DIY Shoe & Purse Maintenance

I don't know about you but after a Chicago winter, we find our shoes and purses in desperate need of a little extra TLC. In need of some serious moisture - a lot like our skin! - and a bit scuffed around the edges from the daily trudge to and from work, an afternoon of some quick and easy DIY tips and tricks will have your accessories back in tip-top shape. Check out a few helpful hints below!

Image via  @carson.kit

Image via @carson.kit

Ditch the Clutter

Whether you have one statement bag or you swap through various purses and backpacks during the week, you are sure to have some clutter and miscellaneous junk ready for the trash. The best way to take care of a purse is to ditch the clutter as often as possible. The more stuff you cram into a tote, the more the fabric stretches, strains and stresses. And really, who needs to be carrying all that extra weight around anyway? Empty your bag and seriously consider what needs to be tossed and what stays.

For Dehydrated Leather, Try Milk

Image via  NY Daily News

Image via NY Daily News

While the jury is still out on whether milk actually does the body right, it is a secret technique used by most cobblers and leather workers to hydrate dry, damaged leather. My late grandmother left me quite the collection of vintage Coach bags and after a few failed attempts to get them restored, one cobbler suggested I rub the bags with a soft towel damp with milk, not a bath, but soft, light dabs. He said this would help soothe the cracked fabric and was better than any treatment he could do. My grandmother's bags have never looked better and all I needed was a half gallon of milk and a washcloth...psst, this works on leather shoes too!

(Always do a spot test before trying this technique. Though I was assured this was safe, I would hate to have any ruined leather on my conscience! And never use this trick for suede, just saying.)

Whiten Those Sneaks

Image via  NBL

Image via NBL

Though Chicago was spoiled this winter in terms of very light snowfall, there was still enough sludge and ice, salt and rain, to wreak havoc on your sneakers. To get shoes back to their shining glory, try this handy tip from Nicole of NBL. Just combine baking soda with laundry detergent, pre-scrub, toss in the washer in a mesh bag, rinse, repeat and let air dry. Sooner than you know it, those sneakers will be right as rain and looking brand new in no time.

Renew Suede Shoes

Image via  Apartment Therapy

Oh Suede, you fickle, fickle fabric. What is not to love about the luxurious fabric suede other than its persnickety demeanor and fragile exterior? Whether a purse or shoes - even a jacket - this material can go from slinky and chic to worn out and distressed in no time. Apartment Therapy broke down some ways to revamp your suede with just a brush, eraser and emory board. A combination of all three seems to works best and never wet this fabric unless you really want it to go to the dogs.

Blue Jean Baby

Image via  Hello Hydrangea

Image via Hello Hydrangea

For those who rock the dye-rich denim - whether black, navy or deep indigo - then this tip is most certainly for you. A simple swipe over the hearty fabric with an alcohol-free face wipe like these from Simple will take the denim hue right off.

Crumber Magic

Image via  Real Simple

Image via Real Simple

No one can deny the magic of a lint roller and if you are like me - with an oversized tote stuffed to the gills with loose change, snacks, paper scrids and pen tops - then this hack is sure to make life a touch easier. Just simply take a lint roller to your "empty" bag and see what you retrieve from the beneath the lining and at the bottom of your sack.

Stinky Feet Powder

Image via  Bren Did

Image via Bren Did

After a long winter of wool socks, tights, wet feet and puddle jumps, needless to say, your toes and footwear may be in need of a little odor prevention. This awesome at-home recipe utilizes a few of our favorite natural items i.e. essential oils - Tea Tree, Peppermint and Eucalyptus - to rid your shoes and toes of any residual funk. Any excuse to purchase a few extra oils is always good in our book...

And now a pic from Spring because, well, I just can't wait!

Image via  @carson.kit

Image via @carson.kit

'Til next time!


V-Day Cocktail Matches

Roses are Red

Violets are Blue

Sometimes all a girl needs is a

Nice big cocktail to get her through!

No matter if you are flying solo this Valentine's day and possibly in need of a little liquid courage, or if you are in fact paired up and simply in search of the perfect pre-date libation, one of these adult beverages is sure to fit the mood. Check out our list of seven drinks to see which cocktail is your 100% match!

