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Lifestyle might be an odd name for this section, but it is meant to encompass design, art, style, and form. That still might be a bit nebulous for many people, but let me try to explain.

Several years ago, I was moving to another city for a one year internship to finish a degree. It had been a number of years since I had moved so I was trying to decide what I “needed” to take to my temporary apartment. Since I wasn’t making a permanent move, my house was staying intact and I was only taking what I called secondary items. The futon and old coffee table that I had stored in my attic was my new couch and table for my living room. A visit to the Dollar Tree got me plastic basics for the kitchen (I’m something of a foodie snob so plastic is not something I normally have for utensils and measuring cups.) I bought a gel foam mattress and a basic, black metal bed frame and I was pretty much set up. I took a few tiny side tables and chairs from home to complete the apartment. The only “art” for the apartment I had bought was a giant Indian-inspired elephant wall hanging in rich oranges, yellows, and burgundies.

Holding a geodeI put everything up and while the apartment looked nice, it was missing something. As I worked at my internship and drove back to my house every 3rd weekend, I found myself bringing back those little touches that made me, me. I needed my art and design books, some of my rocks and crystals, and even a few boxes of my craft supplies. They felt good in my hands. These are what contributed to my lifestyle. While I couldn’t paint the apartment walls the colors I wanted, I could look at my interior design books and imagine myself in a different place. While I didn’t have my hand painted furniture, I could look at similar items in the magazines. I found that the local art museum was just a couple of miles away, so I visited it frequently. I made sure to go to the local rock and gem show to immerse myself in all things rocks and met with a few fellow rock nerds. I sought out the unique neighborhoods in town and fell in love with the farm-to-table Mexican restaurant, the little farm stand which made fresh jams and jellies, and the giant garden design center on the edge of town. I found what mattered to me that made my lifestyle feel complete while I was away from my real home.

Lifestyle encompasses those extra elements which make you, you. It can change over time. At one point when I was right out of college, my lifestyle was on the 25th floor of a high-rise in Chicago overlooking the downtown and Lake Michigan. Lots of glass and steel. Later, in the same town, I lived near the ground floor level of a high-rise overlooking a sandy beach on the edge of Lake Michigan. I brought in more warmth with dark, rich colors of forest green and burgundy. Those colors helped the condominium feel warm on those cold, winter days when ice encrusted the edges of the lake outside my windows.

I’ve always sought out design. I knew more unique niches in Chicago, then did my friends who grew up there. One place that I would go to and even share with out-of-town visitors was a tile shop. Weird huh? I don’t remember the name of the shop. As I recall, it was near Dempster Street and Skokie Blvd. in the Skokie/Morton Grove area. It had tiles from around the world and most of them were handmade. It was like going into an art museum only you could take home what you saw. There were fireplace surrounds with three dimensional frogs, pinecones, and tree branches; multicolored tiles from Spain that exploded with vibrant colors for the kitchen; and handmade terra cotta floor tiles from Mexico that looked like brushed suede.

Wherever I go, I seek out design. I can feel it in my being and love incorporating it into my life.

I hope to share that with you here. Enjoy!