warm + fuzzy photography with sharon montrose

I've been a fan of Sharon Montrose's work for a few years now. I first stumbled upon her work when I was browsing through Etsy. Baby animals + photography = instant love affair. I recently spotted her on Twitter where I learned about her blog as well. I can't believe I've been missing out on so much extra cuteness for so long! She's a phenomenal photographer and my list of favorite photos by her is endless, but I've tried to limit it a bit.  Enjoy!

So much for editing! It's impossible to choose a bad photo by Sharon Montrose though. My favorite is the last one, called "Pals." Hands down, my two favorite breeds. I will own an English bulldog and golden retriever at some point in my life.

Strangely enough, I don't own any of her prints. I think that needs to
change very, very soon.

(all photos via Sharon Montrose)

me vs. monday

Monday wins again...

(print via Design*Sponge)


polka-dot plant

Is that not the best name ever? I didn't even make it up. Promise!

Although it was only 40 degrees in Chicago, yesterday was a beautiful sunny day. I was inspired to add to my plant collection, so I picked up this chic little guy. It feels so appropriate next to my wire eiffel tower.

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. I've had a busy weekend with little projects around my apartment. I'll post some of these later this week. My itsy-bitsy home is really coming along!


re-evaluating the medicine closet

This chart has been floating around the web recently, but if you haven't seen it yet, it's a great interactive source for determining which health supplements are beneficial to you. 
This image is a “balloon race”. The higher a bubble, the greater the evidence for its effectiveness. But the supplements are only effective for the conditions listed inside the bubble. 

I drink green tea everyday and I was confused to see that it appeared in various bubbles. There are myths floating around that green tea helps with cholesterol, fights against cancers and boosts weight loss. The three green tea bubbles represent the different myths. so with green tea, it does help with cholesterol, but there is no evidence that it boosts weight loss. (Damn!)


welcome to the world of the plastic beach

I love when the stars align and two of my interests mix together to form this perfect, beautiful collaboration. One of these wonderful enigmas occurred when I stumbled upon this awesome post from Annie at Design Milk. Annie highlighted the home design of artist Jaime Hewlett, the creative genius behind Gorillaz. (Hewlett is also responsible for Tank Girl).

I have been totally infatuated with the new Plastic Beach album by Gorillaz ever since it released on March 3, 2010 and Annie's post really got me curious about the world of the Plastic Beach and what it would be like to visit. Here's what I would bring with me to wear: 

(swimsuit by Chio / Cover-up by Ondademar)
(Shoes by Tibi / Swimsuit by Mara Hoffman)
(Cover-up by Vitamin A / Sandals by Diane von Furstenberg)

Okay, enough with the bright colors. Now, back to the music...

Gorillaz is quite an interesting band. First of all, they're categorized as a 'virtual band', meaning, the music is real, but the band members are represented by Jaime Hewlett as animated characters. Gorillaz' members include: 2D (lead vocalist, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (lead guitar and occasional vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). The band has collaborated with various artists which include: Lou Reed, Snoop Dog and Mos Def.

I've really enjoyed their past three albums and I'm already anxious for the next release. Who doesn't remember the first time that they heard the eerie laugh at the beginning of "Clint Eastwood?" I was in the backseat of my friend Jenny's XTerra the first time I heard "Feel Good Inc." Taco Bell may or may not have also been involved. Then there's the "Stylo" music video which is like nothing I've ever seen before.

My point? Gorillaz has this amazing ability to leave a lasting impression on those that listen to their music. That's a great strength to have if you're a musician. Plastic Beach was no exception. If you haven't checked out this album, do it now!



I have fallen head over heels in love with these pillows and rug from Anthropologie. Not only do the colors perfectly match my home color palette, but they are super adorable as well. My only wish is that the price tags weren't so daunting.

These items have birthday/Christmas present written all over them, but unfortunately that doesn't happen for another 8-9 months. {Sigh}. I hope they're still available in December!


shopping cart

I've been trying to be more mindful of my spending habits lately, but I got a little disoriented when I saw that my tax refund had been deposited into my banking account. I was responsible and put half of the refund into my savings account, while allowing myself to have a little fun this past weekend with the other half. In my defense, I think I'm doing a much better job at distinguishing smart purchases from careless purchases. 

I just renewed the lease on my studio and now that I know that I have another year in this spot, I'm really focused on making it as cute and cosy as possible and that's where most of my funds have gone recently. I love some of the things that I have bought recently. Take a look...

I've had so much fun with my new Pantone app. I could seriously sit around and create color palette after color palette all day long. This combination is the direction in which I'd like my home furnishings to go. The somewhat ugly green color in the middle is actually the very lovely color of my current love seat. I also really love dark brown wood so I want that to be the color of my furniture. The rest will probably be filled in with light, cool colors. I might throw in some pops of bright pink or yellow fresh flowers or knick-knacks to keep it interesting.

