Best Dressed

I recently picked a key word for 2014. Eventful. With 7 weddings, a plethora of showers, professional dinners, a honeymoon and family gatherings on the horizon, I need to expand my closet pronto. I set out to find options on my favorite online shopping destinations and came up with the below line up as picks that made me swoon. My only issue now is narrowing down which ones to purchase!

:: Anthropologie ::

:: Shop Bop ::

:: Piperlime ::

:: ASOS ::
:: Nordstrom ::


Spring Has Sprung.

...And with it came flirty florals. I recently teamed up with two fabulous Chicago bloggers, Cait from Pretty & Fun and Blair from The Fox & She, to showcase Spring's favorite fashion staple. We had a blast trotting around the West Loop, and we just so happened to luck out with the first 80-degree day of the year, which we met with open arms and a celebratory brew after the shoot was over.

The photos turned out so creative, which is something that fashion loves in any season. This was my first blogger team-up for a shoot, and I love how you can see our individual styles shining through the different ways we styled the trend. Such a fun approach to fashion, ya?

Be on the look out for another showcased Spring trend coming soon - we've got some more goodness up our sleeves!

For my look, I paired this Anthropologie maxi skirt with a black crop top and boots. Crop tops and long, flowy skirts are a combination that I've been wearing more of recently, particularly on weekend days where the sunshine is out. (Okay, so that's been twice, but still.)

Be sure to swing by Pretty & Fun and The Fox and She for details on their outfits!

:: Shop My Look ::

Photography via The Watcher Chicago and photo styling via Wear and Why.


3x The Charm

:: I'm ecstatic to announce that I've graduated to a side braid. That may sound lame to be excited about, but here's the scoop: braids have always been my thing, and ever since I cut my hair I haven't been able to rock this beloved style. After many failed attempts over the past few months, I tried again and *boom*. Just like that, it happened. I gasped, smiled, then woke up Doug with a happy dance. He was confused & irritated really excited, too.

:: Speaking of being really excited, this week I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Berninger, lead singer of The National, at an agency event. As you can tell, we bonded over leather jackets. I like his style.

:: Am I the only one who closes Sunday declaring, "I am going to work out every morning this upcoming week!" and fails to do so as the days progress? Please tell me it's normal, because I've literally done that for the past 3 months. I try. I really, really try. I even succeed a morning or two, such was the case this week when I trotted along the harbor. But getting out of bed is haaardNext week will be better, ya?

:: For your browsing pleasure :: What's easier: Figuring out what you truly want to do, or moving to Denmark? I'm thinking the latter. :: Anyone want to live in the most haunted place in the world? Yikes. :: Emma Watson is becoming my fave. So are Zoey & Jasper. :: In case you missed it, this week I interviewed an amazing interior designer on entrepreneurship & design tips. Rainy day necessities were also in the round up. :: Be sure to swing by Monday, when two fabulous bloggers and I have teamed up for a little surprise. This skirt will be making an appearance!


ITC Interview :: Summer Thornton Design {Part II}

In Part II {Catch Part I here} of Summer Thornton's interview, she takes us from entrepreneur talk to practical design advice for us all. Ready to take notes? Spoiler alert: You may need to say "See ya later" to the minimalist design trend right now. No tears? Good.  

ITC: Any thoughts on how to jazz up a small space on a low budget?
Summer: Go big or go home!  Don’t be afraid to take a risk & have fun with it.  Shop vintage stores, estate sales, your grandmother’s basement to find things with character and patina.  Leave IKEA to the amateurs!   Leverage your creative friends – if you know a photographer whose work you like ask them for a deal on a print, if your friend is a graphic designer ask them if they’ll create a cool poster for you, etc.  Tight budgets may not allow you to have a luxury look, but you can definitely create something bohemian, modern, or quirky.  Most importantly though, a space should be personal.  That’s the reason my husband's dental molds are displayed in my dining room china cabinet.  His mom is continually disturbed by this!  

ITC: What is the one key takeaway to keep in mind when designing a room?
Summer: The only person that needs to like the space is the person who will live in it.  Don’t worry about what other people will say or think – if you like quirky prints and artwork, put up tons of them and OWN IT!   The more fun you have with your space, the more people will respect you for being true & real.  Plus, when you have a dinner party it’ll give everyone something to talk about.  Love it or hate it, at least it isn’t un-original!  

ITC: Any design pet peeves?
Summer: I hate it when a color scheme is too exact.  The exact same shade of green in the drapes and on the pillows, etc. etc. There’s no need to have the exact same shade in everything.  Nature doesn’t look like that – think of all the different shades of greens in plants alone- so why should your home be limited to a specific ‘color palette’?

