Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My New Adventure: Owning a Home

I closed on my first home on April 3. I've taken the last few weeks to move in and make the place my own. After a lot of painting, numerous trips up three flights of stairs, and many many uber rides home from Home Depot, I am officially ready to reveal my new home!!

I thought it would be really fun to show before and after pics. The before pics are the ones that were used to list the property when it was on the market. The after pics were taken with my little iPhone 6 camera… So please bare with the amateur photography.

So let's start with the Living Room!

Now the Kitchen!

Here's my bedroom!

And the spare bedroom / my office!

The Bathroom!

And of course, the deck!

There are a few things in my new home that came with the place and other things that I purchased. I just wanted to show them off!

Shower Organizer from Target

Custom shelving installed by yours truly and Loren! from Home Depot and Ikea
The tallboy dresser is from the Randolph Street Market

My matching set of Lane side tables from Furniture Underground

Sleek laundry hamper from West Elm

Shelving came with the place and various prints from and Grunt Monkey.

Origami Curtains from Target

Awesome inverted shelves from Ikea.

Key holder clock from West Elm

Dish drying rack from Ikea

My succulent stand from West Elm

This whole process of home buying was amazing, scary, exciting, frustrating, and awesome. At the end of the day I have so many people to thank for helping me get through this process!!

My amazing realtor Stephanie Sullivan. Call or email her if you start looking to buy in the Chicagoland area. She is nothing short of amazing. I can't even start to express how grateful I am to her.

My mortgage agent Jeff Coole. He helped me with so many rookie questions and helped me understand more about the mortgage approval process. He was there for me every step of the way… even when my closing day was the same week his first child was born.

Miss Megan Russell. This lady sat by me every day at work and answered all my silly little questions! Not only did she refer me to the best realtor in the city of Chicago, help me find home owners insurance, and give me a kitchen table, but she was just there when I needed someone who understood what I was going through.

Loren's parents Phill and Mary Olsen. The talented Phill Olsen slaved away two weekends in a row changing locks, removing shelves, repairing shotty workmanship, installing bathroom cabinets, and making the living room curtains look perfect. Mary was there day one helping me unpack all the boxes and organizing my kitchen. These guys can't even imagine how helpful they were. That being said, Phill does some great work. Handy man is an understatement. If you need anything repaired in your place, let me know and I will pass along his info.

Then there was Linzi South and Sam Stivers. Both of them let me use there cars to make Home Depot and Ikea runs. Letting me use their cars for just a few hours saved me hundreds of dollars in rental fees.

And most of all, my amazing, patient, strong, and incredibly understanding better half, Loren. He went on almost every single apartment showing with me. He held me when I got frustrated with the buying process. He helped me make lists of pros and cons so I could decide which place I liked more. He moved my whole apartment up three flights of stairs. In one day. He was excited for me the day I got the keys and is still excited when I talk about how much I love my new vacuum. This process would have seriously sucked without him.

Home buying is a crazy yet super rewarding process. If you have any questions about the process, please let me know. I would love to help you out!

The house warming is in a few weeks and I can't wait for everyone to see the place!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Recycled T-Shirt Pillows

It's been a while sine my last post, but I've been busy with a few projects that I will be updating the blog with this week.

The first project I wanted to share was my new Etsy!

In my last post, I showed off some of the t-shirt pillows I made as Christmas gifts. I got such a response from these pillows that I decided to make more and sell them on my Etsy shop Britty Jane.

I am so excited about the amazing progress the shop has made in the last month. My pillows are being added to many Etsy users' favorites and added to curated Etsy collections. I've actually even sold a few!

I was also approached for a feature in the blog Design Feast.

While I love the attention my shop is getting, I just love so many things about doing this project.

1- I love that it allows me to be creative in a different way than I am creative in my day job.

2- I have found a way to preserve unused t-shirts.

3- I finally have found something to use my sewing machine on!

I hope to add more pillows soon. That being said, if you have any t-shirts you would like made into a pillow, please let me know! You can contact me at for any custom orders!

Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Christmas 2014. Part 1.

Last year, I attempted a DIY Christmas and it proved to be a huge success!! So this year, I tried it again! It was a bit harder than last year but was just as successful!

For Mom + Dad (and my married siblings):

Earlier this year, I did some design work for one of my photographer friends Kristi. (Check out her amazing work at Instead of charging her for my work, we did a trade! I designed her logo, business cards, and website in exchange for a family photo shoot. She did my whole family and my married siblings' small families.

Then I printed the family photos, framed them, and gave them to my siblings.

My Teenage Sisters:

I have to admit, the teenagers were the hard ones this year. I was inspired to make their gift one Saturday a few weeks before Christmas while cleaning out my closet. I had these awesome t-shirts that didn't fit me anymore but I couldn't build up the courage to just throw them away. So I was thinking about ways that I could recycle these pillows and give them to my sisters... That's when I thought about pillows!

