Details About Our CONDO

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

(Not our place. But give it up for our neighbor's Halloween enthusiasm.) 

Yay, we bought a house! Oh shit, we bought a house.

Yay, we bought a house! Oh shit, we bought a house.

Ever since we got the call from our realtor that our bid had been accepted, roughly four weeks ago while we were at the dog park with Harlow, that has been my mental state. I go from excited to terrified at any given moment.

Because buying a house is really cool, it's also really really scary. My chest gets tight thinking about it. If I ever have a slow sales day with t-shirts I panic (more so than usual.) Grind, hustle, work, HARDER.

And I keep forgetting I'm supposed to call it a "condo" not a house, Chris likes to remind me. I don't like the word "condo" simply because when I was little I once told an adult that "my grandma lives in a condom on the golf course," and I will NEVER FORGET that humiliation. I wasn't quite sure what a condom was at the time, but based on the expression of the person I was talking to, I knew my grandma most definitely shouldn't be living in one.

And so I stayed away from using the word "condo" for the next twenty years just to be safe. It's also why I refused to order "virgin daiquiris" as a child and would instead very politely ask for, "a non-alcoholic daiquiri, please." As if the waitress was really going to bring me, an 8 year old kid, a regular daiquiri if I didn't make sure to say non-alcoholic. Lols. Again, I didn't know what the word "virgin" meant, but I wasn't going to risk it.

But back to our CONDO. It's located in Wicker Park, which is going to be a big step up in the hipster level for Chris and I. We've been going there every weekend lately and I feel like such a yuppy loser in that neighborhood.

Oh did you get that polka dot cardigan at J Crew? How cute, Taylor. My grandma likes that store, too.

That's my inner dialogue ^^^ whenever I'm surrounded by the very cool dressed people of Wicker.

It feels like a different city over there compared to what we've known for the past six years. The vibe is entirely different from our quiet little Lincoln Park days. But I'm excited for it. Chicago has so many cool neighborhoods and it's due time we branch out.

Also, dogs are everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. We went to brunch on Sunday in Wicker and dogs were sitting on benches and chairs next to their owners AT BRUNCH (outdoors obviously) but still.

And this is where I drop the mic and tell you we have three bathrooms. THREE. I don't know what to do myself, we've lived with one closet sized bathroom for the past six years. I'll probably have to turn the third one into a bedroom Stephanie Tanner style because let's not be wasteful.

We have our final walk through tomorrow, close on Thursday, and then my head explodes Friday.

There's currently a check sitting in my desk drawer that I have to bring to closing. The amount on the check makes me dizzy. Dizzy with fear and excitement. I can't believe we're doing it, but more importantly, I'm so grateful we're in the position to be able to do so.

And just writing this post has filled me with anxiety all over again so now I must go figure out how to sell 10000000 more t-shirts so I can sleep tonight.

Who am I kidding I'm not sleeping this entire week. It's MOVING TIME.

The Cubs Are Going To The World Series

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Cubs are going to the World Series. This hasn't happened since 1945, and they haven't won the series since 1908.  Given that Chicago is an insanely huge sports city, this is a big deal. I witnessed first hand just how big of a deal it is on Saturday night after we beat the Dodgers.

So what's the vibe like in Chicago at the moment? Let me paint you a quick image.

First of all, you can't walk outside without hearing someone singing "Go Cubs Go, Hey, Chicago, what do you say, the Cubs are gonna win today."

I'm not even outside and I hear it. (RIGHT NOW.) Then again, it could just be that I have over zealous neighbors. Almost every single window, business and residential, has a proud white "W" flag hanging in their window or off their balcony.

I won't pretend to be a huge baseball fan, but even I am caught up in all this. How couldI not be? It's fun and exciting and the energy here right now is contagious.

But let me take you back to Saturday night.

We watched the game at Prost, a nice little German bar near our house where beers are served in boots, everyone sits at huge communal tables, and a polka band in the corner plays during every commercial break. They serve pretzels as big as beach balls and cheese curds that are to die for. To say I was in heaven would be an understatement.

It was a great mix of people with a lot of group camaraderie going on. Every time we'd score strangers would high five, break out into song, and after the seventh inning stretch we all sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame. (Naturally.)

But after that final inning when tabs were being closed there was a mad dash to get to Wrigleyville, which is roughly 1.5 miles from where we live/where we were drinking.

