I made a thing!

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Have you heard of something called “Low content publishing”? I did just recently. The idea is to publish things like diary, journals, and notebooks. Well – I LOVE those things and can never find the PERFECT ones.

So I made one!

I have been bullet journaling for a while but grew tired of drawing in the lines every month/day. So, this is like my new bullet journal, but the hard stuff is already filled in. Now – it’s up to me to fill in the rest. OR – it can be up to you, because I have published this notebook! You may now buy it here.

Things this notebook includes:

  • Track your mind, health, wealth, and life
  • Dates are added yourself, which makes this journal customizable any time of the year
  • A spot keep track of important numbers and recurring monthly and yearly tasks
  • A page for keeping track of your fitness goals and measurements
  • Monthly calendars, including monthly habits to track
  • Daily calendars, with places to make plans for the mind, body, food, and money
  • Daily notes pages

I hope you grab one and let me know what you think!

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Office For My Friend

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There is little I like better than when a friend says to me: I have this decor/clothing issue that I would love ideas about. Recently, my friend Joni told me that she has a new office to match her new exciting job as a college counselor. The office currently has couple of standard navy guest chairs, and the standard other things a college office might have.

I turned to IKEA – who always saves the day for me, to create a little sanctuary for her. With the addition of natural fibers (some faux), greenery (here – all faux), and some peaceful art, these additions will make for a calm and soothing environment. A side table to rest a drink on and a light that will also charge her device complete the look.

You’re going to be great, Joni!!!

Nesting tables, set of 3 – $59.99

Cushion cover, sheepskin white – $29.99

Picture, sunrise – $29.99

Tray, black, gray – $4.99

Coaster, cork – $1.99  / 2 pack

LED work lamp w/wireless charging, white – $69.99

Vase and 6 scented sticks, Blossoming bergamot, gray – $5.99

Artificial potted plant, indoor/outdoor fiddle-leaf fig – $49.99

Plant pot, water hyacinth, gray  – $24.99

Artificial potted plant with pot, indoor/outdoor Succulent – $9.99  / 3 pack


Taking Stock – Tent Camping

I did Meet Me At Mikes’ Taking Stock exercise many years back and thought it was really fun. It seems Pip at is still at it! She and her blog look as inspirational as ever! I love that she calls her blog a daily dose of happiness and inspiration (Isn’t she the cutest?Everything seems better down under, amiright?) She makes me feel like a blog started by a mom who works a day job and likes to make things sometimes could actually be something worthwhile.

I am planning a tent camping trip to Wisconsin with family and friends soon! So excited! Here’s the plan with the Taking Stock prompts:


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Making: Every good tent photo I see includes some kind of cute pennant banner. I LOVE to bring a craft for the kids and adults alike to work on together. This year – we are going to be making one of these for each family! I bought a big bag of scrap fabric at Micheal’s, along with some twine, glue, scissors, and fairy lights. Let’s see how this goes!


Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 4.09.58 PM.pngCooking: I may be a midwesterner now, but I grew up in Texas, ya’ll – and it’s been too long since I had me some Walking Tacos. This camping trip it’s on!

Sipping: Boxed wine to pair well with my Walking Tacos, natch.


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Reading: I downloaded Pip’s book on getting inspired for blogging (how cool! how timely to find!); and trying to make a dent in three (3!) other books I am currently reading. I went without reading for so many years and now I can’t get enough!

Looking: Pony Tailed and make up free!

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Listening: Family-friendly podcasts on the way to Wisconsin. One that will certainly pop up will be Stuff You Should Know. And – holy smokes, I have been listening to this show for years and have never googled what Josh and Chuck actually look like! Mind blown!!!

Wishing: Wishing for no rain! (Pretty sure there will be rain.)

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Enjoying: New Daily Ukulele book and am excited to bring it and the Uke’s to practice around the fire.

Waiting: Waiting for this trip is the worst. But the planning is fun.

Liking: I have been trying to be super intentional about upping my fitness game. I have been using the audio app Apptiv and it’s been very motivating. I like it very much.

Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 10.49.11 AMLoving: I have been liking be active so much – that guess what? I signed up for a 5K! One that I am actually go to attempt to jog.the.whole.way. As I have never been anything close to an athlete, this is huge. It’s coming up quickly.  My ‘no tech rule’ will be ignored on this trip for an Apptiv jog or two. This for me has been the gift of self love.

Buying: REI’s garage sale was very good to us this spring – and will be using a new tent and some odds and ends.

Watching: I always love to watch our city kids enjoying some nature – and getting to ride their bikes and run around with abandon.