I just cut out a square section form the t-shirt, turned it inside out, sewed around the edges, stuffed with cotton stuffing, and sewed up the stuffing hole. It only took about 10 minutes per pillow!

Here are a few more pics of pillows I made for kids I babysit and my boyfriend! The best part about these pillows are how soft they are.

My Whovian 6 year old sister:

My 6 year old sis is OBSESSED with Doctor Who! So this year I decided to create her a screen printed TARDIS poster.

A few years ago I created a London is Calling screenprint. I wanted to reuse one of the layers form this screenprint to create the TARDIS. Unfortunately, once I printed the TARDIS layer, it didn't line up with the London is Calling layer... so instead of just scrapping the project, I hand painted the missing layer. Then I framed it!

The Tweens I Babysit:

I've been babysitting Sarah and Natalie for over 6 years!! Last year I gave them home made aprons and they LOVED THEM! So this year I had to do something better. I knew that these girls had a few family vacations planned this year so I tried to think of something they could use on vacation.

After lots of thinking, I decided it would just be best to give them travel bags of just fun things. I should have made the travel bags but I found these ones and thought that they were just too perfect!!

I filled their bags with fuzzy socks, hair chalk, nail polish, candy, and home made hair elastics!

I have a few more gifts that I made so I will be posting more soon!! Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I can't sleep! I have an idea!

Tonight, while babysitting, as I was trying to get 9 year old Natalie to fall asleep around 10:45pm,(an hour and a half past her bedtime) she suddenly turned over and exclaimed, "I have an idea!" I asked her what her idea was. She explained that she could start a cupcake bakery and she could call it "Natalie's."

In an effort to get her back to sleep, I said, "That's a great idea! Let's sleep on it!" But that wasn't good enough for this rambunctious preteen. She got up and started searched her book case. I asked what she was doing. She replied, "I'm looking for a notebook. I have to draw a logo!" While I really wanted her to go to sleep, I thought this was rather hilarious and I wanted to see what she could come up with.

Just then I heard the downstairs door opening. Her parents were home. Busted. It was 11:00pm. Natalie was to be asleep 2 hours ago. I come down the stairs and explain to the parents that Natalie is indeed still awake however, she is in the process of creating a new cupcake brand and she shouldn't be disturbed.

Natalie runs down the stairs after me and hands me a paper. All while telling her parents that they are not allowed to see what the paper is. I look at the paper and find a logo for Natalie's cupcake business.

So, once I got home, I thought that this logo was so cute, I decided to actually make little Natalie's logo come to life. A half hour later and this is where I landed. 

Definitely not the world's best logo, nor my best design work, however, I think it's good enough for 10 year old Natalie's bakery. I dunno, we'll have to see what Natalie says.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Marathon Training

Needless to say, I've been busy. I ran my first half marathon in May and this weekend I will be running the 2014 Chicago Marathon. Training in and of itself takes up a lot more time than I would have ever imagined. I needed to run 3 times during the week (at least a 40 min run each time) and a long run on the weekends. This run started at 6 miles and increased all the way to 20 miles. It was hard work but really, really worth it. Not only am I spending all this time training but I'm also running for an awesome charity called Back On My Feet. It's a great organization that gives hope to those struggling with homelessness. This organization teaches people how to run and in turn helps them establish skills that will translate into other areas of their life.

There are so many people to thank that have helped me in my marathon training. It has been a journey that I seriously wouldn't have been able to do without so many people.

First and foremost, my amazing and wonderful boyfriend, Loren. When we first met, I told him that I was training for a marathon. Instead of being a distraction, he has ran almost every single mile of my training with me. He has stood and cheered for me at every 8k and half marathon. He has nursed me through injuries and encouraged me to keep running when I felt I couldn't. He has kept me on track for a healthy runners diet (except for that one Oreo milkshake). He has cooked me meals when I was too tired to cook after a 12 mile run. He has helped me bake and deliver pastries for Rise and Run, my main method of fundraising. He ran the twenty mile race with me even though it was just hours before one his best friend's weddings. He held me while I fell asleep at 8pm every Sunday night. He comforted me when I cried about injuries and training stress and whatever thing was wrong at that moment. He has honestly been the biggest support. I am so lucky and blessed to have him.

Carmen has been my next biggest support. She's the one who had the big idea of training for a half marathon and the even bigger idea of training for the full marathon. She trained with me and when she was able to build a faster pace she still encouraged me daily to keep training. We ran the same races, she cooked amazing carbo loading meals, and was my partner in crime with Rise and Run. She was aways available to talk about training, express concern for my minor injuries, and even if she didn't know it, she inspired me to do my very best in every run. I am so lucky that I met her when I did. Her friendship and inspiring example has changed me and helped me through a pretty rough time in my life. I can't wait to see her at the finish line!

