Minneapolis Illustrator, Invitation Designer, + DIYer Blog


Art, Inspiration, and Life. Sharing all the inspires me to create.

Designer Crush: Monse

If I had to chose a favorite designer at the moment, I think it would be Monse. I don’t think there is a piece from their Fall ‘18 collection (seen here) that I am not lusting after. Love. Love. Love.

Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia incorporate unexpected elements that make all their collection stand out and in a great way. This off the shoulder blazer is a classic, but they’ve turned it into a showstopper that can be dressed up or down. It’s stunning. I’m also drooling over this Book Pattern tunic. We all know how much I love a tunic shirt over jeans. Gah! And don’t get me started on their pants. Heaven!

Atlantic-Pacific x Nordstrom

I haven’t been this excited about a fashion collaboration in a LONG time. When Blair of Atlantic-Pacific announced this week that she had developed a collection with Nordstrom, I couldn’t wait to see what it. I’ve been a follower/fan of Blair since she started blogging way back in 2010 (when she lived in San Francisco). I’ve watched her effortlessly mix styles to create what is uniquely her her own. And while her style has evolved through the years, the one thing that’s been a constant is her love of color and patterns. Blair doesn’t shy away from color and definitely isn’t afraid to mix prints. Which is what I love so much about her collection. It is a true reflection of her style, but she’s made it approachable for everyone. It launches on October 22, and is a one and done release. You can catch sneak peeks of the collection over on Blair’s blog all week. I know I’ll be setting my alarm for 10/22 hoping to snag a piece or two (especially the shoes and this look right here)

Taj Halloween 2018: TV Characters

This will the be the 5th Annual Taj Halloween Party and the theme this year is TV Characters. As I’ve stated before, I LOVE Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday and I’m super excited for this year’s theme. I started planning in August. Seriously. Save the dates went out and then I got to work on the invitations. With this year’s theme being TV Characters, I wanted to do something tv related (obviously!). After a few brainstorming sessions, I landed on designing a mock up of a TV Guide cover. I wanted to highlight the array of characters one could chose from. And while I couldn’t fit everything I wanted onto the cover, I did enjoy drawing all the images.

As usual, once I started creating, the ideas kept coming. I didn’t want to clutter the cover with all the details of the party, so I created a table of contents. This allowed me to convey the theme in more detail and provide specifics on time, etc.

While trying to figure out how to put it all together in a fun way, I had the idea to use actual TV Guides. I took to Instagram to crowd source after a few unsuccessful searches on Ebay. IG didn’t pan out either, but after a few rabbit hole trips on the internet, I found a site that then linked me back to a bunch of ebay sellers who weren’t selling collector issues. Side note: why couldn’t I find them as easily just searching on ebay the first time???? Anywho, I ended up getting the 22 copies I needed. All various years dating back the 80’s. They’re pretty great! I attached my cover over the cover of the old TV Guide, and then attached the contents page inside over the original contents. I will share photos of the actual invitation and details of the party later this month. Stay tuned.

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Tell me about it, Stud. A Grease Costume.

Olivia Newton-John. John Travolta. The Pink Ladies. Did you know The Movie Grease was the biggest Movie Musical of the 20th century? It’s become so popular over the years that high schools across the country often have it as one of their productions and a few years back it was a live Television event for one night only, with a star studded cast that included Vanessa Hudgens, Julian Hough, and Jordan Fisher.

The shows costuming provides ample inspiration for a variety of Halloween costumes, but the most iconic choice would be the closing scene of the movie when Sandy reveals her “new” look. This costume is quite easy to pull together as I’m sure you have some, if not all, of the components in your closet. Here’s what you need to pull it off.

  1. Black Leather jacket. Doesn’t everyone have some kind of black leather, fitted jacket these days?

  2. Leather Leggings. If you don’t have these, you can find faux ones just about anywhere these days for under $30 or go with my favorites (and a bit pricier) by Spanx that will get more wear than you expected!.

  3. Fitted black top. It doesn’t need to be cropped. Just make sure it’s fitted and low cut if it’s not.

  4. Heels. Any color will do and they don’t need to be sky high.

  5. Big, Curly hair. If you don’t have blonde hair, wigs are easy to come by. Otherwise put those hot rollers in and then tease the crap out of it.

    Just like that, you’re Sandy from Grease.

As If! A Clueless Costume

I still remember the first time I saw the movie Clueless. It had just been released and I had tickets to the opening show. IT.WAS.EVERYTHING. The style. The humor. Paul Rudd. Need I say more? If I spot the movie while channel surfing on TV, I will always watch it. I even watched it flying home from Paris last year. Never gets old. It’s a classic and hard to believe it’s over 20 years old.

