Home sweet home-episode 2 – Kitchen classic

Geared up and ready for my next project, I decided to tackle the kitchen.  When you vacation in a log cabin, the dark, cozy wood surrounding you is comforting and pretty.  But when you LIVE there,……well, too much of anything, and that includes wood, can be tiresome.  Even my ceilings are wood!

Because I am a lover of all things vintage, it was hard to think about …..gasp!…painting my cabinets, but paint was the only solution to lighten things up a bit.

Inside my cabin, all the walls are logs.  My kitchen included, but the cabinets were pine and finished in the same color as the logs.  It was time to take on this project.

I like a high gloss white paint just about anywhere, but especially on door trims and window sills.  For the kitchen cabinets, it had to be high gloss for easy cleaning.  But I decided on a creamy antique white, with a dark blue/gray on the base cabinets.

First up…….take off the first half of the top cabinets.  I wanted to do this in stages.  I knew that this project was going to take about 4 full days to do.

This is the way the cabinets looked since the house was built in mid 50’s.  Knotty pine is so classic, but I wanted the white, so off they go!



Before the doors come off……remove all the hardware.  It is just easier to do while they are hanging.  I love the old stainless steel closures.  Once off, I added a baking soda solution to an old pot and heated it up to soak them in.  All excess gook and varnish melts right off for a new and shiny handle!


Next up, it’s time to sand em……..grab the goggles and gloves, and get started!

projects in chetek 023All set! They are ready for priming…….Oy……..What have I started here?  Before and after shots of the sanded and previously varnished piece.


101_5753That was tough…….but now comes the easy part…..if you like to watch paint dry that is.  Time to prime!  One thing I learned, unfortunately the hard way, is that you need to begin a love affair with Kilz primer.  No matter what surface you are painting, if you take one extra step and prime it……you will save yourself a lot of grief in the long run. I put two coats of primer on every single door.

After you prime your doors, walk away for the day.  Begin again tomorrow, and they are sure to be dry, and ready to paint.  The worst thing you can do is rush through this project.   It takes patience and time.

Next up……..paint those doors!  Shiny and new and bright and cheery, my kitchen has been transformed and a bit more modern too!  I love my new cabinets as they look like they have been here since day one.

101_5761Once up, you can see some of the spots you missed, so just fill it in! The left one has a hole from the knotty pine……but I like that there.  The top right needed paint filled in to the crevices…….easy breezy!

Now for the base cabinets……….Lather, rinse, repeat!

Et viola’!


My friend and savvy shopper Michelle Hap, at Bloomingdale’s sent me the perfect Persian rug prior to my project.  It was in the rug that I was able to find the blue gray paint color for the base cabinets. The rug is perfect in the kitchen as it has a lot of color and style.

That’s it for my kitchen cabinets…….Next up, a kitchen prep space for my husband.  Stay tuned!

Season 1-Episode 1- Home sweet home – Office with a view


Log cabin life can be interesting, and even an adventure when it comes to decorating and developing a style that will look fresh and current.  For many years, our cabin was a getaway that if we were lucky, we made it 4 times over the summer.

Now things are a bit different.  This is our summer home,  staying 5 months or more……We now live here, so to speak.  At best, we live in 1000 sq. ft of space.  Our largest dwelling was 2300 sq. ft in Chicago.  Needless to say, downsizing has been a full time job for years.

And so begins what used to be, and what is now. Very small things that we have done here and there to make it our own.

Season 1- Episode 1 – Home office Space

My friend Kathleen knows; I am a member of the “I used to be somebody” club. I had a gorgeous spacious office on Michigan Ave with 3 fitting rooms for my appointments.

This is what I had set up for my office here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.


No more Mr. Big Shot!

My printer sat on top of my old Pepsi cooler.  Along the wall you can see all of the original wiring we had set up.  Electrical at it’s finest.

Time to make some changes!  We searched for weeks to try and find the right fit for our rustic retreat.  IKEA doesn’t exactly cut it up here in the Northwoods.  I knew whatever we selected would be here a good long while, as we have no intentions of letting our little getaway go.

