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I’ve been gone for a while. It wasn’t my usual procrastination or getting overly busy. I didn’t feel like blogging about home things because I didn’t really have a home.

Within two weeks of moving into a new rental house in August, our house was broken into. My laptop, where I’d lovingly written every blog post on Red Leaf Style, and where I kept all of my photos, was stolen. Poof. Gone.

For about a month I was in limbo. The place where I was living wasn’t my “home”. At least it wasn’t a place where I felt safe or happy.

I was a little lost.

This experience has reinforced more than ever that I’m a real homebody. I love home. I can’t wait to get home from work and make the space where I live comfy and inviting. I want to fill it with the smell of brewed coffee; I want to bake treats and cook dinner and sit on the floor with my doggie. I want to make a mess and start projects and decorate. Of course, decorate.

I couldn’t do any of those things after our house was broken into. And I didn’t want to.

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But there’s a happy ending to this story.

My boyfriend and I found a new rental house that’s perfect for us. And it makes me happy every time I walk through the front door.

The stress of moving twice in less than two months, packing up your life, unpacking it, and packing it up all over again was a bit intense.

But I’m home now. And I can’t wait to share it with you.

My Column in VintageKC Magazine Fall 2014

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Although I don’t usually talk about it here on Red Leaf Style, I’m a writer, not just a blogger. I write professionally to earn a living and because I love it.

For fun, I’ve been freelancing for VintageKC magazine, a local Kansas City magazine dedicated to decorating, DIY projects and fashion, all with a vintage focus.

The magazine completely fits my style. It’s vintage for the modern girl (or guy). From glamping to the best paint to distress furniture, the magazine has a lot of great ideas for today’s vintage lover.

I’m writing a regular column called Vintage Memories. Basically, every issue I interview someone interesting and build a story around a vintage photograph we dig up. It’s really fun. And I love how this issue’s column turned out. There’s Miracle Whip sandwiches and 50s dinner parties and a lot of other interesting tidbits from a lady who has lived in her childhood home for more than 60 years.

Since I talk alot about vintage here on Red Leaf Style, I wanted to invite you to check out this issue’s column. You can find it in the digital edition on page 46.

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Old Dresser Redo

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Taking something sad and outdated and transforming it into something beautiful? That’s my favorite. Especially with furniture.

Take this dresser. I bought this sad number for $15 at a garage sale. It needed a lot of love. The drawers were fragile and starting to fall apart. (Thanks for fixing those, dad!) It was full of scratches and the stain was wearing off. But I loved the pretty scalloped detail at the bottom.

Here’s the before.

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And now the after.

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This dresser just shows that it doesn’t take a lot of know-how to make a big transformation. I didn’t do anything crazy. I simply sanded the dresser and the drawers; gave it a couple of coats of Valspar paint in Crisp Linen; and perked it up with new aged bronze knobs.

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I love the classic look of the crisp white and near-black pulls. I’m really happy with it. What do you think?


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5 (Possibly Ridiculous) Tips on Packing Up Your Home

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Let’s start off by first stating that I am no expert mover. I’ve just done it a lot. You should also probably know that my methods of moving might not be for everyone. I don’t hire expert movers; I sweet-talk friends (preferably friends who own trucks) with promises of free beer. I don’t buy packing supplies. (I knew that tissue paper I saved for the past two years would come in handy!) My methods may be unusual, but I have picked up some tips that may help you if you’re surrounded by boxes and at a loss for how to pack. Here’s how I pack my home for a move.

1. Assemble your packing supplies
One time I moved everything I owned in reusable bags. You know, the kind you take to the grocery store. Granted I did this move over several weeks, but it was still a bit extreme. I don’t recommend this. Get some boxes. Many stores will give them to you for free. You’ll be a lot happier if you have the supplies you need. There’s nothing worse than scrambling at the last minute trying to find something to put your stuff in.

2. Start with the easy stuff
You have to start packing somewhere. I recommend zoning in on the items that fit easily in boxes (and aren’t breakable.) I essentially own a small library’s worth of books, so I start with those. Books are easy. They fit nicely in boxes, you don’t have to worry about them breaking, and you feel like you’ve accomplished something after you pack them. Other easy items to pack first include magazines, scrapbooks, photo albums and notebooks. Just use small boxes because this stuff is heavy.

3. Go through your things as you pack
Purging the stuff you don’t need saves you a lot of extra hassle on moving day. As you pack, make a donate pile and take that stuff to a secondhand store before you move. Trash anything unnecessary. Trust me, purging feels so good. And there’s nothing like the thought of having to lug all of that stuff up stairs, through hallways and in and out of trucks to get you to finally get rid of those holey socks and broken furniture.

4. Use items you already own as padding
I’m not a fan of bubble wrap. After you use it to move, it just goes in the trash. Save the planet a little by using items you already own as padding. I love wrapping dishes and other breakables in bath towels, dishtowels and rags. They make better padding anyway! I’ve even been known to use clothes as padding. Wrap that vase in a sweatshirt! Plus, it saves space. You have to move all of those towels and clothes anyway, may as well as put them to use while packing.

5. Give yourself plenty of time
It’s going to take longer to pack than you think. No really, it’s going to take longer to pack than you think. Start packing anything unnecessary as soon as possible. You’ll be happy you did.

I hope my tips help you out this moving season. I just finished a move, so I know it’s not an easy process. Let me know your favorite packing tips in the comments!

Weekend in St. Louis

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Decorating your home doesn’t come without inspiration. And I find that I feel most inspired to get creative with my home when I’m away from it for a while. Sound counterintuitive? Maybe. But it’s no secret that a little fun can leave you refreshed mind, body and soul.

This past weekend I spent a little time in St. Louis, Missouri. I wanted to share a few spots I went to (and loved!) in case you plan to visit.

Here are some great areas to explore:

Central West End

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This cute eclectic area features some nice eateries and a couple shops. We ate at Pi Pizzeria, which has locations all around St. Louis. And I couldn’t visit a city without stopping at a local bookstore. So, I bought a book after perusing Left Bank Books.

Clayton

This neighborhood has a nice strip of restaurants and boutiques. We ate at a really delicious salad restaurant called Crushed Red.

The Loop

Blue Print Coffee

This funky area features six blocks filled with shops and restaurants. I had fun perusing a secondhand shop that I can’t remember the name of and sipping an iced coffee from Blueprint Coffee.

The Hill

Starting in the 1890s, Italian immigrants clustered in this area of St. Louis. Today, the neighborhood still holds to that heritage with dozens of Italian restaurants and stores. We ate at Zia’s, a reasonably priced (and tasty) classic Italian restaurant.

Other highlights:

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company: A craft brewery with a fabulous patio lined with picnic tables and lit by string lights.

Downtown/The Arch: We stayed downtown, which made it an easy walk to the Arch. (Be sure to check out the free museum below it!)

Forest Park: This 1,300-acre park is home to the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, The Muny and the Saint Louis Zoo.

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