Figure out what you are good at- screw 'follow your passion'

Every time I hear the phrase 'follow your passion' I kind of want to punch that person in the face (although I am not a violent person) for two reasons: 1) Some people honestly don't know what they are passionate about and 2) I'm passionate about sleep, but I don't think I can get paid to do that. 

Ironically when I first started a business I did something I loved to do, which was sew. Then I realized that I love sewing for myself and I really didn't like sewing for other people. Could I have made it work, maybe, but at what cost. I started getting angry and resentful and so I switched gears. 

At first I thought I started selling vintage by a fortuitous chance. A friend and I stopped by an estate sale and I knew the going price for a lot of the stuff I was looking at and so I purchased a couple of things and listed them on Etsy. They all sold so I started buying more stuff. 

Yes, I love vintage and my home is full of treasures I have picked up over the years or items I inherited, but the reality is I'm super knowledgeable about it. I have been going to antique stores since I was a kid. I can tell you what was fashionable and pricey in the 80s, 90s, aughts and today. When I teach my Interior Design 101 class I give my students a list of resources and it includes a great section on shopping for vintage. I'm sharing my skills and knowledge. 

There is a fabulous vintage shop in Dekalb, IL called Cracker Jax and I worked there in my late 20s. It taught me so much about the vintage business, especially how to create beautiful displays. 

In my family DIY wasn't a label it was just simply part of our lifestyle. When I find vintage pieces that are a bit broken down and need some attention I can fix them up, give them a new life and pass them on to a new family. 

My knowledge set is what makes it possible to run the vintage side of my business. And it is a business. While being able to go shopping for new pieces definitely gives me joy, having to clean everything up, itemize and price, have a photoshoot, list everything and then find a place to store it (thankfully I now have a booth at Beehive so that has helped immensely) is a lot of work. It takes elbow grease, attention to detail and having the ability to take good pictures along with the knowledge of how to price everything. 

My point is find something you are good at, that you enjoy doing enough that you can do it all the dang time and that is your sweet spot. 

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Books, Glorious Books!

I've been challenging myself to read more, especially the piles of books that are sitting around my home longing to be read. 

It's also true confession time...I read cheesy romance novels. It is what I read before bed and it helps my brain disengage. I'm also completely jealous that my friends, who were in the same English Master's program as I was, got to take a literature class on Romance Novels. Sigh. 

This list won't include the cheesy stuff I am reading because a) I'm embarrassed and b) I read them so quickly it would be a slightly inflated list. 

Here are the books I read January of 2016.

Die Empty by Todd Henry
This has been on my pile of books to read for too long. It took me a while to get through because there were activities to do as you were reading the book. It really helped me to focus on the things I want to be doing in my life. The greatest takeaway for me was 'closing loops' or to stop doing those things that don't help you lead your best life. I'd say 4 out of 5 stars and only because the last couple of chapters weren't quite applicable to me. 

The Life of a Bowerbird by Sibella Court
This was a gift from a friend and another book that sat too long on my shelf. Its freaking beautiful and it brought out my inner magpie. It is a great book for inspiration and it gave me a daily dose of beauty, but I wouldn't recommend it as a how to design book. More of a coffee table book. For that reason I give it a 4 out of 5. 

The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
This book kind of blew my mind. Each chapter walked through the hormonal changes happening to a woman as she grows up. This book was a revelation for me. She mentions that about 10% of women have extreme hormonal shifts that can launch them into depression and even suicidal thoughts, especially around their period. That was me. I was the 10% and it wasn't until I went on birth control in my 20s that it finally evened out. It was quite frightening how wide my moods would swing. There are a couple of generalizations and it is very heteronormative but definitely worth a read and I'd give it also a 4 out of 5. 

What books have you read lately? Any good recommendations? 


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Going to the dark side

I need to repaint my office. Let me rephrase that- I've needed to repaint my office for almost a year now. I even have a can of paint just sitting there waiting to be used. It is white with a tint of grey. 