As hard as it was to pull the trigger,($$$) we finally decided to go Pottery Barn style.  I have often found many items in their catalogs. I am thinking that a PB catalog arrives in the mail at least once every too weeks.  Talk about marketing overkill!  But it worked…………. finally, a light bulb came on and Mark and I laid out a perfect plan.

Because we had most of the 12 foot wall to work with, about 8 feet.  We needed a long set up for 2 workspaces. The desktops came in 4ft. panels. Well, that’s a no brainer!  So all we needed to decide was how to meet in the middle with a component that would work for both of us.

Also very important for me, was to be able to incorporate our Amish made Hickory chairs. They are designed for comfort and crafted of gorgeous wood.


Once ordered, our furniture was on a back order for six weeks.  Shoot!  Mark and I are the worst at waiting for stuff.  We want it NOW…….immediate satisfaction. So, I reluctantly placed the order and to our surprise, it arrived within 3 weeks.

Here is our final set up which we are sooooooo happy with.

101_5794A place for everything…….

101_5793……..and everything in it’s place!

To keep it clutter free, we found wall lamps at Menards for $17 apiece.  I swapped out the standard pleated shades with linen ones (priced higher than the lamps..oops!) and we love them!  I can see in the photos though, I need to tack down the cords so they are straight!  Can’t have that messy look at my desk!

Thanks for watching my first episode of Home sweet home……..see you next week!




Not your everyday Garage Sale


This may look like an everyday, ordinary home with a 3 car garage below…….but it’s not.  The above area in the photo, is the office.  There is a full kitchen, full bath with an awesome tub, a balcony on two sides and a huge bedroom/turned private office, as well as a large office and guest area. The house is not pictured here…..but you can just about imagine……..or maybe not.



Last summer while in Northern Wisconsin,I received a call from the owner of this company, looking for someone to organize and assist a few of her clients that were buying and selling in the Sarasota area.  When I arrived in October, we met for lunch and became instant friends. We connected in such a way that ultimately, we will no doubt someday open a business together.

Since then, we hatched a plan to run an estate sale on her property. The goal was to sell the items that were used for staging large brownstone apartments in New York, as well as homes in SW Florida.  As you can see below……we had our work cut out for us.  There were 3 garages side by side, all filled to the brim with assorted items such as tools, construction equipment, office equipment, fine artwork and furniture and so much more!


First…..we removed every single item from the garage.  There was no other way to do it than to get it out and visible.  After 3 days of prep, we were ready to go.


Day one: 4 men and 1 women worked 6 hours to remove all items………..








Mission Accomplished! 101_6369






OK……….now what?  Well……the most important thing was to get back only the items that were staying.  This was mostly equipment for the construction business.

Tuesday was a day for Ed, Kevin and Josh. They sorted, sifted and worked their way through everything they could to get it ready for the next day.















Ed was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There were a few mishaps along the way that could make any fanatic go crazy, but Ed kept his cool and plowed through.  I was amazed at the progress they made when I returned Wednesday morning.











Everything had a place and was so perfectly organized!  One thing every organizer knows……Organizing, well that’s the easy part……..keeping it that way……..that’s another story.   I plan to return in 30 days to see the final and maintained space that Ed has created for his business.


But now, it was crunch time.  Everything left outside, needed to be organized by like items.  Clothing sorted, shoes, scarves, men’s and women’s all came out of the boxes and put on to hangars or a table.  There were enough clothes to start a consignment shop.














On Thursday evening, we hosted a private party for some friends and family.  What a night!  We had beer and wine, along with a few snacks, as our guests walked around amazed at the awesome collection of fine art, antiques, fabulous clothing and more. We made some new friends, some business deals and SALES!

Then on Friday, open to the public, they were lined up at 7:45 waiting for the gates to open. We ran an ad in the Herald, and posted signs on the main roads.  We had so many interesting characters, and a lot of the neighbors came to see Kathleen and Edward.  Very entertaining.  When the time came to close it up on Saturday, I couldn’t get them to budge. They were wheeling and dealing hours after I left, and even on Sunday, most of the day they were giving things away to the takers.  One young girl that came by practically furnished her entire apartment for free.  They were happy to have the items removed rather than have to drop for donation.

