What's in my purse - errr....I mean, drawers.

You know how sometimes us bloggers will post 'WHAT' IN MY PURSE'? It's the post where we pretend that we have a super-clean purse and take photos of what we keep inside? Maybe not always, but 90% of the time these posts are a BLATANT LIE. 'Why' - you ask? Because instead of the person's bag being full of gum wrappers and receipts, we see a brand new Chanel compact, protein bar, pack of gum, cell phone, lip gloss and date book. 

Where are the receipts, pennies and wrappers?
Is that a label maker?
Using this type of post as inspiration, I present to you - 'WHAT'S IN MY DRAWERS'. Don't confuse yourself - I'm referring to dresser drawers. This is where I share my folding and storage secrets. DISCLAIMER: the room will probably not stay this clean permanently, and I freely admit this is short-term tidy. 
Tights and stockings perfectly organized using sandwich bags. 

This hidden over the door rack holds 36 pairs of shoes and short boots perfectly.  I just realized I still have a ton of shoes in my summer storage area. I guess I'm not done after all......
Tanks tops folded from the center out so I can see them clearly. 

Using a silverware caddy, I sorted out my bangles, flowers, sunglasses and hair pieces. The Godiva box holds my favorite military memorabilia pieces. Scented organic bars of soap and cotton swabs with lavender oil keeps the drawers smelling fresh. 

The perfect place for my evening bags and small clutches

I had a ton of lounge pants that didn't make the cut. New rule: if they don't fit in this small drawer, they get chucked. 

The left is short sleeve t-shirts, the right is long sleeve t's. Folded with the center seam out, I can quickly see which shirt is what without having to dig and make a huge mess. The front row is my favorite workout scarves and leggings. 

This vintage hat box holds my scarves. I purged a ton and have a 2 large lots listed in my store on eBay. 

The 2nd hat box stores my leather, workout and work gloves. This colorful ones on top are my favorite for chilly morning jogs. 

I know.. this isn't every single drawer. I'm sparing you the boring ones - as well as the 'none of your business' drawers. If you have a storage secret - please share! Want to join in on the fun? Post your own 'What's in your drawers (either perfectly staged or legit mess). 


PS - I too am guilty of 'faux-purse-content' blogging. You can see my perfectly staged purse  in this old post


After 2 weeks of chaos and delay (thanks to a plumbing disaster), the new dressing room is 98% finished. All that is left is adding the custom cut rug pieces and painting my chandelier (Tiffany blue). The room's theme is PARISIAN BISTRO. Part shabby chic, part glamour - part travel inspired. Take a peek and be inspired with your own space (sorry - giant photo posting, this might take awhile to upload):


An old wood door and bad lighting made this room look unappealing. 

VOILA! Isn't it lovely? New lighting, fresh paint, industrial clothing racks and finishing touches simply transformed this space. 

Strategically placed mirrors make this room look so much bigger than it is. 

Rack #1 features oak wood hangers, boots (in the black bin), laundry hamper in the center and large purses stacked in the canvas cube. The racks are on casters,so I can easily move the room around whenever the mood strikes. 

I decided to have one wall dedicated to my French street prints that I purchased during my last 2 trips to Paris.  I have a few more to hang, but need to find more  frames (they are weird sized prints). The ones on the left were difficult to hang evenly, so I strung them with ribbon and hung them up with one nail. I did it for convenience, but it actually added quite a bit to the overall look.

The sage-green velvet curtain has a tie back that I can drop down for privacy. The corner mirror is wrapped in black ribbon to give it the illusion of a wood frame. See the white stripe at the top of the wall? I painted that to look like crown molding. It's a painters trick to make your ceilings look higher. 

Vintage hat boxes store my gloves and scarves. 

The old store rack is perfect for my long necklaces, belts and  German hats. 

I found this dresser over the weekend at Goodwill for $60! Originally I was going to paint whatever dresser I found glossy-black, but when I found this I realized how perfect the light color and shabby-chic finish was. The velvet and wood chair I already had - that too was found at Goodwill about 2 years ago for $6.
The closet bar was removed and fits my old IKEA dresser  (painted white and hardware replaced) perfectly.  Add a lamp, mirror and decorations on the door - and it becomes a private cubby. The poster is from Paris and the mirror is from Ross. 

I can't wait to try on fun dresses and outfits in my new space. However I'm waiting to play dress-up until charcoal area rug arrives. The tile floor is fuh-reezing! See the green velvet tablecloth? I bought that last fall in France at the flea market for 20e. 

Here's a close-up on my dresser. The jewelry box is a thrift store find - $8. Ring display box - $9 (display store). The mirrored tray (thrift - $7) holds my favorite German steins and perfumes.