For the record, I kind of loathe Wrigleyville. Sorry to offend anyone, but it's usually pretty awful, full of drunk 23 year old bros, doing drunk year 23 year old bro things. They're usually not from Chicago but here on Chad's bachelor trip ready to "get hammered in Wrigley and do other Chicago stuff."

Let's just say it's not my cup of tea. But after we won on Saturday night Chris had that glimmer in his eye as he asked, "want to go up there?"

Alas, Chris used to be a drunk 23 year old bro.

I sucked up my pride (and fear of drunk crowds) and said, "sure." And so with the rest of the Cubs fan, we ran up to Wrigley to celebrate.

Within five blocks the streets were taken over by mobs of people chanting, waving W flags, and spraying champagne in the air. Fireworks were blasting in the sky and strangers were hugging. It was exciting and weird, but really kind of cool to take part in for that moment.

But I knew it was just a matter of time before mob mentality took over and it wouldn't be quite as fun anymore.

When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup a few years ago the same thing happened in Wrigley and once again, we were there to witness it. People went nuts and sprayed champagne and then quickly turned to smashing windows of businesses and throwing beer bottles toward the police.

Our city just won something great, let's celebrate by trashing it!

I'll never understand why people do this. Mobs turn people insane. During the Hawks celebration I watched a group of guys turn a car over just to be assholes.

Anyway, as soon as I saw a twenty something girl climbing a very thin, yet very tall pole on top of a news van while others cheered "Climb! Climb! Climb!" I was ready to go, the fun had happened.

We stayed for just a bit longer, then turned back around to walk home when the police started to break things up.

But I'm pretty sure everyone in the city was singing "Go Cubs Go" for all of Saturday night, and early Sunday morning because I fell asleep still hearing it.

So based on what I saw Saturday, if, I mean WHEN we win the World Series this city is going to erupt.

I'm excited. And also a little nervous.

My Favorite Fall Sweaters (All Under $50)

Friday, October 21, 2016

And now for a very VERY important piece of writing called, My Favorite Fall Sweaters.

We all like a good fashion post every once in a while, right?  .... Right? No? We don't? Okay whatever, sit through it because I happen to like fall clothes. Also, I took these damn pics and have to do something with them.

But first, what it's like to do blog photos with me: I drag a photographer to some random spot, tell them we have exactly 55 minutes to shoot 100 looks and then I proceed to spend the next 55 minutes talking shit to myself while they try their very best to get a snap of me where you can not see that I am indeed talking shit to myself.

Things said:

"Oh look at me taking blog pics, isn't this just fun."
"Little Jenny Blogger over here, just sitting on a curb."
"That person is staring at me, look away, creep."
"I could not be a bigger loser right now."
"Just smiling and playing in leaves, no big deal, just doing what I do."
"Now I'm going to look away and laugh. Ha ha ha, life is fun."
"Let's go for a walking pic. Can you coach me on this?"
"I'm going to look off in the distance and smile."
"Do I have Stephanie Tanner chin going on?"
"Do I have camel toe? Would you tell me?"
"How do those fashion bloggers do that thing where they look away?"
"Someone's coming, can we pretend we're just talking?"
"Crap, I need my coffee cup. I don't feel right without my coffee cup."

And that's a WRAP! God Bless the recent photographer I worked with, Katie Jorgensen for putting up with my neurosis.

And now my INSTAGRAM MODEL pics. If you'd like to book me to be in your magazine please call my agent, Harlow Wolfe.

For realsy though, this sweater is my favorite of the season.

(only $38, it's one of those you wear all the time, so yes that's why you see me wear it all the time.)
If it's sold out, try this one.
Jeans.  Hat. Booties.
Ring from Rocksbox (use code THEDAILYTAYXOXO for one month free.)

Sweater from Target.
It's a good one! Not cheapy-feeling (in my opinion.) Also it's buy 1, get 1 50% off right now.

Yes, that's me in the photo. Don't worry about it.

Green Cardigan. 
Can't stop, won't stop with this one because I'm wearing it as I write this.
It's just so good.
Similar loafers.

Chunky Knit.
Coming in strong at only $19.99!
And don't worry, I can't take myself seriously in this pic either.

And those are just a few of my favs. Have a question let me? K thanks bye!

About Being On House Hunters

"We like flirty conflict," the producer said on our first audition/interview.

Flirty conflict? We can do that, I thought. We do that every day.