ITC: Finish the below sentences.
ITC: My favorite place to shop is ___.
Summer: Oh man, I guess if the budget were unlimited it would Greenwhich Living in Connecticut and Palm Beach Antique and Design Center in West Palm Beach.  These two stores are consistently my absolute favorites, and of course they sell vintage and antique pieces.  My favorite local place to shop is Jayson Home, they have a great mix of antique, vintage and new and the staff there is amazing.

ITC: This spring, I’m loving ____.
Summer: Pastels.  I would love to have a really feminine client who is into doing an entire house like a box of macaroons!

ITC: I can’t wait for ____ to go out of style.
Summer: Minimalism. Clean, yes. Minimal, no.

ITC: I can’t wait for ____ to come back into style.
Summer: The 80’s!  There was no excess like the 80’s and you’ve got to love it.  

ITC: When I’m not interior designing, I’m _____.
Summer: Playing with my daughter India, watching Bravo-lebrity TV, or planning my next vacation!

A huge thanks to Summer and her team for taking the time to do this interview! Keep up with her on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. In the meantime, remember one key thing, ITC readers...


ITC Interview :: Summer Thornton Design {Part 1}

"Girl crush" is an underestimate. This fabulous entrepreneur, mother, and design connoisseur does it all - and then some - with flying colors. Emphasis on the colors.

Summer Thornton started her own interior design firm in 2007. Since then, her designs have been touted in major publications including House BeautifulModern Luxury and Traditional Home. And for good reason. After admiring her for years now, I can say her signature look is colorful, bold, far from ordinary, and always leaves you thinking, "That is such a good idea."

I'm beyond honored to feature her on Isn't That Charming, not just because her advice for design is one of the most-visited pages in my bookmarks, but she is a true inspiration with talent that exceeds the norm. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you the fabulous...

ITC: For those who don’t know you, what’s your elevator pitch?
Summer: I’m an interior designer and I’ve been able to work with some really amazing people to help build and design their dream homes or dream retail boutiques.  And thankfully, the media has been very kind to me – the work we’ve created has been featured in many magazines, blogs, and books.  In terms of style – no two projects ever look the same – every project is a representation of the individual I’m working with.  But there are some themes that are consistent in my aesthetic – it always is influenced by traditional design, but we typically give it a strong twist through unusual color combinations, layered patterns, and a strong use of vintage shapes & silhouettes.  Most of our work is in Chicago, but we’re expanding a lot this year – we have projects right now all over the country.  

ITC: Your experience includes working for textile companies and other interior design firms. At what point did you decide to start your own company?  
Summer: I officially took the leap back in 2007, but I had known I wanted to have my own firm since I was in college.  Looking back on it I was probably more na├»ve than brave but I wouldn’t change a thing!

ITC: What was the scariest part of taking that leap?
Summer: Probably being the boss!  I went from working for someone to being in charge.  I was 25 and starting my own business.  Figuring everything out from a legal perspective was the first step and then being able to land clients. I went from a salary with benefits to straight commission.   Not that I was making a fortune as a design assistant or while working at Osborne & Little, but I knew that I was giving up the safety net and was going to have to make it work.  I took a pay cut when I left O&L to become a design assistant, and that was one of the best career moves I ever made.  Scary, risky, but it has paid off in the long run.  No great achievement is ever had without taking a risk, and this was the risk I had to take.

ITC: What has been the most rewarding?
Summer: There are so many rewards it’s hard to put them into words.  Here are a few of the most rewarding things:
- I love the team that works with me at our firm - they have been absolutely critical to our growth & me maintaining my sanity.  They’re both great friends and I appreciate their willingness to ride this roller coaster with me every day.
- Seeing bloggers & our social media fans geek-out over our work. There’s nothing that’s more motivating and encouraging than a total stranger posting “OBSESSED” on Pinterest on one of your designs.  
- Being able to do what I love!  I am completely obsessed with design and have a totally one-track mind.  The fact that I get to do it every day is simply the best.  

ITC: What have you learned most from starting your own business?
Summer: One thing I am still continuing to learn, which is so hard to do in the moment, is to enjoy the ride.  Small businesses are a wild roller coaster – euphoric highs, and terrifying lows.  Bask in the good days, in the fun moments, in the profitable months, in the clients who give you creative freedom, and try not to let the tough times bother you.  You have to have tough skin and be able to roll with the punches.  Don’t freak out if you lose money for one month, just work hard to ensure it doesn’t happen every month.  And frankly, if you’ve got a slow day and its 80 and sunny, go to the beach because in 2 weeks you’ll be so busy you won’t be able to get home before 10pm.

