Fresh Ink

In lieu of a rather unphotogenic June that was essentially full of photo shoots for the site and plenty of packing up house, I thought I’d skip out on our monthly Instagram recap. Instead I wanted to share some new ink I got a few Fridays ago. In fact I got two new tattoos on the same day (not the first time that’s happened), and both are very meaningful designs that I’ve been wanting for awhile.




My Grandpa (not Pete, the other one) had a huge hand in raising me. And for the life of me I can’t seem to put into words just how big of a spot he holds in my heart. And just how much it gutted me when he passed away when I was 17. Swallows are the bird of remembrance, and this one is based on Julia Rothman’s Daydream wallpaper for Hygge & West. I had my tattoo artist add a little touch of original tattoo style (sometimes called sailor style) in honor of my Grandpa’s Navy days as a gunner’s mate. Once he left the service and went to work in the steel mills of Pittsburgh his nickname actually was Sailor, so it felt all the more fitting.




The second is a super simple design that I did in about 2.5 seconds. As my moving date looms ever closer and this phase of my life in Oklahoma comes to an end, I wanted to commemorate it. The first time I moved here I was 18, a kid in an adult’s body. Now I’m 34 and the number of ways I’ve grown and changed as a person are too numerous to count. If you haven’t guessed what it stands for yet I’ll share – a rudimentary tornado. Not only are they an ever present threat each spring, but in this case a symbol of destruction and rebirth. (And as my friend pointed out, when I bend my arm up it looks like a Delta symbol. For change.)

These two tattoos bring my total to seven, though the swallow is the first I’ve gotten that will be seen on a regular basis. And of course I’m already planning the next one – they’re addictive like that! So how about it, have any tattoos of significance on you?


A Moving Update

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Image: Free People Blog

It’s been a few months since I’ve shared the news that I’m moving back to my hometown of Pittsburgh this year, so I thought I’d give you a candid little update on the process.

This is easily my most stressful move ever. Never before have I dealt with selling and buying homes simultaneously, let alone halfway across the country from one another. So many firsts. The real estate market is hot in Pittsburgh right now, but I honestly haven’t found many houses that I can picture myself living in. And the majority of homes in my price range are much older than here in Oklahoma City, so I guess I’ve been spoiled a bit and am having a tough time coming to grips with how much renovation I’m willing to take on. (Though it would definitely make for some good blog content.) I need to make the time to schedule a trip to check things out in person but keep putting it off. Because of the temperature of the market basically anything I’m into is snatched up immediately. Womp womp. I’m hoping to share more in this arena once I start narrowing it all down to some serious house choices, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride/panic attack.

On the financial front, after months of putting off pre-approval on a home loan I finally got it together and sent everything off this past weekend. Being self-employed the bank basically wants my first born child. Though I’m making a considerable amount more now than when I was approved for my first home loan in 2008 they’re requiring a cosigner. I realize this isn’t unheard of, but it feels like a gigantic defeat and maybe a little bit like punishment for being unmarried and self-employed. Luckily my stepdad is great and has offered to fill that gap, so hopefully I’ll soon know what I’ve been approved for this go around. (Fingers crossed, everything takes longer in Self-Employedville.)

This past week I started packing up – “decluttering” – my house so that it’s ready to go on the market once a few of these other kinks are worked out. It feels cathartic to be able to take my time and get rid of things that I don’t want to schlepp with me instead of just shoving everything into boxes all willy nilly. A few of the better discards are being set aside for an Instagram sale I plan on having in a few weeks for local OKCers (pick up only) – so if you’re nearby stay tuned!

So there you have it. This move, along with some health issues that have popped up, have made 2014 quite the handful. I’m trying desperately to keep the end game in mind, but some days it’s harder than others and the negative side wins over completely. I know these are total first world problems too, which then makes me feel guilty. It’s an infinite loop, y’all!


Insta May


Loved the leftovers from our Paint Dipped Copper Necklace project.

Of course I’m on the peony bandwagon – they’re one of my favorites.

I’m also on the blueberry bandwagon, eating them by the handful lately.

Had some QT with one of my favorite pups at Chirps & Cheers.

One of the prettiest evenings of the spring spent in a friend’s backyard at twilight.

I read The Interestings, maybe my favorite book so far this year.

