Kitchen Island DIY

Kitchen island gets a cheerful facelift

Since I made the long distance move to Portland, I've been working hard to make my new apartment feel like home. This is something I've always enjoyed about moving into a new space, but I think it's particularly important when making a big transition in life. A friend found this kitchen island, which was free (yay!) but needed a little love. 

I've never delved into the world of DIY or furniture rehabbing in the past, but I have a newfound passion for it since moving here. I've got a handful of DIY projects on the horizon now (even including reupholstering my dining chairs!). This piece was the perfect starter piece because the risk of ruining it was relatively low. I'm really happy with the result! See the before below.

Kitchen island before

What DIY projects are you working on right now?

This is 40

Have you heard about Judd Apatow's new movie, This is 40? This New York Times article talked about the process and inspiration behind the movie, as well as the dynamic between Apatow and his wife, Leslie Mann, which was really intriguing. When I saw the trailer, I was excited to how many great actors will be in the movie. It's the "sort-of sequel to Knocked Up" and discusses marriage, family and work lives. What do you think? Will you go see it?

Currently Reading / Coco Chanel: The Legend, The Life

So, I totally judge a book by its cover. As a designer, can you really blame me? It has actually opened me up to books I wouldn't have known about before, so contrary to popular belief, judging a book by its cover ain't all that bad, folks.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this fascinating biography on Coco Chanel while looking for one of my yoga books for class. I'm not that far in, but what I have read I love! Over the last year or so, I'm really interested in biographies and non-fictional work and I've always wanted to learn more about Coco Chanel's glamorous life. And would you look at that cover? Simple and perfect - I can't resist a good fashion illustration.

What's on your reading list? Do you have a particular style you lean toward? I would love to know!

Enhanced by Zemanta


dancing martin munkacsi photograph Have you guys seen the documentary Happy? I found it on Netflix and decided to check it out - I highly recommend it! They present different life experiences and couple it with research by scientists in an engaging way. Certainly happiness is something that almost everyone thinks about on a regular basis - just look at all the books and movies and research centered around it!

The movie sparked some inspiration as I continue to grow and develop this blog with content that I feel proud of, that's relatable. As I begin a new chapter in my life with this yoga teacher certification program, I'm excited by all the possibilities of being able to help others in their personal journeys, whatever that may mean for an individual.

So why not bring this new aspect to the blog?

Let's talk about happiness! It would be great to hear everyone's perspective on the matter. Where I've found happiness is often in the little moments that catch you by surprise, the ones you never expect. It isn't always easy, but as I strive to be more present in the moment, reveling in the little things really helps you focus and perspective. And besides, the little everyday things happen a whole lot more than the big "milestone" moments.

So with all that, I'm trying a new column about appreciating the little things, and I hope you really enjoy it. I would love to hear what makes you happy in your everyday life, so please feel free to reach out. I want to hear your stories, what you appreciate in life, what makes you smile.

Image by Martin Munkacsi.

An Interview with the Folks of Slight Insulting Chicago Posters

downtown chicago view If you live in Chicago, you know that it's a city defined by its neighborhoods; each one has their own personality. And while each one has its merits, there seems to be a lot of room for poking fun at them too. That's where the folks of Slightly Insulting Chicago come in: Lauren, RC and Jeni have just the right chemistry together to concoct posters combining gorgeous and playful typography with some witty, lighthearted humor. I was immediately enamored with their work, and was lucky enough to chat with them about it this week. It was only fitting that we take a photo high up on top of a building, overlooking all the neighborhoods of this town!

How did the idea of Slightly Insulting posters begin?

It really start out of a random conversation. We were talking about Logan Square one day and RC made a funny comment about it, and Jeni decided to make a type poster out of it. And then we just thought it would be fun to try and come up with sayings for other neighborhoods. Then came the blog, we had a few followers, and then one day WGN (a local news channel) tweeted our blog and it really blew up from there.

uptown and south loop slightly insulting chicagoWhat kinds of projects were you working on prior to Slightly Insulting Posters?

Last November our friend Dave grew a mustache and it wasn't well received. We decided it would be fun to create a blog encouraging him to keep it. Out of that "Save Dave's 'Stache" was born. In the end, Dave shaved, but before he did we gathered photos from all over the states (and Africa!) of his friends, family and coworkers urging him to keep the mustache. That was our first group Tumblr project. RC has a website where he graphs what is and isn't cool and the three of us regularly discuss the coolness of various topics.

