titiana’s outfit from the haunted bookshop

titiana outfit from the haunted bookshop

Like everyone else who shopped at the haunted bookshop, Titiana charmed me. I wasn’t sure about her in the beginning. The 18-year-old arrives to her bookshop apprenticeship in a fur stole, after all, so can you really blame me–or her father–for making the mistake of thinking her frivolous?

But you learn in The Haunted Bookshop (by Christopher Morley) (Kindle here) not to judge a book by its cover. Things are not as they seem and the bookshop may be haunted by more than the spirits of great literature.

Mr. and Mrs. Mifflin run the store, called Parnassus at Home, and live above the second-hand shop. Roger Mifflin is as passionate about books as Titiana is beautiful, and he is delighted to take her on as an apprentice at the behest of Titiana’s father. Her father wants to get some of the finishing school nonsense out of Titiana’s head and fill it with books and hard work instead. An admirable goal, and Roger and Titiana are both excited to teach and be taught.

But even before Titiana arrives, things are strange in the little, crowded shop. An advertising man, Aubrey, stops in to meet Roger and ask for a chance at his business, and the two quickly become friendly. But after a particular book disappears and reappears from Roger’s shelves, Aubrey begins to suspect foul play in this queer place.

Although most of Brooklyn is basking in the peace after World War I ends, Aubrey, Titiana, and the Mifflins become caught up in mystery after mystery. Every character is delightful to spend time with, even Bock, the Mifflins’ terrier. Roger’s passion for books is contagious, and at less than 200 pages it was the perfect easy read as things settle down for me in Chicago.

I drew Titiana as she arrives for the first time to meet the Mifflins. She is much wealthier than her bookstore benefactors, and her expertly tailored clothes show off her figure and complement her coloring. She is wearing brown tweed, a fur stole, and tan spats–like a boss.

titiana from the haunted bookshop outfit painting

(I picked out this book on my own and wasn’t paid to write about it. The links are affiliate, though, so if you buy through my links I’ll receive a little bit of money.)

new outfit: gloomy monday


It is a gloomy and rainy monday in Chicago, so I countered by wearing some bright flowers and taking a picture where it was warm and dry inside. Skirt from Banana Republic; top, shoes, and bag from Target; flower wrap from this super cute store in my neighborhood called Francesca’s Collection.

We did so much work on the apartment this weekend that I am really excited to show you guys. If you follow me on Instagram (@raenudson) you may have seen some sneak peeks. Huge thanks to Michael for all his help painting.

To keep away the Monday blues, here’s a picture of #fatcat from his least flattering angle.


easy project friday: using decorative paper

Sometimes all it takes to brighten up your life is a small change. This easy project takes just a few minutes and is very inexpensive–you just need some pretty paper or fabric, a ruler, scissors, and tape.

I love a glass cabinet but I’m not the most organized person. And if you’re going to be showing off your things with a window, they should look good sitting there. I have this little cabinet on the wall of my bathroom, and–let’s be real–none of the things I need in the bathroom are super cute to look at.

glass cabinet, decorative paper project

To hide my things and add some color and pattern to the bathroom, I found some decorative paper at Paper Source, a super cute paper store in my new neighborhood.

paper source paper

All you have to do is measure your window.

measure your window, decorative paper project

Cut out your paper (I added an inch to both sides so that I had some wiggle room when I was taping it up).

decorative paper project

And attach it to the back of your cabinet. You can use even just scotch tape, or you could try poster putty or tacks. Anything you feel is best to stick it to your cabinet without causing damage to it.

back of the cabinet, decorative paper project

Voila! After just a few minutes, it’s like you have a whole new cabinet.

decorative paper project

Change doesn’t have to be expensive or scary! And this is a great option for renters to add some color and pattern to their space without painting or adding wallpaper. Happy Friday! Now that this project is done, let’s relax.








tiny projects

I am still pretty overwhelmed. I just unpacked the last box over the weekend, to have something I ordered arrive in a brand new box. I am constantly shuffling my stuff–or my work or my plans–to figure out the best way to live here. And I’m a little sick of the mess*.

