Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

I'm so sorry, blog, I've been bananers busy this holiday season (and I'm sure I'm not the only one). I've mostly been ignoring NYE, partly because I don't have any plans and partly because I've been catching up at work. However on the last day of the year I'm forced to reflect a little. These were my goals for 2011 from my old blog, let's see how I did.

Travel! Travel travel travel. I started tearing up on the bus to work this morning, frustrated at how badly I need to leave Chicago for a little while. Ugh.

I definitely did this, go me! I went to Nashville in March, Philadelphia in October, and Michael and I laid the groundwork for a trip to France and Spain in June 2012!

• Sew my first garment from scratch.

So close! I did buy a sewing machine and take two sewing classes this year, and I received a pattern book for Christmas.

• Try to relax, be less insecure about myself and my relationships, and remember that I am loved.

As hard as 2011 has been for me at times emotionally, especially with a lot of my close friends moving, moving in with Michael and our relationship evolving, and making friends/losing them in a matter of weeks, I do feel a lot more calm about my relationships with others. Therapy has played a big part in this.

• Get my driver's license, or at least renew my learner's permit.


• Spend less money on clothes and more on experiences and pampering myself (massage, anyone?)

I still buy a lot of clothes (though, ones I actually wear AND I've gotten rid of a lot of them) but I have been pampering myself more. I think it has helped my mood and it's really nice to think "I earned this treat for myself."

• Maybe get another kitty friend for Seymour!

I still want to, I was going to right after Michael and I moved. Maybe after we get back from Europe.

Looking back at these make me feel really good; I gave myself a few positive, life-improving, realistic goals and I met almost all of them!

Goals for 2012:

• The ones I did not do in 2011 (sew a garment, get a cat, try to drive).

• Try to successfully expand Branchbound with metal jewelry, wooden jewelry, knits, and hand-sewn goods.

• Blog more often; take outfit photos on my awesome roof.

• Start running again in the Spring and try to keep at it.

• Purge even more, organize and stay organized, try to live a little simpler (from the woman who bought 5 pairs of shoes this week...)

• Make it a point to go on at least one date night a month with Michael because we deserve to get out of the apartment and have a wonderful time on occasion.

Pretty boring...but what is the point of resolutions if you can't even attempt to keep them?

Wishing you all a happy end of 2011! What are your resolutions? What are you doing tonight for New Year's Eve?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Dress

I've always loved the ritual of buying a new dress for my family's Christmas Eve party (and one for my birthday party), and as my first Christmas as a blonde I'm thinking red, red, red! I just ordered this dress and its simplicity leads me to contemplate what to wear with it! I have so many options. Assuming it works out, here are some of the possibilities I've been playing with on Polyvore:

Frock Band Dress Set 1

frock band set 2

frock band set 3

What would you pair with this dress?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Leg Up

Left to right: Hue, Sock Dreams, American Apparel

It's definitely winter in Chicago and it's time to layer! It's hard below the belt; you're pretty much stuck wearing boots, thick socks, and tights. I want to keep my cute flats in rotation until there's snow, but I don't want to wear six layers of tights, so I've been turning to legwarmers. I have a pair I got in Scotland eight years ago that I love to wear, and I've been browsing the web for another pair or two to add to my closet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All I Want For Christmas

It's so hard making Christmas lists sometimes; everything practical I already buy myself, and the things I really want are sometimes too expensive for my loved ones to buy for me. Nevertheless, here are some beauties I'd love to see under the tree this year; some are pretty affordable and most are from Etsy. I also have a lot of jewelry from Etsy in my favorites, but a list of just earrings would be kind of boring, no? :)

Clockwise from upper left: Blue Wood Petal Necklace from ElisaMaiDesign on Etsy, Kites and Constellations Cardigan from Anthropologie,
White Lace on Silver Grey Brooch by lesalikes on Etsy
, Jersey Hand Printed Circle Scarf from barkdecor on Etsy, Swan Sterling Silver Earrings from CyKLu on Etsy, Born 'Molly' Flats

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Branchbound's Holiday/Winter Color Swatch

I've done a few pieces in dark green, mint, and red already, but more coming and I'm really excited about the fuschia, ice blue, mustard and most of all brown. These colors will be on certain pieces (one style might come in 2-3 colors) in conjunction with my neutrals (black, copper, gold, and silver).