Even today, 5 days later, I sold a piece of art for $500 to my client that came by for the sneak preview sale.  And so it goes…………you just never know when the right time is to run a sale like this…….the weather was good, the snowbirds were still here, and it was    PRICELESS!



….closet makeover for Barbie!



Recently, I had the occasion to makeover a closet for a client, here in SW Florida.  We chatted over the phone, set a date, and with my garment rack and a few supplies in tow, off I went to meet her.

She was tall, slim, pretty, with a beautiful home, gorgeous decor, a very nice (and handsome husband) and heels the height of Willis Tower in Chicago!

I immediately thought……she looks like Barbie!

Barbie has a beautiful art studio in her home filled with artwork.  Her work has overflowed onto almost every wall in the house……….each different, and with a story of its own.

After a long walk ooooohhhhing and ahhhhing at her amazing home and “Pictures with a story”…….I arrived to my destination.

The walk in closet……….Barbie was a bad girl!

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5 different hangars, cleaning picked up in 1999, inside out tops (gasp!), hidden gems that hadn’t seen the light of day since Skipper showed up…….and shoes everywhere!

Plus, it was dark.  Barbie didn’t know that there was an outlet in her closet.  Let there be light!


We all know Barbie loves her shoes!

6bc0323d5d4a28d22aa80bafa3d8e125My new client was more than willing to let go of items that were no longer fitting her, or her lifestyle.  But the shoes……not so much.  She is a lover of those sky-high heels.  Why not?  I had a few bags that went on Ebay, and a few that she donated.

After a few hours I arrived home to find a few emails from her.  She was soooo excited about her new closet.  New lighting, new baskets and new hangars…..how did I know to purchase PINK ones before I even met her?

She was so thrilled she went out and purchased a $400 chair to use as her throne while admiring her new little boutique.

Hope you like it as much as we do!  Thanks Barbie……….for my beautiful painting of my sweet little Maggie,……and for keeping your closet clean one hangar at a time!

tc9 tc8 tc6 tc 10 tc 11

And………here is just a small sample of the talent my friend has……my dog Maggie!


and………..to top it off!!!!

Here in Florida, you are likely to see most boutiques showcasing a variety of items, in tons of different colors.

They all seem like some version of a Tory Burch or Lilly Pulitzer tunic.

colorful topsDon’t misunderstand me!….I love color…..It really does show your personality in the items you select.  But I always go back to black.

Working for so many years at Saks, Neiman’s and Bloomingdale’s, on Michigan avenue in Chicago, well……that is just the way it was.

At Bloomingdale’s, black is the dress code. You can wear a white top, a cream top or powder blue.  Powder Blue?  Not so much.



Did you ever notice how you are always struggling when getting ready for a simple, casual affair?  Do you know why?  I will tell you why.  It is because you don’t have enough tops.  Go to items that can look great with a Chanel Bag, under a business suit or with a pair of jeans.  That is what you need, plain and simple.

If you run in to me now……today, I will not be wearing black (most likely). But I did spend this past month in search of a few good go to type tops.  And I am happy to say, that I now have some options.  So I can sleep at night.

I bought this Red Equipment blouse, but I don’t wear it with Army green shorts and booties.  Should I?















The other day I ran in to the salon…. (yes, I have a part time job at one)……great benefits ladies!  Anyhoo……I had on a lightweight, white linen shirt jacket, and my linen Burberry nova check scarf.  It was 79 degrees.  The girls asked me if I was expecting a cold front?


C’mon!  I think I look pretty good don’t you? Even in air conditioning, it is pretty warm here.  So layering is lovely, but just not at all necessary.

top 7

That’s what I said!  WHY?

So now I can just wear my WHY       t-shirt which has long sleeves!        Yes I really did buy it.

To protect my skin from uv rays silly!


That my friend, is always in fashion.


I am obsessed with a big white shirt but have to drop about 10 more pounds so that I don’t look like I am trying to cover something up.  It’s not easy but so far I am down 8 pounds since we got here on October 1.

After 50, life is cruel and unkind when it comes to your wardrobe options.  Any thing with lycra in it is your friend, basically. 


I love the idea of topping it off with a big chunky scarf!  Hope you are taking advantage of this in Chicago ladies!   I’m a little bit jealous.