I’ve been wearing my red Swedish Hasbeens constantly!

Bebe enjoyed her first patio dinner of the year at The Mule.

One of my oldest friends from college was in town, I don’t see him nearly enough.

I’m really happy with how these remixed grocery store flowers turned out.

Turned back time to the day I had my braces removed! Ahh!

Picked up a new pair of sneaks for otherwise unfun athletic-type activities.

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Insta April


I started off the month with a trip to Ventura, California for Craftcation where I spoke on panels about advanced social media and how I stay on track with my business.

April is generally a crazy busy travel month for me, and this year was no different.

A week and a half later I was at the New York City International Auto Show to help Nissan out with some social media efforts and check out the new incarnation of the Murano.

I’ve been wearing these three pairs of shoes as my spring staples – Bucketfeet, my 20 year old (!) Birkenstocks, and a new pair of Swedish Hasbeens (that I’m still breaking in, hence the bandages).

Bebe got a much needed haircut, check out her Before and After!

I discovered that Rainey has a head shaped like a hamburger that’s too much fun to squish.

While in NYC I went to the best party at a town home with an indoor pool that had a glass wall. Add synchronized swimmers and it got even better.

I’ve been having a moment with garden roses.

Another NYC moment, the most mouthwatering square doughnut covered with toasted coconut and filled with coconut cream. I still wake up in the morning thinking about it.

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Insta March


Bebe scored herself a new sweater for cold days and was especially thankful.
I bought my first bunch of ranunculus for the year.
Peanut stole my new Hudson Bay Caribou throw.
I had the best time speaking at Chirps & Cheers for their Real People series!
The latest addition to Womb Gallery.
This Green Tea with Coconut has changed my life.
Rainey the kitten turn one – not a girl/not yet a woman.
Also, I’m fairly certain she’s actually Bebe’s cat.
I bought the cutest little yellow ceramic bowl.

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Making the Move

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PHOTO: Urban Outfitters

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you might know that I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I’ve mentioned it here and there and I’m definitely not lacking when it comes to hometown pride. My entire family (other than my mom and stepdad) still live there, and I’ve missed it since the day I packed up my bags and headed off to college 16 years ago.

So last November I made the decision that I’m making the move back to Pittsburgh.

Everything is still very much in the early stages. Only last Friday did my realtor – the very same one who sold me my current home nearly six years ago – stop by to kick things into gear. I have yet to decide whether I’m going to buy or build (I’m crossing my fingers for the latter), and I still have to do preliminary things like see how much money I’ll be approved for. I bought this house, my first, when I was still working for a design firm and now that I’m self-employed things are bound to be a little different. The good thing is my realtor says that everything is in great shape – only a few paint touchups and packing up my personality before the house can go on the market. He doesn’t anticipate it will last long once listed, so it’s really a matter of figuring out my living situation in PA and then putting it up for sale. NO PRESSURE.

While I’m definitely looking forward to be closer to my family and back in my city, this entire move feels very bittersweet. Oklahoma City has been my home off and on for the past 16 years. In fact, I’m more entwined in it than I ever was in Pittsburgh because I became an adult here. I’m a part of the creative community. I get incredibly sad when I think about leaving, but the fact is the only things truly holding me here in OKC are my mom and stepdad. And they decided to move back to Pittsburgh, too! So the story wrote itself, really.

I have no plans to turn Design Crush into the trials and tribulations of moving halfway across the country, but I’m sure there will be a moving themed post occasionally since it’s about to become such a big part of my life. I hope you’ll hang around throughout the process, and if you live in Pittsburgh say hello. I’m looking to build my future community starting now!


Insta February


Bebe was ridiculously cute, as always.

It was unseasonably cold (like everywhere), and I took full advantage of my puffer coat.
I received the best valentine from my friend, artist Rebecca Rothfus.
I’m two months into my #365quotes project and haven’t missed one yet!
I found out I love blush colored roses.
I ate waaay too much sugar, specifically grocery store cupcakes.
And these macarons from Dana’s Bakery.
Peanut spent most of the month cuddled up to a fuzzy blanket on my bed.
I made bread for the first time ever! And it was so good.
My mom gave me this sweet little salt cellar.
Rainey is 11 months old now, and a super affectionate little kitty.
Piper’s been restless for warm weather and more outside time.
I’m so excited that spring is just around the corner.


