A How-To for Storage-Strapped Shoe Addicts

Brace yourselves, boys and girls. Get your hard hats and band-aids ready. It’s time to bust out the power tools and do some DIY.

Since I recently (ok, so not-so-recently at this point, but you get the idea) moved into my new place, I figured what better way to make it my own than to get my hands dirty with some DIY projects. Plus who likes a standard-issue “vintage” apartment anyway? In the days of Pinterest: no one. Especially me.

First up: Adding some much-needed storage.

I’m a shoe whore. Always have been. Always will be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near as bad as my aunt (she had my uncle turn a spare guest room into an extra closet for her shoes – you go Aunt Melissa!) but I have everything from running shoes to wingtips and from rain boots to ridiculously-uncomfortable-yet-super-cute leopard print loafers. God forbid they be homeless, but when you live in a studio finding a home for them is definitely much easier said than done.

Especially once you’ve already maxed out your under-bed storage with off-season clothing and shoes and other stuff that just needs a home. Out of sight, out of mind.

Always up for a good DIY project, I’d seen this project on Pinterest that looked like it’d have a relatively low chance of ending up as an epic Pinterest fail. Easy peasy. I could do this. Bring it on. Continue reading

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The Great Apartment Hunt

So I recently moved out of my old apartment. In other words: no more MDR. While I love the kid to death, I decided it was probably for the best – especially since I had gone back to working in Corporate America and had to be up at 6am (vomit) to get ready for work and haul my morning-hating-self downtown – for my sanity and our friendship in general to go back to living on my own.

Let the hunt begin.

They say honesty is the best policy, but apparently apartment leasing companies missed the memo on this. Continue reading

Home Is Where You Make It And Not Just Where The Heart Is

No Place Like HomeGrowing up, I was taught that “home is where the heart is” – compliments of some hand-stitched needlepoint that my mom or grandma had done at some point and hung on the wall.  There’s the part in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy clicks her ruby red heels together and chants ‘There’s no place like home’ three times then magically reappears there. Sometimes it’d be nice to be able to do this. Trust me – there have been times that I’ve wished I could click my glittery size 12 pumps (just kidding, those days are over) together and end up in my mom’s house with a home-cooked meal in the land of a lack of reliable cell phone service where the closest guy on Grindr is 4 miles away. Continue reading

One-Jobbed Wonder

quit-your-day-jobYou’re probably thinking to yourself, “Wait a minute….didn’t he just post last month in Job Hunting 101 that he’d accepted an offer and was going to be working two jobs?”

Why yes, yes I did. The second job lasted all of 24 hours. Go me. I think this might set a record (at least a personal one for sure) for shortest span of employment ever.

So what happened exactly? Allow me to enlighten you in the ridiculousness, the annoyance, and the constant adventure that is my life. Continue reading

Job Hunting 101: It’s All or Nothing

Yes, I’ve been MIA for a while.

No, I have not have been on vacation again – although I wish I had been.

Drumroll please…..

I’ve actually been working! Yes, that’s right…working. My unemployment adventure is D-O-N-E. Done. Donezo. Finished. Through. However you want to put it…I have a job again. Is it in the design field? Well, yes and no. One is, one isn’t. The one that is, however, is a whole different story that we’ll get to in a minute. In the meantime though….let’s CELEBRATE!!

Continue reading

Sofa Shopping Shenanigans…Otherwise Known as the Nightmare of Incompetent Salespeople

There’s something therapeutic about going furniture shopping…or just shopping in general. Ladies and gays, I’m sure you can relate. Straight men, I’ve probably lost you already  (if you were even reading this to begin with).

Shopping becomes a literal hell, however, when you’re an interior designer and you’re shopping for yourself. Especially when you’re on the hunt for a new sofa. I know it’s not just me either because I was talking to my friend Courtney, one of my bestest friends from college, this evening and she went through the exact same experience recently in her quest to find a new place to park herself after a long day at work.

You’d think it’d be easy to find a sofa when you live in the third largest city in the country. With a population of nearly 3 million, Chicago should be a mecca for furniture stores. Okay, maybe it is, but when you’re a picky designer and know exactly what you want and the price you want to spend…all hell breaks loose. Continue reading

Interior Design is a Disease

Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me when I walk into any given environment and begin to pick out everything about it that’s wrong or doesn’t work. In instances like this, I begin to think I’m a judgmental bitch. Perhaps, but not really. The root of all evil in this case is that I am a designer. It’s in our blood to study the design of any space we’re in and try to figure out how (if at all) it can be improved upon.

One of my biggest annoyances is when stairs aren’t designed on a 7/11 ratio. What is this, you ask? Stair treads should be 11″ deep and only raise 7″ up. The steps at most CTA stations, the stairs that go from Michigan Avenue down to East Illinois Street, the stairs going down to the Chicago Riverwalk – these and several others drive me up a wall because they aren’t built on a 7/11 ratio making it uncomfortable to go up or down them because your feet either don’t fit on the stair correctly, or you have to take more than one step per stair. Call me crazy, but go for a walk and see for yourself.

ADA is also my worst nightmare. She’s a whore. She haunts my dreams day in and day out. She is seriously everywhere. From door swings to clearances and everything in between, her special needs get hammered into your head in design school and become even more apparent in the real world. There’s no escaping her. She is contagious, and I have caught her disease.

Is this Interior Design Disease life-threatening? God I sure hope not. Is it annoying? Very. I feel like rather than appreciating the space I’m in like any other normal non-designer human being, I’m stuck with this gift/curse of walking into somewhere and instantly seeking out what could have been done better or what doesn’t meet code. It’s ridiculously annoying, but at the end of the day, I’m perfectly content having this disease because I love what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’m a Designer…NOT a Decorator!!

I cannot tell you how many times I get asked “Oh you’re a decorator? I just moved into a new place and have no idea what color to paint my walls or what pillows to get. You should totally help me out!” after telling someone I work in the interior design industry. This is seriously one of my biggest…pet…peeves…EVER. There are few things annoy designers more than being classified and referred to as a decorator. So to help you out, I’m going to take a little time out of my afternoon today to go over the difference between a designer and a decorator so none of you ever have to offend a designer again.

This was always a hot-button issue when I was in design school. So hot of an issue actually that our Interior Design Club put it as a line item on the back of our “You Know You’re an Interior Design Major When…” shirts (3. You feel the urge to strangle anyone who calls  you a “decorator” or asks for your help with pillows and curtains.) that, yes, I still own and wear to the gym.

According to the NCIDQ (a fancy exam that some states require you to take that’s on the interior design equivalent of the bar exam for lawyers), the difference between being a designer and a decorator is as follows: Continue reading