I have a huge to-do list. Actually, several to-do lists: one for work, one for home, one for this blog, one for regular life tasks, like sending a birthday card. (I’m late on that one.) There’s still so much around my apartment that I’m excited to do, but it’s going to take a lot of work and a little bit of time. So right now I’m focusing on some tiny projects.

Can I make my bed (even if the pillows don’t have covers)? Can I hang those mirrors using S-hooks so I don’t have to drill? Done.


Can I organize my thread and jewelry on these super cool new racks from Amazon? Sure. I can paint them later.

jewelry rack

Can I set out my books using these amazing Sandman bookends that I got for Christmas? Easy peasy.

sandman bookends

Can I make the couch look good while artfully leaving out the rest of the living room? Absolutely.

living room

Can I take photos for a blog post on my phone because I’m not sure if my camera has charged batteries? No problem.

Tiny things are good. Tiny things help me feel a little more in control and a little less crazy. This weekend I may move on to some of the bigger things, like actually painting something or picking out my next book to read. We’ll see how it goes.

*Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful to be so busy with work and the lovely friends and family in Chicago. But real talk: my house hasn’t been clean in a long time and I’m starting to lose my mind.

goodreads giveaway: almost royalty

Remember Almost Royalty, that fun book by Courtney Hamilton about a woman dating and living in socially warped LA? Just wanted to give a heads up that Goodreads is having a giveaway to get a signed copy. It’s open from today to April 28 and you can enter here. Almost Royalty Comes out May 28.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Almost Royalty by Courtney Hamilton

Almost Royalty

by Courtney Hamilton

Giveaway ends April 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

ms. marvel

ms marvel

Every girl, every teen, every person has felt out of place. The things that connect us all, especially in superhero comics, are feelings of loneliness, wanting to fit in, and wanting to be a part of something bigger. That’s not a man thing or a woman thing; that’s a person thing. And that’s what Ms. Marvel is about.

Ms. Marvel is a Marvel comic book series written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona. I heard the buzz when it was announced the new Ms. Marvel would be a Muslim American woman, and an interview in Vulture with Wilson especially piqued my interest. I’m two issues in and the storytelling is charming and relatable–which is what makes it so refreshing. The third issue of the monthly comic comes out today. (I buy a lot of comics electronically through Comixology, but you should also definitely check out your local comic book store.)

Kamala, a 16-year-old who lives in Jersey City, wants to go to a party, and her parents won’t let her. She looks up to the popular girls while feeling small and embarrassed when they are around. She wants great hair and killer boots. Her problems are my problems. Her emotions are all of our emotions–or have been, at some point.

We learn when we are young to copy people who look like us, maybe by emulating a big brother or your cool next door neighbor. More voices and more variety in comics (and movies and TV and at work and school and everywhere) isn’t just a suggestion, it is critical. When we see all kinds of people in our stories, it let’s us know that we can do it, too. That we can live, that we can have goals and interests, that we can connect with other people and thrive because someone else did it, and they are like us.

But Ms. Marvel doesn’t make the story about Kamala’s religion or that she’s a woman. It tells the story of regular teen angst, of sneaking out and getting caught. Of what to do at a party, and how to deal with going through a lot of change.

I’m not totally sure what I think about Kamala turning blond to be her superself, but that’s part of the point. She thinks blond hair and some thigh-high boots would solve her insecurities (who hasn’t thought that once or twice?), but Kamala feels just as out of place in a different body.

Kamala learns quickly that it’s not what you look like that makes you a superhero. Here’s hoping the rest of the industry learns this, too. And quickly.

a cubs game and what i wore

cubs game

My welcome to Chicago continued with a Cubs game last night. It was so nice out (but yes, a little chilly), and we had so much fun. Wrigley is a quick walk from my apartment, which made a weeknight game really easy to get to and enjoy. The Cubs lost by one to the Pirates, but *I* won because I had a blast. This is what I wore.

what I wore to a cubs game

Shoes from Target, jeans from…somewhere?, sweatshirt is a DIY (one of my favorites), blazer from Marshals, and scarf from the Gap. (Don’t worry, I also had another jacket and a hat stashed in my tote.)