I like modern! Chris says. But I like vintage, I respond with a cute, how will we ever compromise??? look on my face. Then we giggle and roll our eyes at each other, while also looking into the camera.

We joked, poked fun at each other, and in my very humble opinion nailed the interview. And so there was a second one. And a third. And each time the producer we were working with coached us on what to say, and how to say it, and how to keep that "flirty conflict" on just the right level on fun, without out looking like John and Kate Gosselin garbage monsters.

Now if you haven't heard, I'm about to ruin this show for you and let you know that they don't actually film until a couple has closed, or are just about to close on their house. So all choices have been made. There's no real house hunting going on.

Our closing date was a pretty quick turnaround for what they normally work with, so we actually got permission from our sellers to get in a few days before our close date in order to film the necessary shots. They were super cool about it so it all seemed just perfect.

I was already planning what I was going to wear for the shoots. My T-SHIRTS, duh. And of course Harlow would be in it, too. I was thinking the "LET'S DAY DRINK" one would be perfect for him.

Between you and I, I'd never watched the show. But because I take my acting career VERY seriously, I started watching episodes on Netflix to figure out the character I needed to be.

I need a HUGE dining room and kitchen for my dinner parties! (I would pronounce HUGE like YUGE.)  I will not budge. I host annual dinner parties and I need a lot of room to entertain. My guests LOVE my dinner parties. Everyone tells me, Taylor, we LOVE your dinner parties.

Dinner party woman was the character my friend Sarah, suggested I play. I was really into this idea.

There was also this,

I need an entire room where I can keep my Precious Moment Figurines. And I need to make sure the air in this room is always kept at an even 86 degrees, because my figurines get cold. And then their eyes start to droop even more. 

Or attic lady,

I really need a space with a great attic! Because I love Home Alone. And I love bats!

You get the idea, I was ready to have some fun.

I just couldn't believe we really had the opportunity to be on this show.  Talk about good exposure! For what exactly, I wasn't sure. But I was going to make the most of it, that I knew.

Everything was going smoothly.


Until we got the email saying that one owner in our new building refused to sign the release. There are six units in our new space, all are owners, and all seem like good people, except this one grumpy asshole who stood in the way of me and being on House Hunters.

We had until 3 p.m. on September 27th to get him to sign. Our realtor emailed him. The producers emailed him. I emailed him. Harlow emailed him. We sent him photos of us, explained that he would never be on camera, nor would his shitty unit where he is clearly doing illegal stuff. In short, this would effect his life in no way.

And yet he refused.

Am I bitter? Noooooooo. Me? Never. Noooooooooooooo. I hardly even think about it anymore.

So no, we are not going to be on House Hunters. I will not get to play crazy Dinner Party lady, whom I was going to reveal in the "look at us living in our new place" segment, was actually always hosting dinner party for dogs. Talk about a plot twist.

It was not meant to be. I guess I'll have to figure out a different way to get on TV.  Don't worry, I already have something in the works...

Happy weekending, I'm about to spend the next 48 hours packing up our place. Have I mentioned how much I love moving? I'm not being sarcastic, I LOVE it. This weekend is going to be awesome.

We Bought a House

Thursday, October 20, 2016

One week from today, at exactly 12 p.m., we are "closing" on our new home. Our realtor just emailed us the official closing time yesterday. I was going to wait until we actually had the keys in our hand before I shared anything, but I'm too excited. We are home owners in Chicago!

When we moved here six years ago I never thought this would happen. In fact, during that first year I contemplated a move back to Omaha more times than I can count. Everything seemed so much harder and more complicated here. Everything was just .... so beyond my comfort zone.

And six years later my feelings have completely flip flopped and all I can see is the ease of living in a city. Stepping out of my comfort zone was the best thing I have ever done.

But let's back up to our first "vacation" here about seven years ago.

Chris and I took the train from St. Louis (where he was living) to Chicago for the weekend. For some reason I thought trains were fancy and we would get onboard and magically it would be 1945 and the men would be in suits with hats, and the women in skirts with stockings. And we'd drink champagne in our private cabin while we snacked on whatever nice treats the magic train from 1945 was serving.

Have I mentioned lately that my brain leans more toward imagination than logic? Because if you've taken the Amtrak after 1975 you know that scene I described above isn't quite how it is...

Regardless, our tickets were $40 each and it was still a fun time.