What colors are you excited about for winter? Do you like dark colors or lean towards pastels to lighten things up?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I'm off to Philadelphia for four days of girl time with one of my best friends! Looks like perfect autumn weather over there and it will be nice to take a time out from Chicago.

The shop will remain open, but feel free to use coupon code PHILLY11 for free shipping on your purchase. Good for international orders, too!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Life Right Now In Webcam and Phone Pix

Sorry blog, I've been meaning to write! Life has been incredibly stressful and tiring the past two weeks, and I haven't had a lot of down time to sit and update.

I'm already getting in the groove of holiday shop-updates. I'm doing a craft fair mid-November and then the Etsy rush begins so I need to be on my toes! I am going through all of the lace I've amassed, I have tons and tons of lace that I've been either waiting for seasonally, like these snowflake earrings:

...pieces that might not work as jewelry that I've been meaning to turn into brooches, or Christmas ornaments! I'm selling lace ornaments in sets of three, and I'm excited to announce that half the proceeds will be donated to the ASPCA after they all sell. I am very passionate about animal rights and I felt especially compelled to donate after having a scare about my kitty, Seymour. Thursday was a really rough day for me; he may or may not have a lump on his back, and the vet did not have time to examine it during his annual check up.

Anyway, I've also been getting more brass and silver findings to incorporate into my work. I'm always looking to make more smaller earrings and here's a new design I'm rather smitten with:

I just have lots and lots of ideas for new lace jewelry and accessories, and I'm always interested to hear what colors or any other suggestions you have for my pieces. My winter palatte, besides black, white, gold, and silver as usual, include hot pink, ice blue, red, burgundy, and forest green.

I've also taken up knitting for the shop. I just completed this headband, my own creation (pattern and all!):

I'm in the process of a second one, and I've had a few requests for baby-sized ones too. Knitting is perfect for me to work on when I need a break from jewelry, or while I sit with the boy and watch tv.

Like the other day, when I still had some lingering bad feeling from a stomach flu. Wonder Years on Netflix and a simple project to knit in the round is a great way for me to veg out and still feel like I'm accomplishing something. ;)

Last but not least, last Saturday I took a sewing class and made this pillow:

It has a zipper and everything! I'd love to make more, and I might also take a tote bag class there, too. The purchasing of my own machine is highly possible in the near future, once I have time to stop all this crafting and rearrange my study! And I need to get on that, too, I don't know how I'll be able to navigate my study as is when I'm flooded with holiday orders.

What have you been working on lately? What has been inspiring you?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Big Shop Update (and a request)

Sunday during my rooftop shoot I was able to snap a lot of great shop photos for a big update! Here's everything I added; just click on the photo to get taken to the listing.

And now the request...I'm trying to host another Heartsy deal and I need votes. I'm only up through Sunday afternoon so if you could please give me a "Yes Definitely!" I'd appreciate it! Vote here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

BailyBelle Giveaway Winner

And the winner is...

Comment #2, Kristi! I will be getting you in touch with Vanessa soon. What are you gonna get? :)

Thanks to all who entered!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From The Rooftops, Shout It Out

Sunday we finally got some sunlight in Chicago and I took this opportunity to take some shop photos on my roof! Michael and I moved here in August and didn't find out about the roof until about two weeks later; I ran into my neighbor and he asked if I'd been on the roof yet. When we had our housewarming party half of it took place up here and it's frequented by our guests. My building is 4 stories high and the tallest on my block, and since I'm closer to the loop I have an amazing skyline view.

If you're friends with me on Facebook you've already seen this one. I'm wearing my awesome new tee from Blackbird Tees. I did a trade with Jody (the female half of the company); I wore it in some shop photos and I sent her some earrings so she can do the same. I thought the pale colors and lacy design would go perfectly with my jewelry!

