Taking Care of Your Leather Boots

Leather boots are a staple for cooler weather and make any outfit look polished. If you buy a higher quality boot in a classic style, you save money over time because you don’t have to keep purchasing it. I have two pairs of leather boots, one black/brown and one cognac, by Bandolino. I’ve been very happy with the quality and they are in great shape for being worn so many times over the years.

Even if your boots are in excellent condition, it doesn’t hurt to give them a nice cleaning and polish once a year. Sometimes leather can dry out a bit, especially after being in storage, so cleaning and polishing is a great idea for keeping the quality up for years to come. Dean from  Proper Kid Problems did a great blog post on refurbishing his moccasins, and it inspired me to polish my leather goods.

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First things first, you can only polish real leather boots. You can usually tell by the look, feel, and smell of the leather, but if you’re not sure, try looking up the brand and see what it tells you. If it says “leather upper” that means the boot is leather except for the sole, which is a good thing since they won’t wear out quickly and can be worn in wet weather conditions.

Next you need the proper supplies:

Cloth/Rag for initial cleaning

Saddle Soap – can find at most grocery / convenience stores. I like the Kiwi brand.

Cloth that has no texture – the Kiwi Shoe Shine Cloth is perfect for the job.

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Step One: Clean the boot with a damp cloth getting off all dirt and debris. If your boots are really dirty, you may need to use a brush to finish the job.

Step Two: After the boots are fairly dry (I waited around 15 minutes), you’ll want to dampen the shoe shine cloth and create a lather with the saddle soap. You’ll want to rub it in evenly on all of the exposed leather parts. You don’t want to scrub very hard, just lightly go over the boot with the soap and cloth.

Step Three: Your boot should be darker from the saddle soap, but will go back to its original color after air drying. I left mine over night.

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Part 2

Waterproofing your boots. This is optional after cleaning and preserving your boots with saddle soap, but if you plan on wearing them in damp/rain/snowy weather, I highly recommend it.  I wear my boots all Fall and Winter, which makes them susceptible to salt and water stains. Waterproofing will help guard your boots against the wear and tear that cold and wet weather brings and help them last longer.

Supplies:

Cloth with no texture – Kiwi Shoe Shine cloth comes in a two-pack so I used the extra one for this step.

Waterproof wax or *spray – Kiwi Brand (shown), Beeswax Formula, or Kiwi Waterproof Spray

* The Clark’s Spray I found in-store

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Step One: You’ll want to test whichever method you are using (wax or spray) on the boot in a small area before covering more of the leather to see how it reacts. I put a small amount on the inside to see if it altered the color of my boot. After seeing that it did not after it had dried, I proceeded to waterproof my boots.

Step Two: I took the cloth and got some wax on it and started rubbing it onto the leather. It does leave it looking slightly waxy at first, so I decided to only do the bottom portion of my boot where it is most vulnerable to salt stains.

Step Three: After I let it dry, I used the waterproofing spray to finish the job. You can use either just the wax or just the spray, but you’ll need two coats as recommended. I decided to use one of each for no particular reason except I had both and wanted to try it.

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I should have taken before and after pictures, but I did it mainly at night and didn’t have the best lighting. The difference may be subtle since my boots were both in fairly good condition, but I can see a big improvement as the process helped hydrate my boots making them look brand-new again. I also feel better wearing them this winter knowing they are better protected against the elements than they were previously. Remember – taking good care of what you already own will help it last for years to come.

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Mouse Trap Costume

This is my favorite Halloween costume of mine – a mouse in a trap. I came up with it and there weren’t a lot of costumes like it at the time. It’s 100% DIY / home-made and I’m very proud of it!

Some websites have picked it up for their blog or a contest, such as PopSugar, Brit+Co, & United Colors of Benetton. You can also find it on Pinterest, Tumblr, and some random Brazilian websites for some reason. I read one blog where they gave a tutorial on how to make my costume and although they gave it good chance, they ended up being a little bit off with the instructions.  Thus why today I’m going to do my own tutorial on how to make my mouse costume.

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Costume: This was the easy part. I bought mouse ears from a Halloween store and spray painted them gray. I also bought a gray shirt, sweatpants, gloves, and slippers all from Target. The cheese is a Green Bay Packers Cheese Head, which was the perfect size for a life-sized mouse.