My office is painted this horrendous shade of beige with way too much yellow in it. In fact my whole house is this horrid shade of beige. The room also gets no natural light. I've decided to embrace the darkness and make the room cozy instead of bleh. 

I've decided that I will willingly paint the room back to beige but I can't live with it like this anymore. Plus there are holes from the previous tenant that were never patched and I added even more holes to the wall. 

The function of this room is shifting. It is going to be a combo office, guest bedroom, and tv watching room. I decided to be bold and I'm going to paint the space dark grey almost black. 

I turned to the interwebs for further inspiration/confirmation of my insane idea. There is a Benjamin Moore paint store around the corner from my house so that's where I am heading to get my paint. Therefore I focused my search on Benjamin Moore. 

Whale Grey via  Remodelista

Whale Grey via Remodelista

Caviar via  Ramsey Interiors

Caviar via Ramsey Interiors

Soot via  Design*Sponge

Soot via Design*Sponge

Deep Space via  Design*Sponge

Deep Space via Design*Sponge

Graphite via  Life In Grace

Graphite via Life In Grace

Gravel Grey via s fgirlbybay

Gravel Grey via sfgirlbybay

I kind of want them all, but I need to narrow it down. I've gone to the paint store to get samples so I'll keep you posted. 

Have you painted a room dark? 


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How to cozy up your home for fall

The nights are longer and getting colder here in Chicago. I find myself wanting to hit snooze a couple extra times in the mornings. As the weather transitions so should our homes. Here are a couple of things to do when the frost starts coating the windows.

  • Change the air filter on your furnace. Those things get nasty. Changing the filter helps with the quality of air in your house and keeps the furnace running better. 
  • Clean the house. While everyone typically thinks of spring cleaning, the changing of the seasons are a good indication that it's time to do a deeper cleaning.
  • Change your curtains. Some people have a whole different winter color scheme and they change out everything. If that makes you happy then go for it. I keep the colors the same, but I do change my light sheer curtains out for heavy lined curtains. I have energy efficient windows but you can still feel the cold through them. Drawing the curtains at night helps keep out prying eyes while keeping in the heat. 
  • Add a cozy throw to the couch. Anything from Faribault Woolen Mill Co. would do the trick. They have a ton of great blankets and it is an American company that has been in operation since 1865. 
  • Light your candles. I always have candles around the house but I feel like I save them for special occasions. Well, I'm special darn it. So, light those candles. Look for scented candles that are spicy or woodsy for the fall and winter months. Jayson Home has a great selection of candles, including Tatine candles, which are made here in Chicago. Her candles are long lasting and the scents are very natural and delightful. 
  • Cook. I find myself gravitating to the kitchen more as the weather turns. With falls bounty there are so many veggie options available to make hearty stews and soups. If you are looking for some fall recipes Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food bloggers and she even has her recipe's indexed by season. 
  • Invite people over. Now that you've cleaned the house, added some softness, lit the candles and tried some new recipes, it's time to invite people over to enjoy your revitalized space. 

Image via Claire DelMar

nd if you need help decorating your home please drop me a line at and I can come out for a consultation or we can meet up via the interwebs. 

Top image via Huffington Post

Originally published 10/22/14

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Love the project... enjoy the process

As soon as an idea for a new project comes to mind I get all excited- my smile gets bigger and people point out that I look like I am day dreaming (more than usual).

What is really happening is that my brain and well, my whole body, is getting into hyper crafting mode.  I start to see the project in my head, lists of required materials and tools start to get compared in my brain's database with the lists of materials and tools that I already posses, step by step images start developing, and oh, so much more.

For an introvert like me, working on crafts/projects is a great outlet.  It allows me to spend time thinking and creating on my own and also to share the process with others.  I enjoy exchaging ideas about crafting and although I do not always do it in person, there are other ways... other fun ways.

Joining Meandering Design which teams me up with my long time friend Kandy, has been one of those two ways, plus, I have joined the Instructables community.  The huge number of creative people in this world does not just amazes me, it inspires me!  It delights me that introverts and extroverts alike share the love for their projects and the enjoyment that the process brings about.

I know that I am not the only one daydreaming and in love.


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