I will just leave the sweater, and the scarf behind, head to the beach, and wear my tank top. No problem!
tops 2

These two girls have it all!  Love the whole get up.  If I had to choose one top, I would take the green one. Anthropologie has some really cute Boho tops like these shown here. I picked up a few at their end of season sale.

The bright one looks like a vintage bowling shirt but I am sure it is not.

Each one sports a logo…….little Hermes’ belt and adorable Chanel cross body.  Nicely done indeed!

top 93

If I had the chance to wear this gorgeous cashmere sweater……I would wear it everyday.  It looks so soft. Probably TSE Cashmere would be my best guess.

Since weather is not permitting,  I’ll just get the handbag, which will look great with my nude color Joie silk blouse. That will really TOP IT OFF!


Because today is Veterans Day, I am going to break out one of my favorite Vintage Sweaters.  I just love how soft it is.  It looks awesome with my Joes boyfriend jeans.

summer in the winter


















I am thinking about wearing this for New Years Day.  What do you think?  I have a group coming over to play Canasta, and Mark is going to wheel out the beverage cart.  What fun will that be?


vintage beverage cart















Don’t you just love the holidays?  What fun it is to put up lights and wait for the sun to go down so you can sit out on the patio and have a Pimms!

Here’s to ya! See you next week, but no later than some time in December!

LOVE?……..or not so much?

not so much 20

Maybe, I am really letting go in my retirement……or maybe, I see what I see……

The question is……DO YOU see what I see?

Street Style: London Fashion Week                   Spring 2014 was on the runway but Fall was in the air.

Statement coats galore.

…….but this is a housecoat, is it not?



See if you agree.  I had to post my voice here for you to get the real effect.  My apologies ahead of time if any of you gals from London see this.

I know you all secretly read my blog!  Why don’t you just comment?  I know you love it!!! Sheesh!


love 10


She’s adorable, love the new twist on the bunhead and love the monochromatic thing she’s got goin on!







……….not so much

not so much 13


now what do you suppose is going on here?

It is a sort of Bumble Bee takes on plaid look.

Even the glasses are a bit buggy no?






love 1


This is a great way to look fabulous in a suit that would normally be………well, a suit.

This girl knows how to show off the abs that she works so hard for.  Love the shoes too!

Makes it all not too serious.

Hopefully she is on her way to a photo shoot and not to an interview.



not so much………

not so much 17


Not even sure what is going on here.

She seems to be wrestling with her LA style cap.

Not sure what she had in the shorts, but I think she has them on backwards, don’t you?






love 4


She just looks chic and put together.

Way to rock the white pants.  We all have a pair or two, just ready to break out…….but why do we always reach for something else?

This works! 100%  Love the shoes and the bag is perfect.



not so much……….

not so much 16


She is so uncomfortable right now.  Surrounded by the “Style Spotter” photographers…….

She is thinking…”I am so busted!  Just on my way home at 7am…Good thing I buttoned up……wish I would have thrown on a scarf…..sunglasses maybe?”





love 5


I don’t know…….I love it.

Love the coat, love the jacket, love the clutch, and love the shorts and easy soft t-shirt!

The boots are fabulous and really work with this look.

Well done.



not so much……

not so much 2

“let’s see….oh, here is that denim jacket that I couldn’t find in 1989!  Awesome, my dad’s old cowboy hat!  Woopie!

This skirt is so big……if I roll it up and pin it maybe it will work…….

Can I really wear socks with these shoes?  I saw it in Glamour yesterday, and the model looked good.

oh, oh, oh!  My necklace from my neighbor’s mom! Perfect!”



love 6


This is just adorable all the way around!

Love the Fur and the Leather together.

A little splash of animal print is always in style.

But the gorgeous smile says it all.

Confident, happy and fabulous!



not so much……..

not so much 14


“Well I tried to get my pants tucked in and they just wouldn’t stay!

Then I tried to get my jeans to just go over the tan part, but that wasn’t happening…….I’m melting….

……..so, whatdoyathink?”





love 9


Love Love Love this whole get up!

I always prefer the black tights to finish a look like this.  Sometimes, bare legs just doesn’t cut it!

