Eclectic Collector: Bridget Egan Apartment Tour

We all love a well put together home. Who can't help but drool at a space that screams interior design magazine. We covet these homes because they are polished to a degree of a seemingly unattainable perfection. They inspire us, challenge us, delight us.

Your home should be a personal reflection of you, captured in the most authentic way possible. It should be your own version of perfect, emulating the person who walks in and out of that door every day. The person whose personal style is reinforced by her self-made environment. The person who is confident in her aesthetic and vision for life.

An example of that someone described above is my good friend, Bridget Egan.

Bridget's apartment is a beautiful representation of her – an eclectic arrangement of pieces that each tell a compelling story. Thoughtfully curated, her home is unbelievably rich and layered with truth. I hope to share a sliver of her vision, her madness, her wisdom, her heart.


Don't Fear Age Thirty

There’s one word that greatly reflects turning 30. That glorious word is “pressure.” We all know it, have felt it, or will feel it. For anyone that doesn’t, well – I bow to you. You superhuman, you.

So why does 30 paralyze us? If age isn’t “just a number” then why does it still feel like it’s all about the number. The answer lies in the expectations and comparison that begin somewhere around the age of 27, when we start to feel like we should “get it together” and be a little more of an adult. We start to want to make people believe that the years of keg stands and day drinking are far behind us, and that we invest our time planning for future adult-like needs. “Make people believe” – meaning we may not necessarily feel ready to abandon these behaviors completely - we simply feel that we should. And we are arriving at a difficult transition that leaves most of us in the dark and unsure.

There’s a certain stigma associated with any woman who pops into her 30’s without a husband or a husband on the way. Lucky for us, it’s 2015 and this way of thinking has subsided. But the pressure still remains. Regardless of what anyone says, the worry weighs heavy on all late twenty-something women. Is it a coincidence that I was invited to 17 weddings in one year? The same year that all of my friends entered into their upper twenties? Methinks not. We spend entirely too much time investing our thoughts and actions into doing what we should do to find a man. It worries me, for us – that there are blogs out there entirely devoted to being 30 and single. Don’t feel sorry for me! I’m so empowered, being 30 and alone and all! And sure that’s a nice thought, but it just draws more attention to the matter of 30 and single being a “thing”.

Can it stop, please? If not now, when?  I’ve sat amongst women at work, in groups of friends, and in my own family for years and the fear still weighs heavy. The pressure is still pressing and women can’t let it go. From overheard conversations to deep discussions, the number one issue remains: “When will I find my husband?” This unnerving question populates the minds of women, and takes up an outrageous overabundance of real estate. It can destroy years of living in contentment as a single woman, stir enough anxiety to kill a small animal, and lead us down paths that aren’t necessarily the best for us. It overpowers us, not empowers us. It makes us reliant on behaviors that aren't true to us that we think will land us a dream man. I know, because I’ve been there.

Now I’m not saying it’s abnormal or bad to worry about this. It’s actually highly normal and expected. I’m saying that I wish I hadn’t spent the majority of my twenties worrying if I’d ever find someone. Out of fear, I spent entirely too much time working around the best plan that would inevitably put me in a situation where I would meet the right man. I stayed in Chicago, out of fear. Fear that if I left, I’d never find a husband. Fear that I would waste too much time acclimating to a new city, and I’d be getting older and less desirable along the way. Woah, that was all crazy! There is no right "plan" to find a man. And I can’t believe that was me. You guys, don’t think this way. I'm telling you now – I so highly regret the amount of concentrated time wasted on men in my twenties. It could've served for such greater opportunities. I'm not saying you shouldn't invest time sending links of hot guys to your friends and day dream about them while eating a boring salad at your work desk . You just shouldn't allow them to heavily dictate your path or your self worth.

We can’t predict the future. This life is a crapshoot and that includes the happiest couples posting smiley pictures all over Facebook. They could be divorced in a year and you could be eating grapes in an Egyptian castle fed to you by the world’s hottest man who is vying for your love. We just don’t know. And that’s ok. But that’s exactly why you need to do what’s right for you regardless of your age or a worried repeat thought process. Be brave, be bold and own your life like Colonel Sanders owns Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I love finding really inspiring wisdom in movies with mostly comedic intentions. In Wedding Crashers, the great Christopher Walken so wisely says: "We have no way of knowing what lays ahead of us in the future. All we can do is use the information at hand to make the best decision possible. It's gonna be fine. Your whole life is gonna be fine." If we can take one day at a time – armed with the information that we're going to be fine – I’d go ahead and say we have nothing to worry about, at any age.