I finally got a frame for my beautiful LOVE print by Jennifer Ramos. This photo is really poor quality and you can get a better look at this print and Jennifer's other items at her Etsy shop. This frame was on clearance at Michael's for $24.99. I thought it looked really unique and my mind was instantly pulled to these West Elm barstools that I'm dying to purchase. They go together perfectly!

My Penguin Classics book collection by Coralie Bickford-Smith is starting to grow as well. I'm currently sticking with the blue books, but I couldn't resist the adorable Adventure's of Alice in Wonderland edition in hot pink. Sense & Sensibility has a little hint of pink as well, so I made the exception. I have also ordered The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oliver Twist, The Woman In White and The Odyssey, but unfortunately, they will not be delivered until October 4, 2010. The wait is going to kill me, but at least I will have a pleasant surprise coming my way in the Fall. 

I think this weekend I might finally buy that CB2 bar table I've been eyeing. It's the most expensive piece that I want, so I figure I might as well get this before my tax refund "mysteriously" disappears. My weekend should be pretty uneventful too, so building this would make for a fun weekend project.

...And yes, I'm serious. I love building things. If I could do it all over again, I would become a carpenter.


projects by nikki lee

In my freshman year of college I had to take a writing intensive course based on a topic of my choice. I was instantly drawn to a history of photography course and signed myself up. I always enjoyed the class and was able to learn about some amazingly talented photographers.  The photographer that stood out the most to me was photographer, Nikki Lee

The interesting thing abut Lee is that her snapshots are not displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, among other places, for their aesthetic value; they are shown in these reputable institutions because of the way they came about. Also, she does not take the photographs herself. She is a subject in the photo.

 "Projects" (1997-2001) is a series of photos by Nikki Lee that came about after Lee fully integrated herself into subcultures around the United States. Some of these projects include posing as a drag queen, punk, swing dancer, senior citizen, Latino, hip-hop musician and fan, skateboarder, lesbian, young urban professional, and Korean schoolgirl. Lee tranforms into these personas and then appears in snapshots with the "natives" to these subcultures. 
Hip Hop Project
Lesbian Project
School Girl Project
Skater Project
Yuppie Project
Hispanic Project

Lee is almost less of a photographer and more of a sociologist and what I love about Lee's work is that her projects are a commitment and they require alot of time and patience on her part. I guess a part of me is jealous too. We all get that feeling once in a while where we want to be someone else and experience new things. That became a reality for Lee during "Projects".

I would love to sit down and have some tea with Lee. I imagine that she would have some pretty wild stories to share.


grandma's garden

My last post made me immediately think if this sweet photo of me in my grandmother's garden in Minnesota. My grandparents were farmers in rural Minnesota, so I wasn't kidding when I said I should be inheriting my mother's green thumb. Look where she got hers from!

My grandma passed away almost exactly a year ago from today, so it seems appropriate that my mind wandered to this photograph. I must have been about 6-8 months when this photo was taken. Sadly, I have little memory of the farm or a garden of this size, but it inspires me to learn more about this beautiful hobby.


g is for...


Happy St. Patty's Day!

While you are all out getting nice and sloppy in celebration of this holiday, I am exploring the wonderful world of greenery. Specifically, these wonderful vertical gardens that I've seen popping up everywhere...

This beautiful kit by Smith & Hawken is available at Target. (via Shelteriffic)

I would hang this DIY vertical garden from Flora Grubb Gardens in my living room.

Oh my goodness! Fresh herbs in the kitchen too! (via Apartment Therapy)

This tin can wall garden seems slightly more simple, but still super cute!

You can learn more about living walls at ELT Easy Green.
I'm in love. I think it's time for me to inherit my mother's green thumb...


Keep up with my blog!

Bear with me, this one is a little intense...

I started this blog just after the new year and I am quite proud that I am just shy of fifty posts. Sure, I have lofty dreams of posting multiple times a day, but for now, my professional and personal lives just don't allow for that. I do have a short (and very do-able) list of ways in which I hope to make this blog a more interesting and useful experience for my dear readers.

I wasn't quite sure how well I would keep up with this blog, so I sought out the easiest blog platform I could find. Posterous has been great. I love the ease of just emailing my posts to the site and having them delivered and ready for minor editing. Posterous is a great platform for anyone that is starting out with a blog or wants to keep a mostly private site out in the blogosphere. I really can't say anything but great things about this service and I probably will create a completely personal blog with Posterous one day in the future.