The sweater is perfect with this all black ensemble.




not so much………..

not so much 19


Gloria was so drunk in this photo that she opted for a lean in on this column.

A few minutes later she stumbled home to get some sleep.





and more not so much……….

not so much 8not so much 3









SEE………..you next time!  And watch out for the style spotters!  They could be in your neck of the woods next!

xo Joyce



a very fine vintage………….




For those of you that really know me……..you know, that I would not really be writing about wine.  As much as it saddens my husband that we can’t share a glass of wine together now and then (hate it)……I just can’t do it.

So that leads me to my true passion…….vintage – fashion.  Who better to show off a fabulous sweater than Sophia Loren.  Can you imagine what it must have been like to look like that in a sweater?  The eyes, the hair…….I mean….sheesh!

Every time I run across a piece of clothing older than 1970…….I get pulled to a different time and place. So I love to look at old photos, and old movies to shop the fashions from the time.  It is incredible.

Already a collector of old woven blankets, heirloom quilts, tablecloths and linens, I am not ashamed to say I have my share of kitchy sweaters from days gone by.

And even better, if there is an animal on it, and it is old………I will buy it!   Hands down.



If I owned my own little thrift store, I would have a special area for vintage sweaters.

Each piece would have to tell a story and would speak to only a few that have some connection to it.

To make it simple……each piece would be priced at $50.

The squirrel sweater spoke to me because my mom loves squirrels, and so does my friend Betty!




This past week, Mark and I took an 8 hour drive to Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan.  The upper peninsula.  Believe it or not, the trees were already turning shades which were the colors of fine wines, and golden ales…….heavenly.

As we returned home, I realized that this is the prettiest time of year for us.  70 degrees, the air is crisp, the lake looks fresh, and the breezes in the middle of the afternoon with the sun shining down on you are just where I want to be.




I also have this same sweater in a horse version.  You have to have some variety.

Can’t you see yourself somewhere in the fall, shopping in a little town, and running across this whimsical little sweater?

I did, and I put it on and I bought it.



Adding layers is a kind of comfort I cannot describe.

Even though we leave for the sunshine state in less than two weeks, I am unwilling to part with my sweaters, boots, and cashmere scarves.  Even gloves……..I can’t let them go.  So I take them back and forth, and grab each and every opportunity to wear them.  It is rare………but I’ll be ready.




I love this silly little sweater.

Wear it as a dress with tights and some fun boots.

















I’m thinking about it.

Now that I am retired, I mean c’mon!!!!

I have to wear a Christmas sweater when I get on the bus to go to the outlet mall!







Uh……what’s up doc!

Funny bunny!

I love this one!








and keeps things









Subtle…….but adorable!

















Don’t forget your little baby!




For more fun and different sweaters this fall…..check out


Hope you had a great summer!  I know I did…….see you next week!




all wrapped up…………..

Heading in to Fall………we know that it is time to start thinking in terms of layers.  My friend Peggy, at DKNY does an awesome job demonstrating how to wear the Cozy.  DKNY makes the best Cozy Wrap sweaters.  Years ago, I scored one in a big chunky cashmere.  Fabulous! You can get them in silk for summer months, or for Resort travel in the winter.  All imaginable colors!

For this fall,  get the Merino wool cozy.  Charcoal Gray is my favorite. Rich in color, and it goes great with any combination you can imagine.  The black is the easy way out.  Go for the Gray!

Watch Peggy as she makes it so easy for you!  If you already have a similar sweater, try some of these easy tips and see what happens!


This next model shows you how to use 4 different shaped scarves.  It is amazing and she makes it look so easy.  So break out those Hermes scarves you have been storing in their little square boxes and start wearing them!  What in the world are you waiting for?

Don’t have Hermes?  Who cares……..just watch and be inspired.  The video is courtesy of Nordstrom but of course you can get your scarf anywhere……..maybe even right out of your closet!

That’s it for this week.  95 and humid, feeling a bit   s- l- o- w  tonight!

Next week is the holiday and we all know what that means…….Say it ain’t so!!!!

End of summer??? NOOOOOOO!!!!!  Just say NO!