Indulge Yourself

Image via  Punch

Image via Punch

Made with rye whiskey, plum tea, an egg white and bee pollen for garnish, the Red Velvet from Bemelmans Bar may not be an every day occurrence but is sure to be your next guilty pleasure.

Have you met my main bae, Tequila?

Image via  Saveur

Image via Saveur

Le Mexique may not be for the faint of heart but this twist on a margarita with mango and ginger, Domaine de Canton - a small batch ginger liqueur from France - and chocolate shavings, nothing quite says February 14th like a few shots of tequila.

The Netflix and Chill of Drinks

Image via  Eater Drinks

Image via Eater Drinks

If a cozy night with your main squeeze is the plan, this silky, eggnog style beverage is sure to keep you two snuggled up on the couch. The Angostura Flip uses a whole egg for its luscious texture and goes down oh-so-smooth.

Girls Nite

Image via  Martha Stewart

Image via Martha Stewart

If a Galentine's Day celebration is in order, the Rose Noir is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. With a vodka base, a hint of acidity from the Meyer lemon and all the pink bubbles you could want, this pleasant mixer is sure to get the girls talking!

The People's Party Punch

Image via  The New York Times

If Valentine's Day calls for a punch bowl, the St. Charles Punch recipe will have your guests on their knees in no time! Made with cognac and ruby port, raspberries and sugar, this recipe goes down quick and is sure to wash away any lingering V-day regrets .

For the Lonely Heart

Image via

Image via

While the Aviation may be a year round favorite, sometimes it is nice to see a familiar face on such an occasion as V-day. With four ingredients and a bright violet hue, this gin-based sipper is quick to make so you can get back to Facebook stalking your ex or drowning your sorrows in terrible romcoms - any Hugh Grant film will do!

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Image via  Epicurious

Image via Epicurious

While the Aperol Spritz may be one of the best warmer weather libations around, this float style twist was made for the dreary days of February. Gelato lends a silkier, seductive vibe to the dessert cocktail and with a little coaxing this after dinner treat may just be the highlight of the evening.

As always, please drink responsibly and cheers!

'Til next time,


Valentine's Day Makeup

We here at OSB love any excuse to shake things up a bit with our daily look. So even if the word V-day gives you the chills, why not embrace a little of Cupid's spirit with your makeup? Whether you and your honey are off to a romantic dinner for two, or your best girls are holding a seance to excise your exes over wine and cupcakes, or better yet, if Sunday the 14th is just another Sunday, our list of Valentine's Day makeup looks (with a few hair tips thrown in there too!) is sure to have at least one option for everybody.

Pinks and Blues

Image via  @inthefrow

Image via @inthefrow

While Valentine's Day is usually all about sultry reds and rich, dark pigment, this fresh-faced look is a fun twist on the classic cat-eye. A pared down face highlights the blue eyeliner and mascara, putting all the focus on a favored asset: the eyes, and pale pink lips are sure to stay put even after you mow down on a red velvet cupcake for dessert!

Soft Barrel Curls and Finger Waves

Image via  @jordanheidenwith

If headed out into the night to see what Cupid has in store, may we suggest pretty barrel curls to give your mane an undone polish. Use a curling iron for more stubborn hair or just wrap sections around your fingers as you blow dry for a more lived-in look, this quickie style holds all through the night with a dash of hairspray but gives your locks - no matter if above the shoulder to below the collarbone - a finished look with only a smidge more effort on your part. We love that!

Red Lips and Messy Chignons

Image via  @jeannedamas

Image via @jeannedamas

For the most classic V-day style, a heavy red lip with a pulled back chignon is ever so festive but still pretty and refined. A strong bold lip is the perfect punctuation to any outfit as long as you make sure not to clash your reds together. Pull a few loose hairs from your low-slung bun to give this put-together look a relaxed edge and get out there. But don't say we did not warn you: this look is sure to attract an admirer or two when used correctly!

Top Knot with a Magenta Lip

For a no frills girls' night movie date, may we suggest a clean top knot and bold statement lip to add some fire to your evening. With a simple, carefree vibe, give face with hair pulled back in a sleek bun. A vivid berry lip adds a playful edge to this style and also dresses up a white t-shirt if dressing down for your Valentine's Day evening.