Mouse Trap:

Step 1: Hand over this job to your dad and give him the picture for reference.

Kidding! But seriously, my dad made the trap. He is super handy and took what I had in mind and made it into a reality. I did get the trap out over the weekend and took a look at it and asked him how he made it.

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The box measures 28″w x 41″h x 3½”d. The metal pipe is a 3/4” in diameter electrical conduit  (this is where it gets complicated, not too late to hand this job over to your dad), and it is bent with a conduit bender. The pipe does go through the back of the box and is connected to the bent pipe with 90° fittings.

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I attached the box to myself with a small drawstring backpack that was inside the box but the straps went through the outside as shown in the picture.

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The rest of the details are just red paint for the mouse trap details and brown paint to make it look like real wood.

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Closet Changeover Tips

If you’re like me, you store your off-season clothes until the weather changes. Not only does this maximize space in your closet, but it helps preserve the clothes while keeping your closet more organized. Changing over your closet may be a process you dread, which is why I recommend the following article from Apartment Therapy:

How to Do a Closet Inventory (And Why You Should)

The article has great tips on taking inventory while you changeover your closet. Basically, it all comes down to keeping the items you actually wear and donating the ones you don’t love. Also, it encourages you to keep a tally on the types of clothing you have so that you can make more informed purchases in the future. For example, maybe you have a ton of sweaters but could use a few more pairs of versatile pants.

In addition to the article, here are a few tips of my own that I hope are helpful:

1. A closet changeover is a process, you don’t have to do it all at once. I take great care of my clothes when putting them in off-season storage, so the process can be overwhelming if I don’t do it in steps. For example, I wipe down all my shoes with a baby wipe before storing them until next summer to keep them clean while they’re not being used. This can take some time, so I will schedule time to get it out of the way.

2. Have a system that works. I use a clear plastic bin for my off-season shoes and find that it is the easiest way to store them. For my clothes I use garment storage bags from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. They’re inexpensive, keep the dust out, and are compact enough to store under your bed or in a closet.

3. Only keep what you love. Much like what the article talks about, it’s very important to only keep items that actually fit you and that you like. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned how important it is to only keep and buy items you’ll wear for years to come. I no longer buy something just because it’s a good price, it has to fit me well and I have to need it. If you haven’t worn something all season, you probably don’t like it as much as you thought. Make a pile of those clothes and donate them to Good Will.

4. Do a cost analysis of “keeping over parting” with an item. If the item is quality but doesn’t fit right, it may be more reasonable to just get it tailored verses replacing it. Last year I had several pairs of pants that fit me well everywhere but were a tad too long. Before I went out and bought new pants, I decided it was significantly cheaper just to have them tailored. Keep this in mind when deciding what to keep and what to donate.

5. This is a good opportunity to create a closet organization system tailored to you. I’d love to give you the perfect guide to a well kept closet, but it changes from person to person. Some people may tell you to color code, but I don’t think it’s necessary (and also it makes me feel guilty for having so much blue, which I keep in mind when taking inventory). I hang items by type – dresses, skirts, blouses, button downs, polos, etc., and I fold clothes in drawers specific to that item – pants, jeans, sweaters, workout clothes, etc. It may take time, but figuring out what works best for you will help keep an organized closet for years to come.

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Hanging Delicate Sweaters Hack

The very best way to take care of your sweaters is to keep them folded, however, depending on your closet and drawer space situation this may prove to be difficult at times. I keep many of my sweaters folded, but I like hanging some of them up for the sheer purpose of being able to see them all at once (and not forget to wear one).

Some sweaters are more delicate than others, and it’s no fun to have the little dents that hangers leave on the shoulders of a sweater. I am going to share with you a trick that my mom taught me to “safely” hang up your sweaters.

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1. Start with the sweater flat on a surface.

2. Fold the sweater from sleeve to sleeves, directly in half symmetrically.

3. Flip it around so that it looks like the letter V.

4. Place your hanger directly on top with the hook at the center of the V.

5. One half goes over the hanger.

6. Other half goes over the first half.

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You are ready to hang up your sweater. Does it look funny? Yep! But your shoulders won’t look funny when you put it on.

