Treats and Treasures

Hey there!

I’m taking Little Wonders in a new direction and I hope you are along for the ride. I’ve been thinking for a long time about what ‘little wonders’ really means to me – and it may sound obvious, but it’s all of the little things that make life wonderful. In 2011 when this little project started, I was hoping to hop on the fashion blogging bandwagon, but it wasn’t feeling right. I was looking for my hook, my edge, and I think I have finally found it.

From now on, you can come to Little Wonders and expect to find a few different things:

  • Treats: baked goods, recipes and other goodies
  • Treasures: memories, miscellaneous finds and places
  • Gifts: carefully curated ideas for unique gift-giving
  • Gestures: housewarming, cards, ways to #treatyourself, etc.

Keep an eye out as I have some posts coming that are not only easy, but fun and sometimes even delicious! Follow along and let me know what you think.

– Amanda

DIY ornament

I was inspired by a post on the Wine Enthusiast online catalog to make this ornament. I’ve been trying to save any and all wine corks because I knew I would do something with them eventually! Every year, we have a Girls Only Ornamnent Exchange, so this is perfect to bring.

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I made mine in the shape of a Christmas tree, hot gluing the rows together first and the “trunk” last. Once I affixed them all together, I started a ribbon around the side and over the top to give it a hanger. Very easy, creative and cute! If you don’t have any red wine corks, you could use glue and glitter to spice them up a little.

It’s crunch time for the holidays. What’s in your stocking?!

Bucket List: Chicago Shops

A loooong time ago I was driving around the Lakeview/Roscoe Village area and found a TON of little boutiques I still need to check out. Unsure of whether they are very well known or not, I thought it might be worth sharing the top 5 places I spotted, although I did finally give up and write “ALL OF ARMITAGE STREET” on my list.

  1. Cinnamon Boutique: Their site is currently under construction, but judging by the list of brands and the impression I got in passing, this is not one to overlook!
  2. Glam to Go: This looks like the go-to place for jewelry in the city. While you’re there, you can also pick up a fun patterned dress for a night out. With 364 wall photos to browse through before I even go, I doubt I’ll be leaving empty handed.

  3. The Left Bank: Although it is technically a bridal shop, the jewelry and accessories are perfect for any special occasion. They also have a very impressive faux fur collection which I may have to shop as the weather cools down. Is it just me, or do these “something blues” look oddly like a certain iconic SATC pair?
  4. Handle with Care: Show up here with an open mind – they offer personal styling consultations, special events and everything from basics to evening wear. Handle your wallet with care 🙂
  5. Millionaire Rejects: I am definitely going here to check out their selection when I finally get my new apartment! It seems as though I have been planning this move for ages and I can’t wait to put it all together. There must be some unbelievably awesome gems in there… and I’m determined to uncover them.

Remember – these are only the top 5! Check out my new CHICago board on Pinterest to keep up with all of the fun places I find!

DIY Thumbtacks

I was inspired by some Michigan State magnets to create some custom bulletin board pushpins. Using just a few bottle caps, Mod Podge, photos and hot glue, I created a handful of pins that will add the perfect personal touch to any bulletin board.

Thumbtacks – $2.50 at Office Depot
Mod Podge – $6.99 at Hobby Lobby
Bottle caps – free thanks to my favorite guy!
Photos – printed at home on 1 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper

 Although Martha Stewart suggests to use resin and a die punch, I modified this DIY recipe to fit my available supplies and the ease of which I’d like to complete the project. I laid out the photos I wanted in 1.5″ square pieces and traced the bottle cap shape around the section of the image I wanted to showcase.

Using sewing scissors (smaller, sharper scissors), I cut out the shape, lined the cap with Mod Podge and lightly coated the back of the photo. Molding the photo to the line of the cap, I covered it with another layer of Mod Podge to seal it in. You could use resin if you are more patient than I am 🙂

Place a dot of hot glue on the back of the push pin and affix to the back of the bottle cap. Voila! You have your own custom push pins ready to dress up any bulletin board!

Vintage Finds

Last weekend, I headed down to the Kalamazoo Antique Market in search of some vintage brooches for a little project I am working on for later 🙂

Not only is this place more of a mall than a market, but with only 15 minutes to do a quick scan, I walked out with two brooches, a necklace, a ring and a pair of earrings. All for only $40!

I took it a step further by heading out to the J.Crew outlet and stumbling upon a fantastic leopard cardigan that I have been in search of for some time now. I also got it in the Crewcuts section.. some things never change. See the complete look below:

Dress: Michael Kors
Cardigan: J.Crew – crewcuts

Jewelry: Kalamazoo Antique Market

The Fur That Almost Was

I enjoyed another Monday off of work in Chicago, per usual, but today I decided to take my talents to the streets to “research” for Little Wonders. Throughout the week, I’ll unveil some of my finds and for now, I’ll share the one thing I let go. For quite some time, I’ve been wanting a real fur coat – one that you can’t help feel fabulous in while strutting down the street. One problem – they are so expensive!

So, I stopped into the Chicago Fur Outlet for a little modeling session to see what I should look for in a fur. I didn’t go in with the intention of actually finding the perfect one, which of course I did, but more with the expectation that I would fall in love with everything and not be too broken hearted on the way out. Boy, was I wrong. Not only did I find a jacket that fit me perfectly, it was on the low end for a fur ($500) and it was absolutely fabulous!

Brown Mink fur with black jeweled buttons – detachable back belt

$500 at Chicago Fur Outlet – ask for Renee (she’s a gem!)

The staff at Chicago Fur Outlet could not have been any sweeter, more charismatic or more understanding of my budgetary issues. Someday, I’ll be able to walk out with something and hopefully it will be just as perfect as this gem. A big thank you to my roommate who told me that this was nowhere near reasonable to purchase 🙂 My heart is only a little (okay, a lot) broken.

Chic Antique

Little Wonders is Chicago-bound!

I am so excited to say that I am heading to the windy city to continue life as a young professional. I am so excited to begin my career and conquer yet another city in the Midwest. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in both the city and the suburbs, but everything will be so much different as a ‘citizen!’ I’m ready to take in all of the amazing experiences the city has to offer  – and obviously post about the ‘little wonders’ I discover along the way. As it happens, I have already found one that I’m particularly in love with:

Chic Antique

I was walking through the Lincoln Park/Wrigleyville area when I stumbled upon the cutest little shop! I actually was drawn to it because it reminded me of this AMAZING consignment boutique I found in NYC – a little wonder hidden on the garden level. Although it is small, the store itself is absolutely charming. Stacked with gorgeous, refinished pieces for your picking – the prices are moderate and the staff is friendly as ever. And, if there isn’t something for you on display, the warehouse is conveniently located next door, where you can pick out unfinished pieces and take them as-is or have them custom finished. Would you like fries with that?

I emailed them yesterday in hopes of finding some great pieces for my new place. Since the prices (at least the ones that I saw) were somewhat on the same level as IKEA (or similar brands), I am definitely going to get as many pieces as I can from here – they have much more character and require no assembly. That’s what we like to call a win-win!

Check out their website: http://chicantiquechicago.com/  for a glimpse into the Chic Antique world!