The next biggest support isn't really a person but a big group of people who have donated to my fundraiser and those who have asked me on a daily basis how my training is. These are people I work with, friends I haven't seen in years, family, and Facebook friends! While your questions and donations seem like small tokens of support, they help in more ways than you can imagine. Running, at any distance, is mostly mental. While my body may be ready, I need the support of all of you to help me push across that finish line at 26.2 miles.

This journey has been more time consuming and emotional than I could have ever imagined. I have found a new respect for anyone training for a marathon but most of all I have found a new respect for myself. While I have not lost a single pound in my training, I have gained more self esteem. I don't look at my dress size or the number on the scale. I look at how far my body can run and how healthy I feel.

There is not a feeling in the world that can make you feel more powerful than running. While I was on a 15 day trip in Europe, a man in Berlin assaulted me on a busy street at 11 in the morning. I felt so helpless and afraid. The incident really effected the way I saw myself and I didn't think I could spend the rest of my trip alone. The next day I woke up and did a 15 mile run along the Berlin Wall Trail. I felt strong and empowered. That man didn't take anything away from me. I had the strength to get up that morning and face a 15 mile run. Running doesn't only make you physically strong, it makes you realize your potential for all kinds of strength.

My training has let me see amazing parts of Chicago and so many other places around the world. At first, running a 15 mile run on vacation seemed like the worst thing to do while I was trying to relax but it ended up giving me one of the best vacation experiences of my life. While training is the hardest part, it was also the best part.

While I am nervous about Sunday, I can't wait until I am able to see that finish line and run past it. Thank you to all of those you have supported me in one way or another these past few months. See you at mile 26.2.

Also, there's 26 more hours until my fundraiser ends!! Get your donations in:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy #@^%!#* Valentines Day...

Visit the site at

So I hate Valentines Day, like every other single schmuck out there. So this year I'm striking back. I'm telling the world why I hate Valentine's Day. After 23 perpetual years of singleness, I decided to online date. I tried the big guys: and I even tried some new startups like and

After months of playing on these sites and not getting even as little as one message, a wink, or whatever, I decided to try the free sites. You know what I'm talking about. I went on one date and felt defeated. So in an act of desperation, and trying to get over someone who was no longer in my life, I got Tinder. You know what I'm talking about. The hot or not app.

If you're not familiar I'll give you a quick break down. You connect the app with your facebook account. It pulls some photos, your likes, and your friends. Then you are shown guys. Just their face and any friends or likes that you have in common on facebook. You swipe right if you like them and left if you don't. If you swipe right and they also swiped right on you then you are sent a message saying "It's a Match!" If you swipe right and they didn't, they will never know that you like them. If you swipe left, you never see them again and they never know you didn't swipe left.

Soo... since dating the old fashion way did't work and none of the other more "reputable" sites worked, I dove head first into the world of Tinder. I started an account on October 5, 2013. It's now Valentine's Day 2014. I've recreated a true account of my Tinder dating journey over the past 5 months. Every date or conversation referenced really happened. You can't make this stuff up folks. So go have fun. Play around and maybe you'll start to feel some of the pain I've managed to power through. And remember, if you ever need a good Tinder story, please reach out because I've got plenty.

Let's Find Love at

Friday, December 27, 2013

DIY Christmas 2013. Part 4.

The past two posts I've been explaining what I've done for my DIY gifts this Christmas. I wanted to spend time on creating gifts this year instead of spending money on something meaningless.

My Brother and his new Wife:
My brother got married in November. I was designing his wedding invitations with his soon to be wife and she would pin things on Pinterest for my inspiration. She really liked these emblem looking things. So I designed one for them. It was the hero image on their website

So for Christmas I decided to take this emblem and create a stamp for them. I had an internship at a design agency about 2 years ago. They have a laser printer. So I contacted my boss there to see if I could use his machine to make a stamp for my brother and sister-in-law's Christmas present. Once the rubber was printed, I superglued the stamp to a wood back and wrapped it for them with a black stamp pad. Ashley's face on Christmas morning was so surprised. It was a pretty simple gift but a gift that meant a lot.

I find it extremely hard to get grandparents anything. Especially the grandmother on my dad's side. She really just loves her grandchildren and would like to see them more. Last year I gave my grandma a picture frame with pictures of me and her throughout the years. She started crying in the middle of the Christmas party. It was hard for me not to tear up either. 

This year my siblings and I got a photo album and each wrote a short letter to our grandmother sharing our favorite memory of her and telling her how much we love her. Unfortunately, we weren't able to snap of pictures of the book before we gave it to her. 

The book started out with a letter from out youngest sister. Then next page was the most recent picture of that sister. Then next pages were letters from the rest of us, youngest to oldest. My grandmother started reading them out loud. Once she got to my 17 year old sister's letter, her voice got really high and shaky. She started to cry. She couldn't read the rest of the letters out loud so she read them silently. We watched as she smiled and we could see her taking those walks down memory lane with us. When she read the last letter, she closed the book and looked at all of us with tears in her eyes. She pulled the book close to her chest as said "This is going in my casket." 

Classic Grandma. Always the comic relief.