Hoping: Ok, again – hoping for no rain! (Pretty sure there will be rain.) 

Needing: I think that we will need lots of tarps. (Still hoping and wishing we don’t.)

Wearing: Layers. Lots of layers.

Ten Years of Collecting Ideas

IT’S BEEN A WHILE! Is this thing on? How does this work, again? I want to come back!!! Beginning to brush the dust off this old gal. Starting with an updated ABOUT section (also see below) – and hope to update some design, add regular content, etc. What about some vlogging? A little podding? I have so many ideas to talk to you about. Let’s start here:

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You know what is really big? The internet. There are so many ideas out there. There are good ones, great ones, and lots and lots of bad ones. Thankfully there are sites that may help you collect those ideas you want to remember. This is mine.

My name is Kelly and I live on the Northside of Chicago with my husband and 11 year old son. I love being a mom. I love Chicago. I love good design. I love thinking about and working in the ever evolving world of media, digital networks, and pop culture. And, I love to read blogs. I was so inspired by the blogs that I loved, that in October of 2009, I started this one. (This was just before Pinterest first launched – which was the idea collector that I was very much looking for at the end of 2009 – but has become a bit overwhelming to me at this point.)

I believe that all new and creative thinking is inspired by other’s creative thinking and then enhanced. Here you will find a collection of thoughts and ideas that have inspired me – along with what those inspirations may or may not have turned into.

I hope that you might come across something here and are inspired with some new ideas of your own. If that happens, let me know! I would love to hear about it – so leave a comment or email me at collectedideas [at] me [dot] com.


10 Shades of Gray

I had a friend come to me this week freaking out about finding the perfect shade of gray to paint her new apartment. She came to the right gray paint obsessed gal! I had no problem ticking off 10 colors that I love. This is truly one of the things I really enjoy doing and thinking about.

I only know Benjamin Moore, as I find the process of choosing color so overwhelming as well, that I have to set some limits. I know I like BM paint, so I just go there.

I was thinking, oh I wish I could store these somewhere, and looky here! I have a bloggity to do that on! So here are my current fave BM grays:

perfect gray

Of all of these beauty’s though, Revere Pewter always seems to win with me. It’s the perfect neutral that reads both warm or cold to me depending on its surroundings. This is the one that I pushed my friend towards. Her question? But what accent colors could she pair with it? Easy! Pretty much anything! But of course I had an opinion to share, and here is what I gave her for her new lakeside abode: Bohemian Vintage Lake Michigan.


Minimal Wardrobe Project: Summer 2015

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I have really been enjoying this exercise! It’s a snap to get ready in the morning, a breeze to pack for a trip, and pretty good on the pocketbook. I started this spring with my Minimal Wardrobe Project, and I am excited to keep it up for the summer, with a few revisions.

As before, if you see anything above that you may be interested in researching further, you can probably find it somewhere on my Pinterest boards.

The whole thing worked pretty well this spring, but there are a few changes I’d like to make this go around. First off: shoes. I have decided that they are accessories to me (I don’t include accessories in my final 40). Taking shoes out of the final 40 gives me a few more items in the wardrobe while still feeling minimal. This makes me happy and that’s the point of this whole thing, right?

So the big thing this time is the numbers, rather than the specifics I think. Many items will stay the same, while I can shop through my stored items, replace some things that are getting worn out, and buy a few things to round out the collection. (I have a collection!) So in the graphic above, you’ll see some question marks. Those questions could end up evolving a bit throughout the summer. The main thing for me right now is being strict about the final number.

So without further ado, here’s the final 40:

– 10 (or 8) layering pieces (5 blazers, 5 cardigans. I may take 1 of each of these out to add a couple more dresses. I love dresses for the summer, so it may be worth it.)
– 6 bottoms (includes skirts, pants, and maybe a jumpsuit. I KNOW!)
– 6 (or 8) dresses (this one must be carefully considered.)
– 15 tops (this is where a lot of the shoe inventory went to, as I know now that I need lots of top options.)
– 3 outerwear (I live in Chicago, people. It still can get cold in the summer, and this needs to last through September!)

There you have it! Let’s do this thing! (again)

Summer capsule

Main Accessories

  • D’orsay flats*
  • Straw Hat*
  • White Converse*
  • Coral-Colored Scarf

5 Blazers

  • white
  • black
  • red
  • beige
  • gray?