What is your favorite poster so far?

Lauren: My favorite is Uptown. It was fun to mix 1920s and psych ward inspiration into the design. Also, I shop at the Target in Uptown. This poster could not be closer to the truth.

RC: The Loop. Not only is it where the bulk of Chicagoans work, it's the beating heart of this city and where tourists from the suburbs and beyond walk with little regard for those around them. What an interesting and occasionally frustrating mix. The poster captures those feelings in a beautiful way.

Jeni: Pilsen. Moustaches make everything look cooler, except for people (that does not include our friend Dave. Dave looks rad with a mustache).

Describe your relationship with Chicago.

Lauren: My relationship with Chicago is a semi-new one. I moved here from Kansas a little over a year ago, and I now reside in Lincoln Park. I had little time between graduation and starting a new job in a new city, so figuring out where to live was based off of others' perceptions of each neighborhood online. I love living and working in Chicago, it's such a fun place to be!

RC: I few up on a farm in Idaho. I feel in love with a Chicagoan in New York. I moved here, married her and made a family. This is the city I've chosen, and I love calling it home. I will argue it's the best in the US and plan on never leaving it. You will have to pry my hands off of an L station turnstile before I move to Naperville (a Chicago suburb).

Jeni: I moved here from Milwaukee a year ago for the obvious awesomeness of this great city. Starting off living in Wrigleyville, I instantly knew I could not live in that neighborhood any longer than I had to and escaped to the Ukrainian Village. Even though online dating in the city has been a complete fail, I'm totally in love with Chicago.

slightly insulting chicago creators


Each of Chicago's neighborhoods seem to be widely known for something. In what way (if any) have your personal experiences influenced what you say about each neighborhood?

Our own personal experiences seem to affect what the posters say in different ways. We seem to have the hardest time insulting our own neighborhoods, and it's probably because we are too close with the area to make a joke that generalizes the entire neighborhood. On the other hand, we all work in the Loop, and seemed to settle on that line pretty quickly because it's a shared frustration that we all have going to and from work. Why do tourists walk six wide down Michigan Avenue?! Much like Lauren's search to find a new place to live, our posters are very "perception based". We try to listen to what others say about their own neighborhoods in order to come up with a slightly insulting poster that holds the best balance of humor and truth.

When you're not working on new insults, how do you spend your time?

We all work together in advertising, and happen to sit within 10 feet of each other. Jeni and Lauren are art directors and RC is the copywriter (or "word boy" as we like to call him.) So most of the time we're doing "real work". Lauren got dubbed as a "yoga addict" the other day, so that's what she does with her time not spent in front of a screen. RC has a three-year-old he chases around the city on various adventures. Jeni is often trying to figure out what to have for dinner and hiccuping. We also enjoy getting on the roofs of buildings.


What are you most passionate about?

Lauren: I'm most passionate about constantly creating. I'm always drawing or doodling or in the process of making something. And while some might call me insane, this is the only thing that keeps me sane.

RC: I'm passionate about not letting my creativity go to waste; it's a gift from God and it's my responsibility to use it, whether by writing, drawing graphs, making others laugh or taking my son on fun city adventures. And I want to visit all 50 states (I'm at 34) and climb on top of as many Chicago skyscrapers as possible. The city's skyline is even more breathtaking from the roof of a 40 story building.

Jeni: When I'm not at work working, I'm probably at my kitchen table or a Starbucks designing something, anything. Being an art director is much more than a career, it is a complete lifestyle, it takes over, and I couldn't be happier. But I also fancy architecture (which makes living in Chicago a dream) and interior design, and suffer from a slight shopping addiction.

Can you tell us which neighborhood you're looking to slightly insult next?

Roscoe Village, Ravenswood, Hegewisch and a number of South Side neighborhoods.

You can purchase their prints here, or follow their Tumblr here.

New Contributors!

I'm very excited to announce some of my very first contributors to the blog! Rony is one of my nearest and dearest friends and she has always been the fashionista between the two of us, especially in high school. Her style was always put together and mine was... all over the place. I remember her bedroom was always filled with stacks of fashion magazines. So it wasn't surprising when I found out she and her friend Vera started a blog all about their personal style, and how to achieve fashionable and trendy looks without spending wads of cash. The two will be discussing all kinds of things on here in the future, but for now we put together a little interview as part of their introduction. rony and vera of what we wear blog contributors

Rony and Vera are fashion minded architecture students based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The girls launched their blog in March of this year and have been going strong since. In addition to posting photo shoots with some of their favorite outfits and fashion ideas, they also offer styling for career women or anyone looking to upgrade their style.