We stayed at a hotel called the Inn of Chicago because it was cheap and it was downtown. The rooms reminded me of Europe (because they were tiny and no nonsense.)

We had no idea what to do, or where to go, we just scampered around like two lost tourists. I remember we ate at a terrible Mexican restaurant simply because it was next to our hotel.

Here we are at "the bean." Look at our cameras. Our CAMERAS. So tech savvy.

I also know for a fact that we ate brunch at Grande Lux Cafe. And if you know what this means, yes we can all giggle about it. I still do.

I'm pretty sure it's Quartino in the background of this photo, the "fancy Italian" place we ate our last night before we boarded our train the following day. I know I'm feeling good because that navy and white striped dress was my favorite dress. It only came out for special occasions.

"Can you ever imagine living here?" Chris asked at dinner.

I said yes, but I was lying. The thought of living in Chicago terrified me. Sure, it seemed exciting. But also really scary.

After St. Louis, Chris's job took us to Topeka, a place I don't speak too fondly about. But in hindsight, I know it's Topeka that ultimately brought us to Chicago. Had we landed somewhere a little more familiar, like Omaha or Kansas City, we'd still be in Omaha or Kansas City today.

But instead we're in Chicago.

We had to go to our realtor's office the other day to drop off a check. Thanks to being able to sign everything online these days, it was our first time stepping foot in his actual office. As we walked inside I looked to the left and noticed the hotel, The Inn of Chicago.

It was one of those moments that gave me goosebumps. It felt like someone pulled the curtain back on time for a second and I was able to peak back on 2009.

Hey you! I know you're on vacation now, but in seven years you'll be at this exact spot signing papers to buy a house. Can you believe that?

No, me from seven years ago can't believe it.

I also can't believe the road it took to get here, and the experiences I've had along the way, but I wouldn't change it for anything. Because hey, we just bought a house!

And by "house" I mean condo, which means the third floor of a building. No one really buys entire houses here.

Oh, and guess what? Our new fridge has an ice maker!

And IN UNIT LAUNDRY. Ice and laundry on me for 2017!

On Working For Myself

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

In the midst of decluttering our house I came across a phone book sized book of coupons. Like actual coupons you hold in your hand, not the type on your phone.

Did you know these books still exists? And businesses pay money to be in them.

I know because two years ago, in the summer of 2014 I attempted to be a coupon sales woman. I physically cold-called on any business that would let me inside and would say, "Hi, can I talk to your manager about coupons?"

I found the job on Craigslist (red flag #1.)

I emailed the manager and was hired without an interview (red flag #2.)

And then I set up a meeting with the manager at a coffee shop that was supposed to happen two days later. He didn't show, but emailed me all the pdfs, and then sent me the coupon book in the mail. (red flag #9000.)

I feel like I need to say that at this time in my life I had held several "real professional" jobs prior to this coupon blip. It wasn't as if I was fresh out of college or anything. I was simply at that point where my blog was starting to make money, but it wasn't completely there, so I needed something to help me get by and I refused to work a standard 9-5.

And so I thought a "work at your own pace" coupon sales job was the answer. It wasn't.

But never the less, I would put on my "work attire" and walk door to door, downtown Chicago, peddling my coupon books.

"Hi, I'm Taylor. Can we talk about coupons for a bit?"

Again, this wasn't ages ago. This was in July of 2014. I did it because I had to pay rent. And the idea of going back to a cubicle and working a job that ate my soul was not going to happen. I wouldn't let it. Every single morning I would get up and write in my goal notebook, "I WILL NEVER WORK FOR ANYONE BUT ME. EVER AGAIN.

I still write this today (every single day) just to be certain. Because when you work for yourself the feeling of someone sweeping the rug out from under you is always there.

I did this job for about three weeks (it was straight commission, no salary at all) and I was terrible at it. So one day I decided to take a chance and order 25 t-shirts with a phrase I thought might sell, "TALK HERBIE TO ME." I put the first order on my credit card because I didn't have enough in my bank account to cover. And I went back and forth about it for nearly a week before finally doing it.

I took my first 25 orders via email. They sold out in about an hour and I was just so thrilled I could pay my bill. I remember telling Chris, I bet I could sell 200 by Christmas. It seemed so crazy.

I'm about to hit 10,000+ orders for 2016. I feel boastful writing this, and perhaps I am, but really I'm just grateful.

So I'm not throwing out the coupon book.