5 Cardigans

  • yellow
  • black basic
  • black with pleather accent
  • cream/white
  • ?*

6 bottoms

  • Old Nave Sweetheart Jeans
  • Old Nave Rock Star Jeans
  • Black Waxed Jeans*
  • Black legging Jeans*
  • Striped Skirt
  • Cami Jumpsuit*

6 dresses

  • Floral Maxi
  • Black Sleeveless A-line
  • Chambray Dress
  • Hot Pink Strappy dress
  • Black and white patterned dress
  • ?

15 tops

  • 5 tanks
  • 1 message-y shirt
  • 2 nice short-sleeved white t’s*
  • 1 nice black t*
  • 3 patterned, short sleeve shirts
  • 3 dressy tops

3 outerwear

  • Denim Jacket
  • Pleather Biker Jacket
  • Rain Coat

*to buy

Taking Stock: APRIL

Trying to get back in the swing of things after my wonderful spring break in Texas with my family and the Bluebonnets. Spring fever (and my pending birthday) always makes these kind of navel-gaze time-suckers irresistible to me! From a Pip’s blog from down under, here is me, wasting time by taking stock!

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Making : Cub Scout Scrap Book of the most meaningful moments of my 7-year-old’s life. (Well, helping to make. It’s a family affair.)
Cooking : Made a Paella over the fire pit for my father for his Birthday! It was totally cool. (sort of used this recipe. photo by the amazing jenna)
Reading: I am hooked (HOOKED) on the Divergent Trilogy right now. (On book two.) But I have to admit that it was humbling when my 10-year-old buddy Hank saw the book on my table and we discovered we both had just started book two. And both are loving it.
Wanting: My birthday is this weekend! I asked for this bag that’s on my spring 2015 capsule. (Spoiler: I just bought it for my boys to give me. Ha!)
Wearing: I’m on week 2 of my capsule project and so far it’s been GREAT. Packing for a trip was a breeze, and I have loved everything I have worn everyday so far. Also love my new spring minimal ‘do. 🙂 (Taking bathroom selfies? Not so great.)
Pondering: I have been really lax on the Gluten-free thing for the first time in… what, 6 years now? I wonder if I can eat it minimally and still feel heathy.
Questioning: Do I want to live in Chicago the rest of my life? If not, for how long? Where else might I want to explore? Will it wait until the boy is not school-aged anymore? Hmmmmmm.
Hearing: Can’t stop listening to the Magnetic Fields station on Pandora. Every song is fantastic.
Watching: JUST signed up for HBO NOW after being cable free for 7 years! Game of Thrones in real time? Heck yea!
Deciding: Where to go to dinner for my birthday this weekend. Or do we cook? What do we cook? Hmmm.
Looking: like a million bucks. Thanks spring capsule!
Wishing: that I was still on spring break.
Drinking : With my G-free break, I am sneaking a real true beer in every now and then. Heavenly.
Playing: Podcasts whenever and where ever I can! Some of the ones I am (see next line)
Enjoying: Fresh Air, Here’s the Thing, This American Life, Radiolab, RuPaul What’s the Tee? (love him/her!), Happy Sad Confused, Invisibilia
Considering: adding to the list: The Longest Shortest Time, Undisclosed, Upvoted by Reddit, and Startup (have any others to suggest?)
Wishing: I had more free time to listen to more podcasts.
Waiting: For the next big phase of my life to come. I feel like it’s close.
Loving: My little family, which now includes a cat that likes to pee on my favorite black leather chair.
Liking: Starbuck’s new Flat White coffee. Wish it didn’t taste so Starbuck’s-y.
Wondering: If I started my own business, what would it be?
Hoping: That someday I get off my duff and start my own business.
Marvelling: At how impossible that seems.
Cringing: About how it may never happen.
Needing: Some sleep. As usual.
Smelling: Like soap and coffee. As usual.
Following: Less blogs and social media in general than I used to.
Noticing: That I’m happy about that.
Knowing: I’m not at all ready to quit blogs and social media.
Thinking: That’s ok.
Admiring: Anyone that feels like they have all their shit together.
Sorting: All my stuff and getting rid of as many things as I can. Trying to live minimally!
Getting: my shit together.
Bookmarking: I still am a constant pinner of ideas and it’s helping me sort all that stuff. (I got lots of private pins, too y’all.)
Coveting: Stay at home moms. (sometimes. but not that often.)
Disliking: When my cat pees on my stuff.
Opening: A savings account for a friend/family trip to Provence in 2017!!
Giggling: Daily about all the funny things that my son says. I like him so much.
Feeling: Really clear headed and good these days. Hope to keep it up.
Snacking: Had an office bagel earlier. Perhaps I can’t be trusted with Gluten?