Are you in your thirties? Getting ready to turn the big 3-0? How do you feel about it?

A Big Wedding: Why You Should Go For It


As some of you may know, I got engaged this past October. It's been an incredible three months of celebration and love – mixed with a healthy dose of planning and decision making. Initially, Chris and I were going to elope. "The wedding industry is a sham!" We said. "They'll take all of our money and time!" We proclaimed. "We'll do something cool and different!" We boasted. We aimed to sneak around the system, and happily get married in a very low key, just us, simple way. It wasn't until we started making the guest list that we had a change of heart. Here are the rationales that took us from elopement to big city wedding in just a few short weeks.

1. It's not a day, it's a year

When I think about wedding costs, I hear the resounding words in my head: "It's ONE day, how could you spend all that money on ONE day!?" What I've come to realize, however, is that it's not just one day. It's one year of preparing, celebrating, creating, scheming, planning, loving, anticipating, sweating, crying and enjoying. All with your partner, family and friends. Other than having a child, it may be one of the biggest creations you will ever achieve in your lifetime.

2. When else will you have the excuse to throw a killer party?

Yes, I am going to pull some YOLO on you. Sorry, but it's true! Sure, you can take the money and run away together, elope and travel. While that does sound appealing - there's something so much greater about having everyone that's ever mattered in your life in one room, partying it up and celebrating the start to your new, solidified partnership. You will likely never again have the excuse to hire a DJ, a photographer, a videographer (if you so choose) and go all out. Yes, primarily, this is the day you are getting married and binding yourself legally and lovingly to your life partner. But secondarily, this is the day you will PAR-TAY like its 1999 and never look better.

3. Your family and friends should be celebrated, too

Family and friends are the reason we are who we are today. Sure, the bride holds the spotlight – but in my opinion, this is the time to take a look around and relish in the love spewing out from every angle  – the relationships you've successfully formed over many years, the family you're fortunate to have, the life that you've created thus far; and the life that's to come supported by all of the smiling faces in that room.

4. You Can Still Do it On a Budget

If you're lazy, your wedding will cost you. If you are strategic and know how to barter, you can actually do this for a reasonable price. Want that Trolley for $200 less? Ask for it for $400 less. Think the ceremony fee is too high? See if they'll waive it for you. Are those $15 chiavari chairs worth it? Let them know that you can get them for $3 elsewhere. People WILL help you stick to your budget and they do want your business. Shoot for the stars and end up on the moon, my friend once told me – and in this  industry it's a smart idea to bargain.

And there you have it, just a few reasons to reconsider that elopement package. What do you think? Do you want a big wedding?

Stunning Wedding Venues in Chicago

Looking for a wedding venue in Chicago? Me too. Lucky for you, I've done the leg work and then some. Let's just say that I've looked at one too many spaces. But hey – that just helps all of you get a better idea of what's out there! I truly believe that you get a feeling when you walk in a room, and the following are the only spaces that gave me the feels. Here, my favorites categorized by the type of wedding you may want to have in the windy city.

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Bridgeport Art Center, aka king of the Chicago loft spaces, in my opinion. Seriously. If you want to blow your mind (and unfortunately probably your bank account – but isn't that every city venue, anyway?) you must visit this venue. Located in Bridgeport just south of the downtown area, it has two amazing spaces. First, the Garden Sculpture space on the main floor. Above, the Skyline loft. The Garden Sculpture comes with a greatness of its own, attached to an outdoor area as well a jaw dropping entry way. The Skyline loft, on the 5th floor, boasts great views of the city.  Plus, the elevator that takes guests to the fifth floor is large enough to have a bar, which screams let's get this party started immediately. If you're looking for a more affordable option, Lacuna Lofts has a similar style with a little bit more flair, plus a rooftop space!