How did your blog begin?

We always somehow ended up coordinating outfits without meaning to or discussing it, a sort of style telepathy that everyone always teased us about. We have also always been known for our knack for finding very cool chic items for very low prices, so we decided to put that to good use and show girls how you can put together amazing outfits without spending a fortune.

What do you take into consideration when styling a client?

The first thing we do is always listen to the client's hope and requests to understand the kind of look they want to achieve. We the go through their wardrobe to show them how they could do more with what they have; recycling can be so much better than buying new. Our goal is to turn the subject into a fashion queen (or king) by dressing them in outfits that suit their body, personality and budget.

How does living in Tel Aviv affect your style?

Tel Aviv is a city of eclecticism, from its architecture to its population and different styles and faces that you see, which we find very inspiring. Tel Avivis are ver adventurous with their style and not afraid to let their personality shine through, from business people to trend queens to hipsters and punks to teenage divas. The weather is always a big consideration. The city gets so hot and humid for the majority of the year and it's sometimes hard to keep it chic when all you want to do is walk around in a bikini all day. One thing's for sure, the city has been the perfect backdrop for our photo shoots.


What are your favorite places to shop?

We love reading fashion magazines and finding cheap equivalents to all the beautiful clothes they feature. We love shopping at flea markets and vintage stores for really unique one of a kind finds. We love going to thrift stores in Israel and abroad; one of our favorites is Primark in London. We also love to support Israeli designers, they have a touch that we haven't seen in any other designers. The great thing about Tel Aviv are all its little boutiques where you can find pieces that no one else will have.

What's next for What We Wear?

We are now working on a project to become more involved with the city's fashion scene and use our blog to show all the amazing fashion, shopping and street style the city has to offer.

An Interview with Tokara Sexton of Love Sexton

I'm super excited to present to you the first ever interview on this blog! Hopefully there will be many more to come in the near future - I really believe in supporting other artists and small business owners. I love reading about how they got where they are today, their process and the challenges they may have faced along the way. So, let's get right into it! Love Sexton features accessories that are bright, sassy and will definitely make you stand out in a crowd. The combination of color and texture makes for a truly astounding look. You can learn more about Tokara and Love Sexton through her Facebook page, or on Twitter and of course you should head on over to her shop and check out the rest of her work!

love sexton interview1

First of all, where does the name Love Sexton come from? Sexton is my last name. I meant it to be sort of like the end of a letter, as in "Love, Sexton". I’m very intrigued with the colors in your work. What draws you to the materials you use? What first inspired you to paint such bright colors onto faux leather?

I am drawn to all bright colors. I love to surround myself with them as they make me happy. My house is painted in bright blues, yellows, and pinks. I am an artist at heart, I really wanted to incorporate my painting into my accessory making. I had been making the gold, black, and white style feathers for a long time, but I wanted COLOR! So through much trial and error I finally found the right fit between type of paint and type of material. 

Are there other materials you’d like to try? I have worked with silks before but I have never tried painting them. I think that's a future venture.

love sexton earrings

Did you have any big challenges when you started Love Sexton? Any current challenges? Start up money I guess was the biggest challenge. I really want only high quality supplies in my shop so it took a while to build up a collection of items and materials to work with. As for current challenges, just keeping up with demand all by myself. It's still at the point where I am enjoying it and not too stressed out, and I want to keep it that way. 

What is your personal style like? I guess I am part rocker style, part pin up girl. Very opposite. I am a very girly girl either way. I wear a lot of black with bright pops of color like the Neon Aztec earrings, or bright makeup.

Do you have any major influences or places to go for inspiration? I love all fashion. Love the designers who take chances. Love to check out fashion blogs.

love sexton pink and gold earrings

How do you go about promoting your shop?

Etsy is a great place to get noticed. I try and contact boutiques and blogs when I have time. It's kind of hard to promote when you're running a one girl business. 

Where do you hope to see Love Sexton in the next year? For right now I would like to maintain. I have some new ideas in the works, so I would like to get enough time to create and get those out.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom for other creatives? Be patient, try not to get discouraged (I have been doing this since 2006). Keep coming up with original pieces and your hard work will get noticed!

Thanks, Tokara!