Category Archives: Tips

room-lift: inspiration

Jonathan Adler designs... be still my heart.

For as long as I can remember, my favorite expression of personal style has always been the home. A collection of rooms and spaces that exude the essence of the person living in them, where you choose to spend your life. Fashion is fickle and you can change it with your mood, weight, whatever. But paint colors, furniture, light fixtures, these are long-term commitments. The rooms you live in reflect more than how you feel that day, or what’s trendy. They speak to the things you value most in life: comfort, style, organization etc. – the kind of person you are.

I’ve never quite understood people that could just walk into Pier 1 and buy whatever the sales girl told them would look good on their coffee table. But then again, I never really understood Pier 1 as a whole. Anyways…

Growing up, my mom ran her own interior design business and, being the mini-me of my mother that I was have always been, naturally I preferred to spend my free time with her, looking at design magazines, shopping for fabrics, picking out molding… the list goes on and on. When girls my age were dreaming about normal 9 year old things like, oh I dont know, body glitter and Delia’s, all I wanted was a house of my own that I got to decorate, any way I wanted to. I would collect paint chips and carpet samples, tear out pages from Architectural Digest and Elle Decor, and hoard them in my room as inspiration for future design projects. Mind you, at 9- 12 years old, the “future” where I got to decorate a house, was a long way away. Nevertheless, I loved it. Genevieve Gorder from Trading Spaces was my idol, my mom was my best friend, and I had a propensity for breaking my glasses. This should be painting a pretty accurate picture of my adolescent social status for you.

Appropriately enough, my favorite activity is still surfing for design and style inspiration online and in print. If you raided my bedroom you’d find monthly stacks of magazine tear-outs, my email is congested with daily blasts from Dwell Studios, Design*Sponge and etsy, and HomeGoods is my idea of a bitchin’ Saturday afternoon. Doesn’t matter if it’s modern, rustic, feminine, nautical, french country, etc, I love beautiful spaces and appreciate a well-done room. But after browsing and swooning over so many gorgeous examples, you can start to lose sight of what you appreciate vs. what’s actually you.

So today’s RoomLift Lesson is: “DO YOU” 

My deepest gratitude to the Jersey Shore for introducing that phrase into my personal lexicon. But seriously. If a space should look like the person inhabiting it, then your RoomLift should come out looking like you. Or at least the you you’d like to wake up to every morning.

Check out my Pinterest page to follow my ever expanding board of RoomLift Inspiration.


Leave a comment

Filed under Home Decor, RoomLift, Tips, Uncategorized

Time for a Room-Lift

While I was in NYC, I got to spend one night with one of my best friends, Maria. This was my first time seeing her since she moved into her new apartment, a 3 bedroom on the Upper East Side, and it was a bit of a wake up call. I need to decorate my apartment.

While the quarters were tight- railroad style bedrooms (look it up), one bath for three 20-something girls, and virtually no storage- Maria, Betsey and Megan have transformed the apartment into an adorable space that looks and feels like home. Accessories neatly stored, bath products tucked away in useful organizers, and a hook for everything you could possibly hang- everything has it’s proper place. Undeniably, one has to be more organized when sharing small living spaces, but they did it with style. There’s a bevy of warm and happy pops of color, everything is perfectly stored out of sight until it’s needed, and yet nothing looks remotely utilitarian. They’d even found the time to hang things purely for decoration… in exposed brick walls. That’s commitment to a style of living.

Now, our apartment is by no means on refugee-camp-levels of disarray, but we’re far from what I would call “finished.” There are a few remaining unpacked boxes, plenty of unhung artwork and a pathetic excuse for organization happening in my room. Seeing the great job that these three had managed to accomplish on a New Yorker’s schedule and budget left me thinking: what the eff is my excuse?

Couple this revelation with the fact that my dresser literally collapsed in on itself as I was packing for fashion week and all signs point to: ROOM-LIFT

Room-Lift is actually a term I stole from my mom- it was the i
name of her interior design business when I was growing up-
and it’s exactly what I plan to do. Give my rooms a face-lift, starting with the bedroom.

Since I’m on a lease and a tight budget, I’m not going to invest heavily in anything I can’t take with me. So that means I’ll stick to elements like furniture, art and decor, like removable-window treatments and lighting. But the first step is gathering inspiration. A process that’s significantly easier thanks to sites like Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, Etsy and Design Sponge.

I’ll have plenty of inspiration for my RoomLift to share with you later in the week…

xoxo, SS

Leave a comment

Filed under D.I.Y., Home Decor, Tips, Uncategorized

More Beauty Solutions!

Today, I shared two great tips on AmazingCosmetics’ fabulous blog, AmazingLand, on how to rock lower-lash mascara without making a greasy, black mascara mess. Check out my post below!

Holiday Beauty Solutions 8 & 9: Luscious Lower Lashes

#8:  The 60′s are back in a big way and one of our favorite beauty trends from this era is bottom lash mascara. Frequently rocked by Blake Lively and practically trademarked by Kim Kardashian, this technique was originally made famous by Twiggy back in the 60′s and is still a great way to add drama to your eyes… but there’s a fine line between bottom lash mascara and an unruly black streak. In order to keep from looking like your ready to hit the football field, try this trick I picked up from Michele Phan. Take an index card and place it under your eye, lifting your eyelashes away from the skin, and apply the mascara to the lashes on the card. Now you can go mascara-crazy down there and no one will ever mistake your Twiggy for Tebow! If you want to get extra fancy, cut the end of the index card into a slight crescent shape (ala the curve of your under eye) to get a better contoured fit.