Anyway, here's some snaps of the afternoon, Michael goofing around, and our amazing view!

Don't forget, today is the last day to enter BailyBelle's Giveaway!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Beauty Buys

I rarely buy makeup, and when I do it's by a middle-of-the road drugstore brand. I just don't wear a lot of makeup unless it's a special occasion; I just don't like all the fuss and reapplying things throughout my long day seems like added stress. That being said, I do wear makeup, I'm just very picky.

I was wandering around after work the other day and visited Sephora on a lark. The only times I feel like I ever step in there is to reapply my perfume while I'm shopping in that mall or picking up my free birthday gift (can't miss my free birthday cake scented body wash, can I?). I've been getting frustrated with my eyeliner; it smudges throughout the day so I look like I'm constantly crying. It's because I prefer pencil liner. I don't like liquid eyeliner because there is no room for error, I prefer to use it for fancy makeup and I feel like it's a bit dark for my fair skin and hair.

Well, I bought this:

Clinique Quickliner for the Eyes

Had the look of a pencil, but I knew it had to smudge. I made a line on my hand with the tester, read the box ("sets in 60 seconds"), thought "yeah right" and then attempted to smudge it with my finger. And it did not budge. I was in shock! I bolted over to the Clinique section and grabbed my usual color preference black/brown. I've been wearing it for a few days and while my "wings" aren't really visible by the end of my day there is NO smudging.

I was about to check out when another display caught my eye. Lip stuff! Ah lipstick. I love the IDEA of lipstick; I feel like lip color would look good on me since I don't think a lot of eye makeup looks good on me and my lips are naturally dark. However, I hate reapplying (remember how low-maintenance I am?) especially because I drink a lot of water throughout the day and don't want a gunky water bottle. I don't want to worry about lipstick drying out my lips, having it on my teeth, or having it wear off unevenly.

I still like trying it on, though.

Sugar Passion Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

Here is's description:

What it is:
A lip treatment that protects the pout while offering a universally-flattering vibrant rouge tint.

What it does:
Sugar Passion Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 looks beautiful on all complexions, thanks to a well-balanced, warm-cool pigment that compliments the natural shade of a woman's lip, no matter her skintone. Sugar, a natural humectant, ensures long-lasting moisture while hydrating meadowfoam and black currant seed oils condition the lips. The formula is further enriched with antioxidant-rich vitamins to defend against wrinkle-causing free radicals and provides year-round protection from damaging UV rays. This versatile treatment allows for buildable coverage to customize a sheer or rich hue and is the perfect partner to the bestselling Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15.

If that was tl;dr, basically it's a sheer, buildable lip color that feels and applies like a chapstick. It's not sticky, it's moisturizing, and has spf. It also smells like lemon sugar, which is delicious.

The shopkeep also informed me that this color from Fresh is new, and there will be more gift sets featuring it around the holidays. They also make lip scrubs, which I wouldn't mind trying in the winter.

I highly recommend both of these products; next time you see a display for Clinique or Fresh I'd check them out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

No Indian Summer Here

In most of the U.S. my friends are still wearing their summer clothing, some even complaining how they can't wear sweaters yet. Well, Chicago has been in brisk autumn mode since, literally, Labor Day. I've already done the closet swap out and I've been stock piling long sleeve tees, tights, and sweaters whenever I go shopping.

I can't even do what most fashion magazines and websites suggest, wear your summer dresses into fall. It's just too cold here and I'm also colder than most. I can't spare the closet space for my sleeveless dresses that theoretically I could layer up...I have wool things that need to be hung up! I've always wished I could, though, there are some adorable summer dresses going for really cheap right now that I would justify spending money on if they wouldn't be tucked right into storage. I can still look, though, right? If you are one of the lucky people who still have a taste of summer where you live maybe snatch one of these cuties up so I can live vicariously through you? And stop complaining, I have the heat on already!