The next posting will my organizing secrets. It's kind of like 'WHAT'S IN MY PURSE', but instead I'll open up my drawers and show you how I organize my goodies. 



The dressing room is coming along slowly . My industrial garment racks arrived and these things are incredible. They are 5 feet long and can hold up to 500lbs. The bottom shelf is very durable and will hold containers of boots and scarves. 

I looked everywhere and this was the only site that offered these with ZERO plastic parts (still made in China of course......). These are the same ones used in the back rooms of department stores and warehouses.Do you want some too? You can find them here on eBay with FREE SHIPPING! 

The hangers need to match, and the light oak shade is driving me crazy. I've been looking for large sets of dark espresso with no luck. If I do find them, they are really expensive. Any ideas? 

See the tile floor? It looks nice, but it's really cold on bare feet. Yesterday I found a charcoal fluffy carpet remnant and am having it cut and bound into 2 custom pieces.  These rugs will be perfect - and a total bargain at $100 for the custom cut-and-binding work. 

The doorway is open,  so I'm going to hang a heavy velvet curtain and install a tie-back rack (technically a towel rack) to give me the French draped look I'm craving. Clever, right? 

I'm off today to find a 6-drawer dresser that I can refinish with shiny black paint. More to come!


Dressing Room Mayhem & Masquerade Outfit

UPDATE on the dressing room relocate (insert yelling and cursing here). 

I spent 9 hours on Monday taping, painting and doing all of the finishing work on my soon-to-be dressing room. After I cleaned up my painting mess, moved the dresser in and mopped the floor I felt satisfied with the changes and was excited to start moving the bigger pieces over in the morning. 

YOU WONT BELIEVE THIS: 15 minutes after finishing the room, the bathroom sprung a leak in the bathtub (conveniently located right above the new dressing room) and destroyed over 1/2 of the ceiling and flooded the new dressing room. Seriously, 15 minutes later. What are the odds? So now I'm in the middle of two dressing rooms as I wait for the repairs (thanks to Mr. C and his crafty home skills) to be finished. The ceiling is back up - so now we just have to add texture and repaint. 

With that as a backdrop story - please excuse the mess in my upcoming photos. 

As requested - here is the dress I wore to the masquerade ball. It's a vintage 60's shift dress in beige with gold trim. I had about 6" taken off to keep it short and spicy. I paired it with skin colored fishnets and black platform slingbacks. I bought this at a local vintage boutique, $80 plus $25 for hemming. 

Vintage faux fur coat with gold buttons. I've been dying to wear these two pieces together, so the Masquerade ball was the perfect event.  Coat - thrifted $12.

OOTD - French Nautical Theme
Striped shirt by Banana Republic, William Rast jeans, op shopped leather ankle boots. 
I've been wanting to show you my new trench coat. It was a vintage find for a mere $3 - and in perfect like-new condition. I had it hemmed to right above the knee - and now it's my perfect French style trench. Total cost with alterations: $23! Bonus: It is waterproof and easy machine wash.
So versatile - it looks great worn open
Or belted. I like the classic venting in the back. 

I'm hoping the dressing room will be finished soon. My industrial racks showed up today - so it's getting closer. 


RECYCLED FASHION - Ms. Renie returns

Hello everyone - do you remember Ms. Renie?? I featured her in a post in December with a some thrift store finds, and we were seeking reader feedback on how to style her outfit. Guess what - she followed your advice and was kind enough to send me an update. 

Pre-reader advice.
Ms. RENIE SAYS..... Dear Michelle, 

So finally I have some pictures of the changes I made using the your reader's feedback. I LOVED all of it and it helped me to explore more styles & different ways to put things together that I would not have thought of before. 

What took me so long to get things together was trying to find a tailor to shorten the dress. After calling around the least expensive place I found want $30 dollars. I was going to pay that until I noticed there was fraying on the shoulder. I could not justify spending $30 on a hem when other parts of the dress were falling apart. 

I am not a seamstress, but thought I would use hem tape to shorten it - but of course, never managed to find the time. I went ahead and wore the dress to church 'as-is' and got a lot of compliments. 

MICHELLE SAYS...... I agree! Why spend $$ on something that is falling apart? By pairing the dress with dark heeled boots and adding a belt to define your waist - this dress looks completely different on you!  I love your hair up, you look very pretty. Suggestion: little dresses are so cheap at the thrift store that once you tire of this dress - go pick out a pretty spring one. I have tried using hem tape before, and it doesn't look professional and I ended up throwing the garment away. You might want to practice using it before you put it on your next favorite piece. $30 for a hem - total rip off btw. 

I changed the jewelry because with the belt the long necklace just did not seem to go to me so I chose a shorter one but still incorporated the new earrings. (Yes!)