Insta January


2014 hasn’t wasted any time out of the starting gate, I’ve already been on two trips with a few more looming. I kicked off January with a bouquet of shocking pink posies, in fact they’re only just now dead on my mantle. On a trip home to Pittsburgh my Dad and I made our annual pilgrimage to the original Primanti’s in the Strip District. So good. I was gifted Winter Cocktails and proceeded to read it like a novel – can’t wait to try them all out! I spent over two hours at Chirps & Cheers one afternoon rolling around on the floor with this handsome furry fellow. I know it’s time to chop my hair when I’m wearing topknots 24/7, so I said sayonara to 6 inches. The day before flying out to Alt Summit I treated myself to a mani-pedi and some fun nail designs. My #365quotes project is still going full steam ahead on Instagram – I haven’t missed a day yet! I attended a fun nature themed party and slapped on these temporary fern tattoos for a little something extra. I can always count on Apartment34 for a fun photo opp! Stay Wild is such a great mantra, no matter what the degree it’s followed to. Snapped this creepy/fun pic with BareMinerals and couldn’t help but make it my new avatar across the board. And I was so happy to be reunited with this extra snuggly guy when I got home from Salt Lake City!


The Year of Alt 2014

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This was the year I attended and spoke at my fifth Alt Summit.


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This was the year I attended a sponsored dinner with the lovely Jamie of Furbish Studio at Cafe Niche. And had the coolest dessert of pink grapefruit in a spun sugar bowl.


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This was the year with keynotes by Garance Doré, Every Mother Counts, and Ben Silbermann of Pinterest. And met Christy Turlington, who is just as beautiful on the inside as out.


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This was the year I moderated and spoke on a panel about Blog Revenue with Mom 101, Say Yes, and Little Green Notebook. And learned more than I spoke about.


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This was the year that patterned pants, pixie haircuts and brightly colored hair, black and white outfits, baby bellies, booties and smoking loafers, braids, wide-brimmed hats, bright and bold flowers, more than 10 men in attendance, balloons everywhere, and tulle skirts were definitely trending.


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This was the year I discovered the Grand America‘s incredible lattes, and wondered why I’d missing out on them for the past four years. It was also the year that I only attended my own panel and spent the rest of the time making Alt work for me in the best possible way.


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This was the year that smoke machines were in.


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This was the year where my biggest disappointment was missing out on holding a fox, a skunk, and a parrot.


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This was the year that black, gold, triple thick edged, and extra special goodies trended in business cards. And where I gave out a round I’ve Gotta Design Crush sticker instead.

Emily Jeffords // Paper and Stitch // Erica Reitman // Fabric Paper Glue // Meg Conley // Approaching Joy // Sara Moore // Brewed Together // City of Industry //  Wander + Find // Moorea Seal // Elsie Marley


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Lay Baby Lay // Bree Johnson // Design Lotus // The Curtis Casa // Brickyard Buffalo


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A Thousand Threads // House of Lucky // Mer Mag // Practical Punch // Grandiflora // Merrick White // Lovely Indeed // Roundhouse Designs // Jen Loves Kev // Oh Happy Day // Melissa Hope


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Lulu the Baker // Pyxie // One Good Thing // The Paper Mama // Minnow + Co // Hank & Hunt // Inside Out & About // Frock Files // Melissa Esplin // Come + Take It


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This was the year we all dressed in green and partied beneath monstrous cutout paper flowers thanks to Cricut.


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This was also the year we hopped between ELEVEN themed mini parties.


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This was the year we maybe broke our photobooth record by hitting every. single. one.


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Thanks for another amazing year, Alt!

All photos by Justin HackworthBrooke Dennis, and Kelly Beall.


Whitney English Day Designer

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I’m one of those people. The kind who prefers pen and paper to touchscreen and who needs to write down everything in order to remember it. I’ve used a day planner since high school, but 2013 was the year I found The One. The Whitney English Day Designer is so well thought out that I have to refrain from kissing the lady behind it each and every time I see her. From the worksheets in the front for the solo entrepreneur, to the full page allotted for each day, to the schedule and to do columns – I’m smitten. I’ve never felt more organized in my life, which is saying a lot. (Please note the importance of the last item on my Sunday to do list below.)


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