You should do this, too! If you do – let me know. I want to see!

Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe #1: SPRING 2015

First and foremost: I am not and will never be a ‘style blogger’. I am uncomfortable with posting daily photos of myself, so you won’t be getting that from me either. That doesn’t mean that I don’t follow a few with great delight and interest. A couple of the ones I really love include Kendi Everyday and Unfancy. (They both seem like such nice ladies!)

It was Unfancy that introduced me to the idea of a ‘capsule wardrobe’ of which I found super intriguing. In researching, it seems this idea has been around for a while and finessed by various bloggers that I came across. The basic idea is to take a number and make your wardrobe consist of only that many items, but to be sure to really love each and every item. I decided to take it on my own spin for this spring, and see how if fits for me.

I have seen the others some up with different numbers – but I like Unfancy’s loose rules of ‘do what feels right’. In putting things together, I decided I would adopt the loose rules, and to take on the number 40 (that’s my magic number this year). That number excludes accessories, workout wear, underthings, and pj’s.  It comprises shoes, work wear, casual wear, and fancy-time wear.

The goal of this project for many folks is to keep from making a ton of impulse purchases and shop only a little every three months. Although I am all for saving money, it’s not really the main thing that appeals to me about this project. What appeals to me is that this seems a great way to streamline your look and really nail down your style. I feel like I am getting it back a little, but that for the last 5-10 years (maybe when I became a mom?) my style seemed unpinnable. I wonder if this will help?

I can’t wait to clean the closet this weekend, start donating all thing things on the ‘do not LOVE’ list, and packing up and storing the rest. So without further blah blah blah, here is my much thought about first minimal capsule wardrobe for the Spring of 2015!

spring cap

You can find links to purchase most of these things here. I tried really hard to use most of what I already own and love. You can see a few things with red stars that I still want to buy, but haven’t had the chance/budget quite yet. Here’s the breakout:

New hair: Not a part of the final number, but I thought it might be time to kick some style into my ‘do to match my spring look!

Main accessories: Even though they are also not a part of the final number, I want to have an idea of what will be the main ‘go to’s’ for this capsule.

7 Cardigans and Blazers: Not only are layers a necessity in the questionable Chicago spring weather – but I have figured out recently, that’s just what I am comfortable wearing! (Why did it take me so long to consciously realize that?) I hope that 7 will be a good number for this. We shall see.

5 Bottoms: I’m not gonna lie – this seems like a very small amount of go to bottoms, and I worry it won’t be enough. Again, we shall see.

5 Dresses: I’m hoping that having 5 dresses in the rotation will help with the low amount of bottoms. Also, this is where the more ‘fancy-time’ looks will come in. I am still looking for the perfect, nice LBD to round this out.

12 Tops: This is a pretty high number, but where a lot of the color and contrast will hopefully come in.

2 Outerwear: I almost added a moto-jacket to this, as I have been kind of wanting one, but that number ’40’, she’s coming! Also, that’s just not in the budget just yet.

9 Shoes: I almost want to treat shoes as an accessary, but NO – I will not. I think that this covers all my shoe needs and will be fun to have the limits. The question I am grappling with is that some of these are starting to show a lot of wear, and I have some possible replacements picked out. Should I allow for purchases during this time frame? Not sure.

And that’s it! Let’s do this thing!

Oops, I Did It Again (CHICAGO CLASSES)

Ok, I did it with a lot of partners and help, but I couldn’t resist a shiny young Brittany reference! (Keeping it classy…)

Remember back in October of 2013 when I announced a digital partnership with Chicagomag.com and KRRB? Well – that is still going along swimmingly, I must say. It’s great content for our site and our readers, while adding a little something to our business side as well. I hear often how much people enjoy the Chicago Classifieds, and I still find it extremely exciting.

Fast forward to a shiny young 2015 – and I am excited to announce the next Marketplace partnership for Chicagomag.com: CHICAGO CLASSES!

This partnership is a perfect example of what you will often find me preaching about monetizing content. It has to be something that helps the reader! Something unobtrusive and possibly even helpful! It can, and IS being done! 

Chicago Classes is for you if you live in the Chicagoland area and you are looking to enhance your life through a little bit of extra knowledge. Offered there, in an easy to organize for YOU kind of way, are hundreds of local classes that will enhance your personal life, your kid’s life, or maybe even your career.

Sign up now and get $10 off your first class! I hope that you enjoy and that we can keep learning and exploring this world, digital and otherwise, together.

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