy Socks because they are a bit more fun and unique…to show a bit more personality with my footwear.

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