Figuring out how to have a garden wedding in a big city is a bit trickier. Luckily, Galleria Marchetti does just that. An oasis in the midst of it all, this venue offers a large, beautiful draped tent space with an outdoor garden area where you can get hitched. Rain? No worries. There's an equally adorable indoor area for cocktail hour that won't disappoint. It's the perfect way to feel like you're away from the city, but also in a great location for after hour festivities and any Chicago hotel you want to block! 


To be fair, we did not look at many hotels. It wasn't really our thing. But when we checked out the Intercontinental on Michigan Ave, we fell in love. The Renaissance Room on the fifth floor boasts fantastic french renaissance decor and style. With a million dollar chandelier and a luxe ambience, you can't go wrong. Plus, it's right on Michigan Avenue, connected to Michael Jordan's steakhouse, Starbucks and Eno wine bar. It's authenticity and beauty will blow your mind.

Thanks for reading and if you have any other great venues in mind, let me know!

Four Ways to practice meditation

For me, meditation has always been an elusive solve for life's anxious moments. 

"Just meditate, and you will be stress free!" - the internet.

While that sounds really amazing, the thought of grasping how to meditate has always been ironically overwhelming. Thoughts I doing it right? Why am I thinking about a cheeseburger instead of nothing? Who meditates, anyway? Besides Ketut? Are those shoes still on sale at Nordstrom?...stir in this overpopulated brain of mine.

Because I love the concept of calming the mind, I did what every naturally curious person should do. I took a Dabble class called Mindfulness and Meditation taught by the lovely Dr. Serena Wadhwa. She outlined ten different ways to meditate, walking us through each approach – and I am now well on my way to being a guru. Ok not really, but I'm finally beginning to understand! The class inspired me think in ways that will help simplify this aggressively content-heavy culture that we absorb into our heads day in, day out. 

Here, a just a few of the takeaways from our teacher that might help you, too.

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become somewhat of a trend in our culture today, what might be considered the "cool" meditation. To me, it's one of the most difficult methods. Why? Because it involves intentionally paying attention to the present, while shelving all of the other racing thoughts for later. We humans typically have 60-65k thoughts per day, which is terrifying! How do we mute all of these thoughts? It's not easy, and takes a lot of practice. But when done correctly, it can be life changing.

Imagine a cloud. Now, put all of your thoughts on that cloud and let it float straight through your mind, disallowing it to invade the present moment. You are allowing your thoughts to be there and you're acknowledging their presence, but there's no interaction. The idea is to focus on what you see, feel, taste or can touch in the very moment instead, and delegate your thoughts to the appropriate time, versus all at once.

2. Walking Meditation

Walking meditation involves the process of paying close attention to your senses in the moment. Start walking at a normal pace, then slow down. How do your joints feel? Are your shoes comfortable? How does the ground feel that's touching your feet? Start walking at a normal pace again and do the same exercise. What do you notice about yourself? I've started to do this on my early morning walks, and it helps clear my head.

3. Yantras and Mandalas

Yantras and Mandalas are my favorite method, mostly because it involves something I'm good at – coloring! These circles with repetitive patterns inside allow you to simply color the shapes over and over again, which becomes a very soothing activity. Research shows that when we do something in a patterned movement with our hands, it connects to our brain and can alleviate anxiety. Because it's repetitive and we bring our minds back to a similar method over and over again, it allows us to focus on one thing – allowing all other thoughts to float by on that cloud. Why do you think adult coloring books are so popular right now? It's therapeutic AND you get a pretty picture to hang on the fridge! Yes, please.

4. Breathing Meditation

How you breathe can dictate how you think. Do you breathe from your chest or belly? Is the breath fast or slow? Start to pay attention. Put one hand on your chest, and one on hand on your belly. If you are breathing from your chest, you're in stress mode. Belly breathing is a more restorative breath. Breathe in through nose, keep your chest still and let your belly go out. It allows your diaphragm to open and fill the lungs. I personally like to count my breaths, it helps me control my breathing and reset my frame of mind.

What do I like best? For me, it's all about finding a short period of time to be mindful during the day, preferably in the morning before work. I set aside time to make my favorite tea and write down one line that represents how I am feeling in the moment. I focus on that feeling, and only that – which eliminates a cluttered head.

These are just a few of the ways to practice meditation in our day to day lives. Let me know what works for you!