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Shoot!

Things are a little crazy here, in the best way. I’m styling a photo shoot here for a magazine on Thursday, which should be a fun feature that we can knock out in a day. Then in two weeks, our house is being taken over for a few days for a much bigger whole-house shoot for another magazine. Good stuff! Our last house had been photographed over the years, but each publication always relied on my styling. This upcoming shoot will be for a holiday issue, so they’ll be bringing in props and holiday decorations that a stylist will mix with our own things. (The neighbors should enjoy the Christmas tree that will be visible from the front window. The kids are going to be so excited though! Excited, and confused!)

Besides the frenzied rush of trying to get the house photo-ready and keep it that way with the kids about, I’ve been gathering props for this week’s shoot. We’re doing three looks which will be fun, but it’s three times the work and running around. I’ve also been working on three big posts that will be published elsewhere soon (and I can’t wait to share them with you because they were so much fun to work on!), an in-person event or two, and then I’ve got my workload for the class I’m teaching at Columbia. Add in a baby that is still nursing every 2-3 hours, a blog (this blog!) that I love writing but that takes more work than it seems on the surface, and email that seems to multiply as I answer it, and it starts to feel a little nutso. Lucky for me I kinda like that energy, but I am looking forward to it letting up a little.

Plus I was all excited about it finally being spring, and then we got another layer of snow. Dammit, Chicago. Although it worked out for the upcoming holiday feature — they needed a good snowy exterior shot!

So hey, here’s a random picture of me and Calvin from a few days ago because it’s weird to have a post without a picture. And scene.

Nicole Balch and Calvin

Independent Shopping in Oak Park, IL

Oak Park has some great restaurants and well-known chain stores, but it also has a huge variety of independent shops. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the best from here in town, as well as a handful from nearby Forest Park. I’ve also created a Pinterest board with their locations marked (though there were a few that I was unable to add to the map). This isn’t an exhaustive list of stores, but it does include all of my favorites!

Update Interiors, Oak Park, IL
Update Interiors

Home

  • Update Interiors
    Furniture and amazing lighting, along with smaller decorative details for your home.

  • Refind Home
    Mid-century vintage finds, plus new eco-friendly and indie goods.

  • Moss
    A great selection of flowers, plus interesting gifts and home decor.

  • Yearbook
    A careful selection of vintage and new goods with a masculine, old collegiate feel.

  • CarefulPeach
    A French-inspired boutique with beautiful items for tabletop, bath, and kitchen.

CarefulPeach, Oak Park, IL
CarefulPeach

Women’s Clothing & Accessories

  • Gem
    A mix of edgy modern and pretty vintage-inspired jewelry.

  • Nora’s Shoe Shop
    Awesome shoes from harder to find brands.

  • Lively Running
    Running shoes for women (they’ll help you choose the right pair), and cute workout clothes.

  • Muse
    Feminine tops and dresses in a range of prices.

Gem Jewelry, Oak Park, IL
Gem

For Kids

Pumpkin Moon, Oak Park, IL
Pumpkin Moon

Books

The Book Table, Oak Park, IL
The Book Table

My Style Saturday Event

The weekend before last, I hosted a Style Saturday event at my local Lowe’s. It’s a little strange to walk into a place and be greeted by your own smiling face on numerous big signs, but I’ll take it!

Style Saturday Event at Lowe's

I was there to offer design consultations, helping with anything from furniture placement and color palettes to choosing lighting and selecting tile. The day was structured with a mix of one-on-one scheduled appointments and quick chats with people in the store that requested advice. Some people brought in floor plans and photos (which was great because I could really understand what they were working with and therefore better help), and others who were looking for more general decorating ideas and tips.

Design Consultation at Lowe's Style Saturday

I had images of products from the Allen + Roth line and a Polaroid camera to snap shots in the store, so I was able to put together design boards to take home after each consultation. I also had Lowe’s gift cards for the people I met with, to help them get started! It was a fun surprise to hand out at the end of each session.

Design Consultation at Lowe's Style Saturday

While I was busy meeting one-on-one with people, we also had a project station. I had seen a push pin art project a while back that I thought would be fun, and we were able to gather everything we needed for it right there in the store. We used cork tiles and markers, and instead of thumb tacks we chose upholstery nails, which were available in brass, bronze, and nickel. It was popular with both kids and adults!

Cork Board Projects

Thank you, Lowe’s, for partnering with me to host the Chicago Style Saturday event. And of course, a big thank you to everyone who stopped by!

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