You can eek out another month or two if you just go with the weather and not with the fashion trends……..but who would want to do that?

and….what’s in your closet?

OK……….as promised, let’s see what $10,000 can buy me for a new fall wardrobe!

First stop…….Neiman Marcus…….


I decided that my favorite vendor right now is Philip Lim, so you will see a few key pieces by him.  The snakeskin satchel, my favorite today.  The gunmetal tank top, the silk blouse in that yummy chocolate brown.  All things timeless!





















Pretending that I am still in Chicago for the fall season……..I chose a few jackets that will get me mileage.  A black biker that I can wear with the Chanel boots casually, or with the LBD.  Either works fine.

I had to use over 1/3 of the budget on that gorgeous Burberry Coat.  My friend Wendy recently walked out of Neiman’s sporting that rich gold color, and I loved it!  So why not invest in a 100% Cashmere classic coat?  Delicious!

The DVF Navy tweed jacket will be great with jeans and boots.  I threw in a James Perse t-shirt which can be layered with anything.






















If I had to choose two scarves, these would be the ones.  Both good quality wool and cashmere, with great style and color.

I like to add the prices when I can, but I never shop online.

You can get most of these items at either Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdale’s.  These are the best places in Chicago to shop. (I know, I’m partial).   Theory is always included in promotions, so you can get the basics at Friends and Family or Private Sale at Bloomingdale’s.  Sandro is another new vendor that I love.  They do some great novelty pieces.  T-Shirts and jackets especially.  They only go on sale a few times a year.  So get it when you see it!














OK, I had to have the Jil Sander cable cashmere.  That hurt, but I will have it forever (in my imaginary world that is).  I love the DVF silk blouse over the cami.  So easy with jeans, or the black pants.  Gorgeous!

LLBean classic cardigan……..get a few colors, and buy it in a size too small. I am usually a large, but I would get this in a medium, for a more contemporary fit.  I love a black cardigan over a white t-shirt and jeans, with a pair of comfy loafers!









Another chunky sweater and a timeless silk white top.  Priceless!

oops!  I blew the budget.  And I didn’t get a price on those Chanel boots, so that doesn’t count right?  OK, ok……..I’ll take out the white tshirt!  Sheesh!

I guess I will wait on the Burberry Coat, and hope for a reduction.  In the meantime GIRLS, I JUST WANNA HAVE FUN!

See you next week……..back to reality!  Sigh………



I FALL…….to pieces……..


Up hear in the Northwoods, the leaves are beginning to get dark, and I feel the breeze of fall days trying to sneak in, and get an early start.  It is at this time every year, that I am so torn about my closet.  I mean, I sooooo want to start wearing those new boots still in the box, and that leather jacket I bought in early spring……

But I also want to hang on to my summer just as long as I can.  We wait so long for these precious few days……June through September…..4 months of summer.

My friends in Chicago and New York are wondering “Joyce, it’s August 12….what are you talking about?”……They have been sporting around town in their new fall gear for weeks.  Some of them wear boots all summer.  It can be done in the retail world.  Inside a building, with windows only on the first floor,………you can pretend it’s cold out there! Gotta wear my layers now!

For the next few weeks, I have decided that I will build a fall capsule wardrobe……on a budget!

Just for fun………(I mean, I am in Wisconsin so cut me a break!)

1- Realistic fall budget $1,000

2 – Dream fall budget $10,000

Are you rolling your eyes?  There are many fashionistas out there, that can do it on $100 budget.  Believe me, I see it all the time.  I am a thrift store junkie after all.

But I am usually over in the home section looking for vintage “kitchen” stuff or an heirloom quilt, that some unknowing person dropped off at the back door for a donation.



My sister Pam, the amazing, talented THRIFT STORE stylist, found me this quilt for my cabin for $3…….probably from the 60’s…






Back to my wish list……..let’s start with $1,000 today!

Purses / Boots / Flats / Pants / Jeans / Blouse / Sweater / Dress / Jackets /Scarf



Here is a list of prices and where these items came from, many of them can be found at Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s too!

My total came to $1056 but let’s face it, by the time you place the order there will be an additional markdown ……..happy shopping!

See you next week with the BIG BUDGET!   Heading over to Neiman’s.