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Two years ago I bought a fig tree. It was at once a thoroughly calculated and yet impulsive buy. I'd wanted to get a fig tree, I'd thought about getting a fig tree, I'd researched where I could even get a fig tree in Chicago, if you could even grow a fig tree in Chicago. And then I ended up purchasing one at a farmer's market outside my train stop. I was on my way to work when I spotted it at a stand, handed over $20, and lugged it home. I was late to work that day.   [caption id="attachment_46514" align="aligncenter"...

I spend my entire life cleaning. OK, maybe that's an overstatement. But, no, I spend my entire life cleaning. Or, at least, thinking that maybe I should clean. There's always laundry that somehow gathers in a pile next to the hamper. There's always a sink full of dishes that cascades onto the kitchen counter. There's always a trail of litter on the floor that I'll sweep up tomorrow. Maybe. There's always hair in the drain or a closet door that won't quite close or an empty can of Coke on the nightstand or a sheet corner that has come loose. There's...

It was my first time in Europe. My first time out of the country. I'd tagged along on my friends' three-week backpacking trip - eight cities in six countries- a pace that now has my quivering. Paris was our last stop. And, like many American girls who had never traveled before, Paris was my dream. The Eiffel Tower was my dream. Seeing the Eiffel Tower, the symbol of romance and beauty and all things European, up close and in person, was my dream....

East Meets West (Elm) — my teal, aqua, and gold mid-century modern meets global-inspired living room.   Over the holidays I had seven extra days off from work, everything from Christmas Eve through New Years. Combined with the weekends, that was eleven days off in a row. Eleven days where I didn't have to think about work. I thought about maybe traveling somewhere over the break, but I couldn't afford a trip and have had so many things I've wanted to work on that I decided to stay home and use the time off to catch up on my life. In preparation I...

When I was young, maybe eleven or twelve years old, I got a cactus. I named my cactus Mr. Bean and put it near the window of my bedroom. And it sat there, for a while, until it eventually died because I never remembered to water it. Let's back up here: I killed a cactus because I didn't water it enough. I killed a cactus, the one plant in the world notorious for not needing all that much water to survive, because I didn't water it enough. That's about how green my thumb is. In the years since, I've killed many plants. All of...

Not much has changed in my living room since I last checked in five months ago. I guess I added the fig tree (I have a FIG TREE!) and the side table-turned plant stand. And I added the ugly-but-ever-so-necessary air conditioner. But really, not much else. The room needs a rug to tie it all together (but, quite seriously, I'm waiting until I can afford to go to Morocco and buy a rug from there...

I live in Chicago. I think that's official. I've been here for seven months. I have a job. I have an apartment. I have furniture in said apartment. I think that means I really, truly, live here. It's something I'm totally fine with until those times I'm not. Until those times where I realize I could be on a beach instead. Or somewhere warmer or colder than Chicago depending on the day. Or with my friends at a conference in Spain. Or, literally, anywhere else in the world. But then I remember that even when I was traveling I spent half my...

For the past four months I've been neither here nor there. At the end of October, after over three years of living nomadically, I "finished" my travels, flew back to Chicago on a one-way ticket, and accepted a full-time job. But, in the four months since, I haven't really been "here." Not yet. I was living in a friend's spare bedroom. I was living off of a designated shelf in the cupboard, a designated shelf in the fridge, a borrowed bed, a borrowed pillow, a borrowed towel. All of my things were still in storage at my mom's. I couldn't join a...

Now that I've found an apartment it's time to start concentrating on what really matters: finding a couch. I know what you're going to say: "Just look on Craigslist." Or, alternately, "Just go to IKEA." And what you mean to say is, "Just get something cheap." Because, to you, maybe a couch isn't that important. But, here's the thing, I've been dreaming of buying my own couch since before I ever dreamed of traveling the world. And, while I was traveling, I'd often window shop online, lusting after what was out there, dreaming of someday decorating an apartment exactly how I've always...