Inspiration Lately | 12-9-14


Bold wall choices for little spaces. Also, Deuce Cities Henhouse (don’t start reading unless you have lots of time).


These mercury glass bulb lights.


Copper measuring cups.


Mixed prints. All the mixed prints.


Dark walls and corner reading chairs.

First adventures in handlettering.

New boots and good neighborhood kids that remind me to keep exploring.

Not dying, and learning to ask for help (and for all the help…thank you.)

101 Things for 2015 in t-minus 22 days.

And the opportunity to have ample time to think and decide direction these last few weeks.

What’s keeping you inspired?


Chalkboard Closet Doors [a little space love story]

Last week, I decided I really wanted a Christmas tree. Problematically, all 324 square feet of my apartment are being used up by a bed, couch, bookshelf, desk, coffee table, and two barstools.

Living in a small space makes you really crafty (crazy). I thought a good solution would be to paint my sliding closet doors into chalkboards and draw a Christmas tree in chalk.

Confession: every serious home project I do requires at least one beer. Total cost of this project: $18.

The first roller stroke was fun. I felt daring and brave. Then I got to this point and started thinking “What the fuck am I doing??? This is going to be such a pain in the ass to paint back when I move out. I’m going to lose my deposit. I’m going to have a BLACK WALL in my tiny apartment.

Then I drank the beer and kept painting and got to this point and thought “hey, this isn’t so bad.

Not bad at all. Total time: 20 minutes to paint the first coat + 20 minutes to dry + 20 minutes to paint last coat + 30 minute break somewhere in between to watch Gilmore Girls and drink beer = 1.5 hours.

After waiting 3 DAYS for the paint to set totally (it was completely dry about an hour after I painted, but I thought I would be good and follow the directions), I put on a conditioning coat of chalk and then rubbed it in.

Then it was ready to be drawn on. And I suddenly became an artist. [Full disclosure: I found this picture by Googling “chalkboard Christmas trees” and basically copied it.]

It’s incredible how painting one thing suddenly made this 324 square foot space my home.

Painting in a small space is scary. Especially if you’re making a bold color choice, like black. In a little space, you have to love everything you have, because you’ll be looking at it every day, all day. Choosing to paint or wallpaper a wall is a big choice.

At the end of the day, I really hated my beige closet doors (and the whole BEIGE apartment). And something about painting a space makes it instantly more of a home – more permanent, more yours. You’ve made a commitment to the little space. I’m already thinking about which wall I’ll paint next.

So…be brave! Paint something in your little space (or normal-sized house, I don’t judge) this weekend!



5 Tips for Living in a Little Space with Pets


I live in a 324 square foot apartment with two cats and a small dog. No, it is not horrible. And no, it is certainly not for everyone. It takes a lot of patience and a good sense of humor (pat on the back). I also probably have the best behaved fur kids of all time.

I make it work because a) I love my pets and b) I have to. I live in Denver, which has a horrible rental market right now (because, duh, who doesn’t want to live in the Mile High City). Finding any apartment is pretty much impossible. Finding a one-bedroom or something with square footage or hardwood floors? Forget about it. So I settled for an adorable, albeit tiny, studio. And I make it work.

Here’s how you can make living in a small space with pets work too:

1. Invest in a good vacuum. I swear by this Dirt Devil EasyLite. It’s less than $40, super lightweight, compact enough to store easily, and works in a way I can only describe as amazing. I vacuum every day, and this vacuum is super durable for the price.

2. Get an air purifier. Also less than $40, this Holmes Visipure Table Air Purifier is a steal. The first month I lived in my apartment I didn’t have a purifier, and the difference is incredible. Pets are sometimes smelly and disgusting. They are also allergy-inducing. The Holmes Visipure has different filters for things like smells, allergies, smoke, etc. I get the Total Air Filter, which does everything.

3. Create a space for everyone. My mother likes to say “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” I find myself thinking this phrase about 50 times a day living in 324 square feet. I can’t stress how important it is to establish boundaries with your pets as soon as you move in. Give your pets a certain bed, blanket, or spot in your apartment that is just for them (and that they can go to when you need space).

4. Don’t buy ugly toys. In a small space, you see everything. There is no hiding a giant, green frog squeaky toy or 8,000 little brightly colored cat mice that are only going to end up under the fridge. I’ve made a new rule that none of my pets has more than 2 toys, and all the toys go in one basket when we’re not playing. I also only buy toys that match my apartment (white, wooden, or black). I know it sounds a little crazy, but it makes a huge difference.

5. Find a good pet daycare or petsitter. There are going to be times when you want to entertain, go out of town, or just want 324 square feet for yourself. In Denver, I’ve found Camp Bow Wow and and Gentle Hearts Pet Sitting. When I lived in Michigan in a little space, I had my mom watch my dog one night a week. Find whatever works for you.


What tips do you have for living in a small space with pets? Comment below!

Inspiration Lately | 11-5-14

I realized today that with my whirlwind visit to Michigan last weekend and Halloween, I haven’t blogged in approximately forever. Eek! Here’s all the things that have been keeping me so busy and/or inspired these last few weeks:

The children’s book I wrote for Kids’ Food Basket is officially available! Get it today!

My little goonie is back by my side (obvs a “Flying with Dogs” post coming soon! It will be a “learn from my mistakes” style post).


A snowy Michigan weekend, snuggled up on the couch of one of the loveliest human beings I know.

giselle deer.

This perfect child, who is unbelievably four years old now and dresses herself (yes, those are minion socks peeping out of her sparkly, purple cheetah print shoes).


A weekend spent camping at Golden Gate Canyon State Park (details coming soon to Adventures!).


A coffee shop that makes me insanely productive.


Crispy fall weather.


Weekend project inspiration. Thanks, A Beautiful Mess.

Halloween (and birthday celebrating) with my exceedingly talented and beautiful best friend. Email her for a free video tutorial on how to do this superhero pop art make up!

What were you for Halloween? What’s your weekend project agenda? Tell me by commenting below! :)

Solo Hiking at Staunton State Park

When I first moved to Denver, I was really ambitious (read: stupid). Getting wet in a waterfall is on my list of 101 Things to do this year, and I thought it would be really neat to make that dream come true with Elk Falls at Staunton State Park.

The hike to Elk Falls is 11.1 miles round trip. At an elevation around 9,120 feet.

Before I moved to Colorado, these numbers meant nothing to me. I had never been hiking in the mountains. Eleven miles isn’t really that far, I thought to myself one Saturday not too long ago. I saw the elevation and thought “ooh, I’ll get such good pictures.”

ADVICE: Don’t move to Colorado from the Midwest and think you’ll be doing a ton of hiking and rock climbing right away. Your little Midwestern lungs will not allow it. Unless you were an Olympic swimmer or marathon runner or something, prepare to be embarrassed every time you go hiking as 70-year-old couples from Boulder power past you with all their hiking and climbing gear (they will also have a golden lab who will look at you like you are pathetic).

Hiking is hard at a normal elevation with normal (read: Midwestern) lungs. Hiking at an elevation of 9,120 feet your third week as a transplant? Forget about it.

I made it 1.5 miles out, took an hour break, and basically crawled back. And then I had an asthma attack in my car.

But I did get some really pretty pictures while I sat on the ground and watched all the Colorado natives make the hike look easy.


staunton state park trees.

staunton state park shoes.

staunton state park.

With a little practice, I’ll be scaling fourteeners in no time. Until then, I’ll be investing in an inhaler.