ITC: Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Summer: I’m a huge proponent of small businesses, female entrepreneurs, etc.  And most everyone I know who has taken the plunge has been glad that they did.  That’s not saying that it isn’t risky, that it wont be hard, that you might have to live financially tight (very very tight) for a while, but in the end the rewards are exponentially greater than the temporary pain and frustrations.  My advice – go for it.  What do you have to lose?  Seriously.  If you fail, you try again, or if you decide it wasn’t for you then you go back to your former employer and beg for your job back.

With that said, I’d also say its critical that you put together a strong business plan. Differentiate or die. Be you. Figure out how you’ll make people aware of your business.  My husband did all of my PR & marketing which was absolutely critical.  Run the numbers – how many clients do you need to pay the bills, what should you be charging for your service or good, etc. 

ITC: What has been your favorite interior design project to date? 
Summer: My favorite project to-date I unfortunately can’t share photos of yet because it was just shot by Domino magazine and they’ll be featuring it in their summer issue (be sure to pick-up a copy to check it out).  It’s colorful, daring, sultry and quirky.  The final result was great and the clients were a big part of that – just fun nice people who wanted something different than their friends & neighbors.  They weren’t afraid to stand-out, and that made for a great design.

Another amazing project was a French Tudor remodel that I did.  We literally gutted the entire home keeping only the roof and exterior walls.  Again that was a situation where the client wanted a space that was perfect for him and he didn’t care that it wasn’t what other people had.  We shipped-in antique floors from France, a stunning Le Corneu range, custom designed all the cabinetry, installed steel-paned windows, etc.  Again the client just trusted our vision and let us run with it to make it as amazing as we could. 

ITC: In your advice section you note that “Colors don’t clash” and to “Use patterns and colors recklessly.” What is your favorite color combination to use? 
Summer: Which colors are interesting to me is constantly changing.  But I typically like to pull some retro/vintage color that hasn’t been used in years and pair it with something more modern.  Or I’ll take a hue that feels just a little quirky/off and pair it with something more trusted and traditional.  But truly, I don’t believe in color ‘trends’ – sure some things are more/less popular but I don’t think a single color can be ‘out of fashion’ – paired with the right shape, texture, pattern, and other colors and you can make any hue feel cool.  Honestly, once a color combination is popular, I’m over it.  Colors combos I’m loving and using now are powder blue, tangerine and coral; sky blue, pale mint green and acid yellow; and in my daughters room I used aqua, orchid (insert my Mom calling it “mauve”) and lavender. Obviously, you can tell I’m ready for Spring!

Keep up with Summer on Faceook, Twitter & Pinterest. Be sure to swing by Part II, where Summer shares advice for decorating on a small budget, key takeaways for designing a room, pet peeves, and what she's loving this Spring!


Raindrops On Roses

April showers bring May...yea, we all know the saying. While flowers on the horizon is an optimistic way to view droplets ruining your hairdo, the reality is that rain can be a drab to step foot into. Especially if you're not prepared with gear that keeps you dry.

Luckily here are some stylish finds that will turn puddles that you dodge into welcomed jumping platforms. (Am I the only one who turns into a splashing 5 year old when I have rain boots on?) The water will come, my dears, and if you can't beat it, I say you join it.

:: Shop The Post ::


3x The Charm

Happy Friday! I'm excited to bring back a little end-of-week link love to this here bloggy blog. 3x The Charm will be filled with snapshots of what's been going on behind the scenes as well as links from the interwebs that made me smile. Let's kick it off, shall we?

:: Lately I've been all about dressing for comfort, and have been throwing on the first things that I grab from my closet in the morning. It's interesting to see your personal style trends emerge when you stop thinking about what to wear and instead go for what you naturally gravitate toward. For me, it's translated to a lot of city-girl-with-a-side-of-hippie, as evidenced by my constant floral and eclectic print rotation (reference images above).  No surprise there.

:: What to do when you're modeling for Rent The Runway live WGN Chicago News: pick a focal point, and perhaps move around a little to show off the dress. I didn't really do either. What can I say, the camera was rightthere and I basically froze because I was so nervous. I honestly didn't hear what was being said while I was up there, all I kept thinking was, "Erh mah gawd I'm on tv! Hi Mom!" Nonetheless, it was a blast, and I have to give a huge thank you to the Chicago Blog Network for the opportunity.

:: For your browsing pleasure :: I need to learn this workout dance. :: Is this girl serious? If so, let's give her a round of applause. :: Man Repeller wrote an awesome post about not wearing makeup. :: On the not-so-pleasureful news front, you must change all your passwords ASAP. (Seriously!) :: In case you missed it, this week I showed you a cute DIY gift for a newborn & chatted about advice for getting things done. :: It's getting real warm around here and I'm giving high-fives out like they're candy.

Have a fabulous, amazing, wonderful weekend!
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