Unfortunately, I think the time has come to upgrade to a more advanced blogging platform that will offer me more options. I'm a huge Google fan and I love the Google network, but I have had some obnoxious layout problems with Blogger in my other blog, which in turn, deterred me from using Blogger with Judge Me. I have faith that Google will stay in the forefront of innovation and I'm already quite intrigued by their new upgrades in customization. I'm still up in the air on whether I want to give Blogger another shot or not.

Wordpress is another one I have considered, but I haven't quite played around enough with this one to decide.

Once I get the platform sorted out, I'm going to put some serious thought into the image of my blog.

To start, the name has got to go. I came up with Judge Me on a total whim. I wanted to start a blog immediately, but didn't put much thought into what to call it. I don't hate the name, but if you know me on a personal level, you'll know that it's so not me. It's sassy and outspoken and I am neither of the two. I have some ideas that I'm throwing around, but I haven't quite settled on a new name just yet.

With the new name, I'd like to develop a color scheme and own it. My current theme is just too dark, but I've loved using these colorboards from 100 Layer Cake as inspiration. I adore cool and neutral colors, so you can probably expect to see that palette in my new design.

I'm also hoping to familiarize myself a little bit more with coding. I could get lost for hours playing around with the inner workings of a website, but I just don't have the time to learn those things right now. I will have to set up some "study" times or maybe consider taking courses in web design.

Throughout my day I always seem to have the thought "Oh! This would make a good blog post!" and I keep notes on each of these ideas. I think I'm doing well in that sense, but I'd like this blog to have a little bit more direction. Simple Lovely, Design*Sponge, Oh Joy, Cup of Jo and Swiss Miss are five of my favorites and I certainly look to them for inspiration. I want this blog to be related to my personal hobbies and not my work. I also want to cut out some of the personal stuff. I can justify this for now because I'd like my readers to get a better sense of the type of person I am. But again, I'd like to have a separate Posterous account for the personal stuff.

Finally, I hope that once this blog gets more fully developed I can start to connect with and grow my readership. A blog is a commitment. I never expected to get comments and links within the first few months of posting. I do this blog because I have fun with it and it's an escape from work and my personal life. I would be absolutely thrilled to learn that someone else gets a kick out of the things I post, but for now, I do this for me. I hope that my blog develops into an exciting resource for my readers and that people will start checking it weekly like I do for so many of my blog crushes.

Once I get to that point, I want to connect with other bloggers through social media and conventions and share resources. I also want to get in the habit of participating in other blogs and not just being an observer. I think I hesitate to post comments on blogs because sites like Design*Sponge can easily accumulate 100+ posts, so what is one more from me? Writing that down makes me realize how backwards that mindset is. Why would anyone connect with me if I don't connect with them?

I'm really enthusiastic about the future of this blog and I hope that I continue to make it worthwhile for my readers. I love that this has become such an integral part of my life and it makes me want to work even harder to produce fresh and exciting material. Thanks to you all for being a part of this adventure!

(photo via kyracee)



I know this one is probably a shocker since you've all gotten so accustomed to my quality iPhone photos, but I'm dying to get back into/get better at photography. I'm by no means a pro, but I have a basic understanding of composition and how to shoot with a manual camera. I still have my Canon Rebel camera from my Introduction to Photography class in my senior year or high school and it's a shame that I'm just letting it collect dust in my room. My digital camera has been a little temperamental lately, so I should probably have that looked at as well -- or replace it. Ugh.

Photography is a great hobby. In addition to having a beautiful documentation of your life, photography encourages exploration and looking at the world you live in a little bit differently. It also gives me an opportunity to get some of that fresh air that I so desperately need. (I know what you're thinking. I live in Chicago. The air is not fresh. You get the point).

Here are two prints from my high school class. They were taken of a fountain at the St. Louis Zoo and are currently hanging in my kitchen. I kind of love them. (In real life, not in these horrible iPhone photos)

(Panda photo via This Isn't Happiness)


Furnish my apartment!

This goal is somewhat of a double-whammy. You see, I'm dying to do more with my cute little studio apartment, but I can't quite get to that point until I start saving/making more money. I think I've come up with the perfect budgeting solution though! My apartment is itsy-bitsy, so I don't have much room for a bunch of big (read: expensive) pieces. I have, however, kept a little wish list in the back of my mind of items that will be of use in my current apartment, but also be pieces I can bring with me when I upgrade to a larger space. The list is small -- maybe 3 or 4 items, so it makes the most sense for me to budget by quarter. If I save about $150-ish a month specifically for home furnishings, I will have saved enough money to knock out all the items of my list. One each quarter of 2010.

Now for the fun part...my wish list!