If you do happen to have sweaters with previous hanger marks on the shoulders, take a damp cloth of warm water and rub the dents, blow dry, rub, blow dry, etc. until the sweater fibers tighten up.

 

Duck, Duck, Boots

This mallard shirt from Talbots is a great find (tipped off by @tierdear), and a piece I will have for years to come. I love a good blue oxford cloth button down, and the duck motif on it made me love it even more. It’s currently on sale, but I think if you watch it long enough you’d be able to pick it up at an even lower price.

The duck boots are from Sperry Top-Sider and are extremely comfortable. I love the green rubber / brown leather combo, and there’s a zipper on the side of the boot that make them rather easy to slip into when you’re running out the door.

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New England Trip

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my husband, Joe, and I took a visit to the New England area this past week. We’ve always wanted to check out Boston and the surrounding area, and we were able to fit in everything we wanted to do.

We arrived on Thursday and spent the first two days in Boston going to Newbury Street, Boston Public Library, Freedom Trail… The Freedom Trail is a brick trail throughout Boston that takes you through all the major historic sights and proved to be quite incredible. IMG_3081IMG_3082

Saturday we headed out to New Bedford, MA and checked out the old whaling town, as well as, the whaling museum. The museum was very intriguing and rather well done. After exploring the town a bit more, we packed up and headed to Rhode Island for the night.

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Sunday we spent the day in Newport and visited many spots including The Breakers, which is the Vanderbilt Family’s summer mansion. We also headed to Castle Hill, which you will recognize if you are a KJP fan. My husband loves Wes Anderson movies so we made sure to stop by a familiar spot from the film, Moonrise Kingdom. IMG_3085IMG_3086IMG_3087IMG_3088

Sunday night we had dinner with KJP & Sarah Vickers. I’ve heard that they are really cool people in real life, but now I know from firsthand experience that they are truly the best. It was so unreal to finally meet them after being a fan for so long. They are completely down to earth and both so incredibly kind and enjoyable people. Our evening together was simply fantastic in every sense of the word.

The next morning we were able to get a tour of the factory. The work that they have done on what was once an old, plain, empty building is nothing short of spectacular.  The authentic creativity and attention to detail are uncanny.  It was quite the experience to be in a building so full of life, charm, and great people. I greatly appreciate the hard work, impeccable style, and imagination it took to transform the place into what it is today. These two are the real deal, a genuine encapsulation of the American dream, and I couldn’t be happier for them. Here’s a few pictures from our visit:

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Monday evening we headed back to Boston and Tuesday we went to Harvard. Joe and I are young enough to still look like students, so we were able to go pretty much anywhere we wanted. We even found the hall where Facebook was invented.

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Before we left, we checked out Bobby’s From Boston, as suggested by Kiel & Sarah. It’s an incredible vintage store in which Ralph Lauren based the Rugby Ralph Lauren line from. Upon walking in, you could easily tell why this place was so inspiring.  Personally, I could spend hours in there.IMG_3095We had a great trip to Boston & Rhode Island and hope to visit there again soon. Thanks for reading about our adventures!

Room Tour – Master

I keep my bedroom simple with just a bed, two nightstands, and a chair because I don’t want to clutter the space and I have my “dressing room” for all my clothes and other furniture. The furniture is a beautiful brown maple made by the Amish in Ohio. The color on the walls is a navy with gray undertones called Windsor Haze by Behr. The bedding is a flannel duvet from LL Bean last fall, but this one is similar. Finally, the monogram decal is from Three Hip Chicks, and is beautiful and easy to apply.

IMG_3061I have a federal style convex mirror hanging up on the wall next to my nightstand, and it stands out nicely on the dark wall. IMG_3062

I keep my nightstand uncluttered with only a lamp and a topiary.

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The wall opposite of my bed is where we painted a subtle stripe by going one shade darker. I didn’t want to hang anything up, but the wall definitely needed something. The stripe is perfect!IMG_3064

The chair is an antique I found, although the cushion looks like it has been reupholstered at some point. I love the details of the arrows on the back and the stars on the front of the seat. IMG_3065Lastly, the chandelier is from Pottery Barn Baby and I put a navy fabric lining over the previous yellow one on the top and bottom of the shades. IMG_3066

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