Any outfit from the movie would make a great costume for Halloween. Get a few guys to dress up too and create the whole gang. Dress as Tai before the makeover. Dionne with one of her fabulous hats. Or choose from many of the amazing outfits Cher wore. One of my favorite outfits is the iconic yellow plaid blazer/skirt. I may have had the same outfit at one time! And I definitely rocked the over the knee socks with heels more than I would like to admit. YIKES. But I loved it and firmly believe Fashion should be fun. You shouldn’t look back on something and question why you did it. It was what you were feeling at the time.

Halloween - Sex & the City Style

Continuing with costume ideas, grab your girlfriends and go as the ladies from Sex & the City. Channel your fashionista and dress over the top like Carrie. Or find that perfect power suit to go as Miranda. Feeling more preppy and conservative? Channel your inner Charlotte. Really want to spice things up? Samantha’s your gal. I think it’s safe to say we all relate to each of the characters at some point in our lives and feel a certain kinship with them. That’s what made the show a can’t miss each Sunday night (and gave us something to look forward to). We could see ourselves in the same situations. We’ve all been there, done that before.

One of my favorite episodes is when they go to the Yankees game. They’re clearly not dressed for for, but that's what makes it so great. A few of my favorite bloggers recreated some looks from SATC a few weeks back that are also some great inspiration. You can see Krystal, Helena, Karen, and Sai rock some fabulous Carolina Herrera dresses on the streets of NYC. They also recreated the baseball scene here.

Playing Dress Up - Costume Style

October is here and with that comes cool, crisp nights, leaves in stunning reds, oranges, and yellows that only nature can produce, candy corn and harvest mix in abundance, and halloween party planning in full swing. This will by my 5th Annual Halloween Party (#TajHalloween on Instagram to see more). I love a good theme party. Add costumes and fun food and I’m in. Past themes have included Masks, Death, and Fairy Tales. This years theme is TV Characters. It’s a wide category and open to interpretation. Do movies count? if they’ve been shown on TV, yes! What about News and Talk shows? Yes ( grab your gang and come as the Today Show cast). I like to keep it broad to see how creative my friends can get. And let me tell, there have been some STELLAR costumes.

I’m going to post a costume idea each day - no particular theme, just fun ideas that you can create at home. Join me as we play dress up this month! Let’s start with Holly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s . This isn’t the typical little black dress or sleep shirt and sleep mask costume. This one is from the scene in the five and dime store where Holly and Paul steal masks.

6 Skin Care Products I Always Use

Fall is is here and my skin has started to show the seasonal change. In the spring, my skin care routine gets pared back and I go with lighter formulations. But come Fall, everything becomes richer, more moisturizing. With that said, I do have my constants that I use regardless of what season it is. I’ve rounded up my 6 favorite products that I always reach for. These are my mainstays, with serums, treatments, and oils mixed in as needed.


Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Cleanser - this cleanser is a dream . It takes off all my makeup, makes my skin feel squeaking clean without stripping it, and a little goes a LONG way. Seriously. You only need a pea size amount to get the job done, making this also the most economical cleanser I’ve found.

Pixi Skintreats Rose Tonic - I haven’t always used a toner and when I discovered Pixi I questioned why I didn’t! I alternate between the Rose Tonic and the Glow Tonic. I find the Rose Tonic to be extremely nourishing, so it comes out in the fall. In the Spring/Summer I’m addicted to the Glow Tonic, which has Glycolic acid in it. It just makes my skin feel refreshed and bright. They’ve just come out with a Retinol Tonic that I’m dying to try too.

Arcona Magic White Ice - I’ve been using Arcona products for over 10 years! I’ve rotated in other products on and off, but always come back to this brand. It’s just that good. The Magic White Ice sinks into your skin immediately and has almost a matte effect, but doesn’t feel sticky and it’s extremely lightweight. Another bonus, it has Hyaluronic Acid which helps with moisture and firmness.

Darphin Intral - I got a sample of this in a beauty gift with purchase a while back and have been using it ever since. I tend to have redness in my t-zone and my skin can be sensitive at times. This cream has drastically reduced the redness and calms my skin. It’s also a richer cream that moisturizes my skin like no other. I can’t go a day without using it.

Acure Radically Rejuvenating Eye Cream - My eye creams have rotated a lot, but this one has been a favorite lately because it doesn’t irritate my eyes. It’s organic, works well, and is at least half the price of other eye creams on the market. I’ve spent my share on them, so I know.

One Love Organics Vitamin D Spray - My favorite product. Ever. If I had to chose one item from this list to take with me on an island, this would be it. It’s a toner, skin prep, moisturizer, make-up setter, the list goes on. If you use it after cleansing, it helps all the other products you use really sink in and do their job. If you use it after applying your make up, it’s the perfect finish and sets everything in place. It’s also a great way to refresh yourself in the middle of the day and make your skin look alive.

So there you have it. My go to’s for skin care. What are your favorites? Anything I should try?

Erin O'LearyComment