#9 If you are planning on wearing mascara on your bottom lashes, do the bottoms first! It may seem out of order, but in order to apply mascara to the bottom lashes, most of us have to look upwards. If you do this after you’ve applied mascara to the top lashes, your lashes will touch your lid and leave a smudge. It’s a super simple tip that has changed our mascara-wearing lives.

There you have it- two quick fixes for giving you lashes to lust over!

Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty, Tips

Chicago, I fell in love again.


If you read my series of Sin City Survival Tips last spring, you know that I’m a fan of “the series”…and not just of the Harry Potter variety. Well now that I’m finally back in my beloved city of Chicago full-time, I am constantly finding myself overwhelmed by all of the things I want to do in this city. It seems no matter the season, there is always something amazing going on here and I don’t want to miss any of it. I have been keeping a running list of Chicago “To-Do’s” on my desktop since October but it seems no matter how may things I check off, it keeps getting longer by the day. Which brings me to my exciting new series of posts:


…get it? I’ll be chronicling as I check things off my list and sharing all the best things I find to do, eat, watch, try and buy along the way. Oh and stay tuned for pics of my new apartment and decorating tips I picked up while putting it all together! Decorating on a budget like mine was quite the learning experience.

For now, enjoy one of my favorite songs about Chicago courtesy of Sufjan Stevens and a video I found on YouTube.

Leave a comment

Filed under ChicaGO!, Just Because, Tips, Travel

All work and no play….

…makes this blog tragically unattended. I’m back from Vegas and it was more than a success. We followed my basic Sin City Survival Tips and boy did we “survive” …but now it’s back to school and with less than 5 weeks until graduation I’m busier than ever! Anyone have tips for prioritizing and organizing your life? –something that I am admittedly terrible at. One thing that does help me keep my life from imploding is this fab agenda. Originally the “Mom Agenda” they have recently come out with a version for us non-maternal individuals that’s equally as genius. With plenty of room for both class work and personal to-do lists this is the only planner that is big enough to keep the life of this journalism student/publicist/blogger/sorority girl/intern in order… well as orderly as can be expected

check it out here:

Leave a comment

Filed under Just Because, School, Tips, Uncategorized

Warm up with a Summer Salad

In an attempt to go through all of my produce before I leave on vacation (I hate wasting food!), I decided to make a big Summer Salad to keep for dinner all week. The beautiful thing about a “Summer Salad” is that there are no rules, your salad, your recipe. Similar to a Tabouleh salad, I always like to start with whole wheat cous cous to add substance, then add in a brightly colored mix of vegetables… or in this case all of the produce in my fridge, and finish with a light home-made balsamic dressing. Low in calories and high in resourcefulness, it’s perfect for a laidback dinner with the girls or as  side for a summer dinner soiree.

Here’s what I used:

1.5 c Cous Cous (dry)

2 large tomatoes ( I like to use a combo of cherry tomatoes and beefsteak)

1/2 of a red onion

1/4 head of purple cabbage

1/2 a bell pepper

7-8 asparagus spears (quickly sauteed with garlic)

2 c soybeans (steamed)

Add the cous cous to boiling water, remove from heat and stir until thick. Add to large salad bowl with chopped tomatoes, onions, cabbage, asparagus, pepper and soybeans. Dress to taste with about a cup each of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, plus garlic salt, sea salt, cracked pepper and parsley.

Note: The cous cous will soak up the liquid ingredients like a sponge so I like to add the oil and vinegar continuously while I add the veggies.

It only took about 15 minutes to prepare and the roomies loved it so much that my dinner-for the week turned into a dinner-for-8! Next time I’d love to add avocado and maybe some seeds or nuts, but this one definitely hit the spot! What would you add to your own Summer Salad?

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Tips, Uncategorized

Tip of the day: Aspirin, not just for zapping headaches!

With mid-terms in full swing, packing on the brain and graduation looming only a few short weeks away, I’d say “stressed” is an understatement. For some people stress shows in their energy level or even their appetite but if you’re anything like me, it shows on your face. Now as a 21 year old, I can say that the days of acne are pretty far behind me (thankfully!), so I no longer have stockpiles of spot treatments at my disposal. Luckily, there’s a simple homemade remedy that works as well as any skin care counter cream I’ve tried… and the best part is, it’s sitting right in your medicine cabinet:  Aspirin! That’s right, painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen are also anti-inflammatories, used to reduce swelling. That means that applying it topically to a persistent pimple will reduce swelling and redness, without drying out your skin.

How to use: Simply boil water and crush up a few tabs of aspirin to make a paste. Apply the paste to the blemish and let it dry. Voila! Your pesky pimple will be visibly smaller and the redness will subside without irritating the area from squeezing. Plus, unlike the pimple creams of our formative high school years, you won’t dry out your skin leaving a crackly mess underneath your concealer! This works great for those extra-annoying pressure-pimples too… ouch!

**If you’re short on time, you can simply run the pill underneath hot water and rub with your fingers to release its paste-y contents.

Now, if only eliminating the causes of my stress was as easy as getting rid of its effects. What are your favorite blemish beating remedies?

1 Comment

Filed under Beauty, D.I.Y., Health, Tips, Uncategorized