All dresses above are from Dorothy Perkins.

And don't forget to enter the giveaway from BailyBelle Creations!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Win $15 Store Credit To BailyBelle Creations

My friend Vanessa of BailyBelle Creations was kind enough to offer a giveaway to my readers! She is giving away a $15 store credit to her shop. Here are some of the lovely new items she has for sale that I'd love to grab:

Brass Earrings in Semi Circle

Silk Circle Scarf in Ostrich Feather Print

Raw Amethyst Crystal Necklace

Birch Tree Clutch

To enter, you must be a follower of this blog (no following for the giveaway and unfollowing please), just leave a comment saying what your favorite item in her shop is and how you follow my blog.

For an extra entry you can tweet this: "I just entered a @BailyBelle giveaway on @branchbound's blog!" Leave a second comment with a link to this tweet.

Good luck! I'll pick a winner next Wednesday, October 5th!

Friday, September 23, 2011


A webshop I find myself frequently checking is ASOS. This UK based retailer will ship all over the world, for free! And free returns, too. They have sales fairly often, as well. In fact, all of the dresses below are 20% off right now. They have a lot of classy, vintage-inspired pieces in their own brands, and they carry a lot of other boutique labels such as Motel and Sugarhill Boutique. Take a gander at what I picked (all under $65!) and let me know what else catches your eye...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Perfect for if you have some birthdays coming up, want to get yourself a few treats, or want to start your holiday shopping.

I will also have a giveaway coming up some time next week, stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Like I'm Walking On A Pile Of Baby Ducks

The title of this post comes from an episode of That 70s Show, where antagonist dad Red Forman describes what a comfortable new pair of shoes feels like. I think of (and often say) this every time I try on a pair of shoes that I can tell will be heavenly to wear all day.

As a commuter, in Chicago no less, I walk a large amount of the day and often on really shoddy sidewalk. Comfortable shoes are a must here, as I can attest to my pile of impulse buy heels I never seem to wear more than once.

Women who wear ugly shoes, such as Toms, who use comfort as an excuse clearly do not know about the plethora of stylish and affordable flats that feel like slippers. I've compiled a list of some styles I've worn and loved and hopefully you can find a pair for your shopping list.

Target's Mieko Comfort Flats

Available in black and dark brown, Target's Meiko flats are a steal. I own these in brown and find myself wearing them with dark brown tights often for a new spin on the black flats/black tights look. They aren't leather, which is good for vegans, and the benefit of this is you don't have to waterproof them if you don't want. I haven't had to break these in at all, pure comfort right out of the box. The sole feels like memory foam with moderate arch support. The soles are also nice and thick, so no worries about feeling uneven sidewalk through your hoofers. My tip, you might want to size down half a size.

Born's Adele Flats

A little more luxe than Target, Born uses high-quality leather on their shoes and you can feel the difference. They might feel a bit tight at first (they are true-to-size), but after a few wears the leather really molds to your foot and they are the perfect size. They have some light padding and great arch support. Make sure you waterproof these, as they are leather. The price tag reflects the quality - they retail for $90 new, but I've gotten this style in silver, cognac, and black from Nordstrom Rack and online retailers in the $50-60 range so do a little Google sleuthing. Born also has some other cute styles of flats, they all seem to fit the same based on what I've tried on:

Naturalizer's Maude Flats

Okay I'm cheating a little here. I have not owned these EXACT shoes, but Target made a knock-off design a year ago and they were extremely comfortable. In fact, they were the gateway to Born's for me. These are made of leather and have a really sleek, yet subtle, design on the front.

And If Nothing Else...Insoles!

Sometimes if I want a wacky color or unique design I can't always get it in a comfort brand. However, if the toe box doesn't squeeze, the heel doesn't rub, and they are inexpensive I can use some of the money I saved on some insoles. Dr. Scholl's makes a wonderful line; memory foam, cushioned, or gel; for the whole foot, just the heel or just arch supports. It's an excellent way to bring your cheap flats into "baby duck" territory.