I liked the messy bun idea and just made it a side bun. (You look great with your hair up!)

I used the jacket with jeans and dressed it up with the shoes and a scarf. I took the hat idea (I do not own a leopard hat but I had this one in my closet) and made the jacket more casual with the hat and shoes (I wore this outfit to a kids birthday party). The layers look perfect. Approachable yet classically stylish. Love the new you!

I may have created more of a fashion faux-pas with what I changed but in the end I felt really good about myself and that is what matters right? There are NO fashion faux-pas if you feel great in what you're wearing. (Obvious Exceptions: pajama pants, sweat pants, hoodies, tennis shoes-etc.) By layering and adding in different pieces, you are creating you own look -  thus your own personal style. Added Bonus  - you found some great pieces for cheap at the thrift store so not only do you feel pretty, you also feel practical. You don't have to spend a ton to look great.  

Thank you Ms. Renie for sharing your latest pics. Keep them coming!! We love seeing your outfits, plus its always fun to offer advice and have someone listen :)


VENETIAN MASQUERADE BALL - fun with a mask & the best people watching ever.

After our puppet party experience in San Diego, Mr. C and I have been on the quest to find new and different evenings out. The comfortable 'DINNER & a MOVIE' can only be so exciting - so to expand our lives we are on the hunt each week for the unusual. Lucky us - we saw there was a local masquerade ball to raise money for the symphony. We dressed up, donned feather & glitter masks (I had some already thank to my New Orleans trip a couple of years ago) and headed to the party. 

It was great people watching to see all of the unique masks and ball gowns. The theme was black tie, but it ended up being more 'costumey' than formal. Women's dresses ranged from southern style gowns with hoops to floor length beaded gowns. Men wore kilts (yes - still confused over that one), suits, and tuxedos with capes and top hats. 

Wearing a mask sounds more fun than it is. You lose peripheral vision skills, and it feels like you're looking down two long tubes of wrapping paper.  Since I have to wear a gas mask on occasion (military stuff), I was fine with it - but Mr. C was literally blind and kept running into things. His black feather bird mask eventually became head gear, and he switched to the teeny-tiny silver one. His own custom look. 

STUPID EMBARRASSING STORY: Later on in the evening this guy approached me and asked if he could sketch me (this was a free service being offered at the event). Feeling flattered and singled out, I graciously said yes. As he was drawing it, he kept saying - "Wow, this is turning out great, you have great facial features - I think you're going to be really pleased with this-BLAH-BLAH-BLAH" 

My lovely blogger friends - I present to you his CRAP drawing........
Seriously? Wth? Why is it caricatures and sketches make you either look crazy or like a totally different person. Ego........ crash and burn. Overall the ball was SO MUCH FUN, and if you get a chance to go to one - please do. 

PS: Ms. Renie is up tomorrow with Recycled Fashion!

The Dressing Room - Reveal & Relocate

You've seen in it in the background of my photos, and I speak of it often - but this post will give you a glimpse of my favorite room in the house: MY DRESSING ROOM. 

Previously a bedroom, I converted this space about 2 years ago based on an inspiring article in Marie Claire. It highlighted the dressing room on the set of Gossip Girls. My old bedroom had similar coloring so as you can imagine.....the rest was history. 

The bedroom conveniently features deep built-ins. Perfect for storing everything from off season clothes to luggage.
Here are a few angles of space. I left the room messy as-is,because I didn't feel the need to make it perfect as if I was shooting for a magazine. I used this room constantly, and the photos represents its true state - WELL USED. 

Originally brass ($20 at a home recycling center). I spray painted it glossy black and Mr. C hung it for me (was originally a ceiling fan).

Steel colored peg board makes for a great purse and scarf display. The scarves are beginning to take over.....

Cheap chest of drawers from IKEA painted black and added simple hardware. Shoe rack, vintage jewelry box and movie reel are vintage finds. 

Outside table covered with vintage velvet table cloth picked up for $20  last Fall in France. Chair was a thrift find - $4.99!

Another angle. See the German stein on the left?

One closet panel. I use the interiors like a scrap book and tape up photos, inspiring articles and hotel room keys to remind me of fun trips. 

Close up of one of my memory boards

Rolling rack of vintage finds. 

Mirror was previously in the bathroom before I remodeled it. I wrapped  & glue-sticked the mirror with black ribbon to give it a border effect. 

The angle from the other side of the room. The walls are light gray, and the floor is a gray-blue (carpet).
So why am I showing this to you now? Well.... the dressing room is moving. I'm moving the bedrooms around, so I'm going to create a different dressing room in a different room in the house. I'm going to use a slightly different theme on the next one. More to come!