I'm going to keep it because it reminds me to hustle. And then hustle more. I have about two hours of packing shirts to do tonight. I need to count inventory, come up with new marketing ideas, new designs, ext ext. And before I found that coupon book I was feeling just a little bit pissy about it all because I know I'll be up well past midnight.

But even when I'm pissy, I am still grateful. I'm grateful I put that first order of 25 shirts on my credit card in late July of 2014.

However, I don't want this post to come off as preachy or "if I can do it anyone can" because I know that's not true. It's easy(er) to take risks on a new business when you have a safety net under you. (Parents who will bail you out.) I knew that if I really found myself in a bind my parents would help out, as they always have. And so many people don't have this luxury.

But the post about "giving myself a privilege check" whenever I feel too high and mighty will have to come at another time.

Because for now, this post is just about me feeling grateful I get to do what I do. And mostly that I get to spend my mornings on the couch with Harlow in my lap as I answer customer emails. I wouldn't trade my mornings with Harlow for anything.

But enough chit chat, it's time to get back to the hustle.

To each and every one of you, thank you for supporting my business. I really really appreciate it.

Life Changing Magic of Being a Badass

Monday, October 17, 2016

On the car ride back to Chicago yesterday I listened to the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I think people raved about this book years ago, per the usual I'm a little late to the game.

But late or not, I am ON BOARD. Just wait.

Given that we have two closets total and literally zero storage, I was just a little skeptical whether or not this book would apply to me. For the most part, I hate clutter and am pretty good about tossing unnecessary things pretty quickly. But Chris will be the first to tell you I am terrible at organization (it's a daily "argument" in our house...) so I figured at the very least this book could with that aspect. I warn any guests in our house never to open a drawer, door, or look under a bed. God only knows what could crashing down on you. Most likely t-shirts.

And so on the painful 68 hour drive from Norfolk, Nebraska to Chicago (which I endure rather than fly only so I can bring my bestie Harlow, duh) I started listening to Marie Kondo's wise words.

Let it be known that there are several parts to this book that are quite boring, and very eye roll worthy. At one point she says, "there is simply nothing more exhilarating than a nicely folded sock." Really Marie, REALLY? We're leading different lives, clearly.

Let me spare you the boring stuff and tell you the most important pieces I took from this book.

*Every item in your house has its place. Put in there, every. single. day. 

Especially in the winter when I layer up, I throw my cardigans and scarfs and hats all over the place. Why don't I just put them away? Because I'm lazy. NOT ANYMORE. New life starts today. I'm feeling better already, but mostly because of this second piece of advice:

*When deciding which items to toss, just ask yourself, "does this spark joy in my life?"

Within ten minutes last night I had filled three garbage bags with shoes, clothes, belts and bags. I was starting to feel like a wild woman. Dare I even say, exhilarated?!

It was weird because I realized so many of the clothes I've held onto I did simply out of guilt, which obviously wasn't bringing any good energy into my house.

I've only worn this once so I feel bad. It was a gift, I feel rude tossing it. It's too small, but maybe I'll fit into it again someday....

I tossed it all. My closet holds like 20 things now. And it feels gooooooooood. I can barley write this post because I'm just itching to get to work on the other four rooms in our house.

We have eight margarita glasses in our cupboard that we have taken on every single move with us for the past six years. They're awkward and take up so much space and Chris frequently asks, "why in the hell do we have these?"

"For the fiesta party we MIGHT have some day," I respond.

Not today. Not any day. The marg glasses got to go. They're not bringing me any joy.

The makeup samples I keep for NO REASON, the buttons, the gross hair-ties, the coupons I'll never use, the 100 spatulas in my kitchen drawer, socks without a partner, old scarves, it's all going.

It's probably worth noting here that the organizing part of the book didn't excite me nearly as much as the purging part... I was too busy day dreaming about everything I could get rid of while Marie was spending an entire chapter talking about folding sweaters. I think I'll have to go to back to that section, or perhaps I'll just get rid of everything we own so there will be no need for organization anyway! Yes, that sounds good.

Part two of the drive I listened to, "You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life."

So now you know why I've been up since 6 a.m. filling garbage bags while also simultaneously shouting, "I am one with the Universe!"

Because I am nuts.

And today I am picking up on the all good nutty vibes the Universe is sending me. I hope you do too. This is me giving you my good vibes.

Now go toss some shit and have a good day.