Bedhead Fringe

Image via  @awildatheart

Image via @awildatheart

We have said it before and will say it again, bedhead hair is not only easy to achieve but exudes confidence with a touch of rocker sex appeal. Regardless of your plans, a tousled mane - in our opinion - is quite possibly the best hairstyle for any occasion but definitely when old Cupid is running around working his magic. Whether your opt for authentic bedhead and manage second day hair or if you add a spritz of sea salt spray to add texture, these locks atop a frilly dress, sweatpants or jeans and red sweater stitched with hearts looks just right.

Thick, Neon Blue Eyeliner

Image via  @stilacosmetics

Image via @stilacosmetics

Add a quirky punch to your holiday by eschewing the traditional reds and pinks to opt for a bolder, brighter hue: why not blue? This thick eyeliner again highlights the eyes but is also a fun look no matter what the evening's plan entails. Teal and cobalt are sure wow and set you apart from the rest of the Valentine's Day crowds.

Barefaced Beauty

Image via  @inthefrow

Image via @inthefrow

Quite possibly our favorite V-Day look, if staying in - or even going out - a bare face never felt more right. Low key and comfortable, some BB cream for moisture and chapstick to keep lips oh-so-supple - we are in Chicago after all and chapped lip season is still upon us - a pure, fresh face is all you need for a relaxing night in.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours! (Even if yours is a book and a slice of pizza.)


Home Decor Remedies for Winter Blues

With the glitz and charm of holiday cheer now just a distant memory from 2015, coupled by freezing temps and light snow flurries, it is only natural to have the January blues creep in. While a trip to warmer climes may be the best remedy for Chicago winter doldrums, revamping your home decor is another fun way to feel inspired and shake off any residual seasonal grumpiness. Check out a few ideas below to help reinvent your mental state with home design this season.

Get Organized

Along the same lines as last week's post on Closet Cleanup, sometimes a quick refresh of home decor can make all the difference. If you find yourself frustrated, scatterbrained, forever in search of your keys, or all three! A quick cleanse will not only get your house looking spiffy and fresh but also help declutter your headspace. Toss the unnecessary and straighten what is left.

Lemon Pop

Image via  Yellow Bliss Road

A pop of color, especially vibrant lemon, will not only brighten a dull room but is sure to lift your spirits too. While subdued and minimal hues have their place on the Pantone color wheel, yellow is sure to be the quick and snappy pick-me-up your mood is in need of! Try tulips or lemons to get your home decor ripe and ready.

Aromatize Your Life

After your sense of sight has been addressed, do not forget the all important sense of smell either. To give your nose an optimistic boost try a bit of aromatherapy. We love these tin candles from Paddywax with their duo scents and tin container, reusable long after the wick has burned down. There is no way to avoid feeling spring's excitement with these floral and herbaceous scents. Check out our online store here for more candle options too!

Get Creative

Image via  @kathrinsmirke

Image via @kathrinsmirke

Another way to get your head in the right frame of mind is - for us creative types at least - to get a little crafty. Whether it is finally putting paint to canvas or paper to pen, get working on that craft or project you set aside during the holiday crunch. There is no better feeling than accomplishment and tapping into your inspired side, especially when it comes to home decor projects. Stuck inside over the weekend with chilly temperatures and freezing rain? No problem when there is a task - albeit, a fun one we hope! - in need of completion.

Make a Plan

Image via  @marissaaross

Image via @marissaaross

Similar to step one, an organized desk and planner will get you ready for the year ahead. A desk calendar or even one mapped on your fridge will not only keep you steering towards your 2016 goals and resolutions but can also add a utilitarian feel to your household. Awe guests with your full schedule or take pride in never missing an appointment. Either way, with a glass of wine to help get your ducks in a row, all at-home offices need an organized calendar at their helm!

Embrace It

Image via  @prettylittlefawn

And if worse comes to worse, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a knee and letting your cold weather grumpiness run full force. No better a time to wrap up in a wool sweater, grab some tea or coffee and get under the covers. Seriously, no shame in sleeping in, watching a Netflix or two and being a bit grouchy. It is nature's cycle after all!

Stay warm and 'til next time!