Q1 - Mirror
My biggest complaint about my apartment is the lack of adequate mirrors (despite the fact that I have two full-length mirrors). The mirror I use most often is more or less a circus mirror -- you know, the one's that distort your body? This one is in a perfect location, but the mirror doesn't quite lay flat against the door and therefore creates a bulge right in the middle, which in turn, creates a bulge right in my gut. I'm pretty self-assured, but this mirror just makes me want to run to the gym each time I look in it.

My other mirror, on my bathroom door, is in such a tight space and I  have to stand in my overflowing closet to get a "good" look. Not ideal.

I've been researching floor-length mirrors for the past few months and I've got my heart set on this mirror from West Elm. I've debated a little over the silver option and this mirrored mirror from West Elm, but I've come to the conclusion that the dark brown will look best against a painted wall.

The great thing about mirrors is that you can't really regret purchasing an item like this. It's such a versatile and key piece that it easily translates into any room in the house. The end of quarter one is coming to an end and I'm itching like crazy to bring this item home. Just in time for swimsuit season too! Perfect.

Q2 - Bar Table
Okay, time for an embarrassing confession...

I pretty much eat dinner every night sitting on the floor of my bedroom. Classy, I know.

My studio actually has a little dining area that is attached to the kitchen and slightly apart from the living/sleeping area, but I haven't quite gotten around to purchasing a table yet. I've put a lot of thought into the type of table I want. My dining area is by no means spacious. A four-person table would be pretty cramped and a two-person table has always seemed like a total waste of money to me. I don't plan to live in my studio for much longer, and I can't imagine ever wanting to bring it with me when I move into a larger place.

My solution came when I received a CB2 catalog in the mail. This bar table is the perfect solution. It would fit snug enough in my dining room so I no longer have to eat on the floor and I absolutely love the little cubby-hole spaces. This piece not only works as a bar table, but could also be used as a bar station or a desk.

I don't totally love the white color and I'd probably prefer if it came in dark brown wood. I think the white will look nice with dark stools and a brightly colored rug though. This table is just screaming for a Design*Sponge before and after, but unfortunately, I don't think I'm the chick to pull that off.
Q3 - Barstools
What's a table without chairs? This is an item I'm still on the hunt for, but I'm really loving these Overlapping-Squares Barstools from West Elm. I've contemplated getting these Vapor Barstools from CB2, but I'm afraid that they will look a little too modern for my tastes when paired with the white bar table.

Q4 - TBD
I'm going to think about this one for a little bit. Like I said, I don't have a ton of room for many big pieces, but I'm leaning towards a bed frame, bookshelves, rug, or art; or some combination of the four. The tricky part is going to be deciding what will look good in the home I don't quite have yet.

I guess I always have the option to save the money. Maybe go on a vacation? Mmmm. That's sounding pretty amazing.
I'll keep you posted, but I just like the thought that a recent college graduate can have a nice-looking apartment on a low budget.



Learn a language!

A couple months back I was riding the CTA when a group of French twenty-somethings boarded the train. I fell head over heels in love with the way their words rolled off their tongues. French is such a beautiful language. I had to have it.

...but then I got thinking...

Is French the most practical? Am I just going for practicality or should I consider ease of learning? What about the potential travel destinations that will open up by knowing a particular language? I really want to learn a new language somewhere down the road, but my mind is pulled in so many directions.

I have three years of Spanish under my belt and I did fairly well in those classes. I remember a decent amount from school, and  I could always read and write Spanish pretty well. Listening and speaking it was where it got tricky for me.

Then there's German. A little more challenging, but my mother felt the need to inform me that it was on a list of the top 100 things to learn in 2010. Or was it this decade? No matter, Germany is becoming a big global player and knowing this language could potentially put me at an advantage in my future career.
But French is so pretty.


I'll be honest though, as much as I would like for this to happen, I don't anticipate it being anytime soon.

(Hello print by Jennifer Ramos)
This weeks theme is seven personal goals I want to accomplish

mustachio mutts


This product rocks! I just about died when I saw it this morning. What's even better is the English bulldog (my favorite) modeling the lovely stache.

Bulldog + Mustache = Dream Come True

I would love to see a gallery of different dogs with this toy in their mouths. I feel like it could get quite ridiculous, especially with smaller dogs.

This is pretty good too. Oh, and this! The mustache is my favorite though. I need a dog bad...

(via 2modern)


down the rabbit hole

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland premieres tonight at midnight for those lucky viewers that can stay up past 1 am. I'm really excited to see this film, but I'll probably wait a few weeks for the crowds to die down (in typical Christine fashion). Tim Burton is such a creative person. I can't wait to see the psychotic whimsy in this film. In the meantime, I'm hoping these lovely photos by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue will hold me over...

(via Cup of Jo)

I want to fill my closet with all of those shades of blue. My favorite!