8 Young House Love and Chi-town

Yes, this is a better-late-than-never post on my Young House Love book signing adventures in Chi-town a few weeks back; let’s make it a big bang-- either that or an extremely wordy post with some pictures.

If you don’t know who they are, well maybe you should. John and Sherry super-awesome inspirational people who not only encourage but actively let their freak flags fly- high.

I’ve been an avid reader for about three years. So what if they have an underground fan following- I’m totally part of it- call me super geek.

And as soon as I found out they had a book coming out, I stalked er frequented their blog for the release date, the pre-order date, you name it- I was like a puppy dog. Once I found out the book release date, the super cheap in me asked a sweet and awesome co-worker to use his Amazon Prime for free shipping and to my surprise he said yes! Oh boy, he didn’t know what he just got himself into.  Needless to say, he probably got so annoyed with me asking “Is it here yet” that he probably couldn’t take road-trips with his nieces and nephews for fear of his sanity. Pulling over the car as soon as the words “Are we there…” and does the silent-red face slap the steering wheel melt down. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad but to my defense it FINALLY arrived the day before I was set to go to Chicago.

Speaking of Chicago, when they announced their tour…
Photo Credit: Young House Love

AND finding out that they were coming to a city within 5 hours of me I may have busted out some shopping cart/q-tip and throw it away/window-to-the-wall/title belt celebration dance moves- heck who am I kidding- the moves probably closely resembled a dying fish mixed with a flailing baby.
How you doin' Aaron?
Photo Credit

I then proceeded to write it on my calendar (this is a big deal people- things simply WILL NOT BE ATTENDED if they’re not on the calendar).

The next line of business was to roundup some brave souls to come with me. To my surprise, I roped my sweet boyfriend and one of my closest friends to come with.  So what if I bribed them with a little IKEA action after, don’t judge me.

Besides YHL’s posts here and here and some other helpful lovely readers here and here, I really didn’t know what to expect at a book-signing. I mean, I met my favorite bands in the past including Actor/Lead Singer Jared Leto (quiet down I can hear your jealousy through the screen) and my favorite band in high school (Go Linkin Park!), I’m never quite prepared for -well honestly- anything that makes me nervous.

We didn’t pack much except the book (of course), pillows, water bottles, and hit the road around 8:45AM. We thought this was a bit extreme since my bestie is a night shift gal and doesn’t roll out of bed until 11. Let’s just say they were a bit leery getting up early and waiting in line for something they had no idea about.

Somehow, I convinced them that the earlier we get there the less we will have to wait. Since it’s about a 2 ½- 3 hour drive, we arrived around 11:00 AM.  Can you believe when we got there I had the audacity to ask my boyfriend to get out of the car, cross ridiculous traffic and grab a parking spot? Admittedly, a bit of road rage and anticipation stress may have reared their ugly heads. Is there even such a thing as ever getting used to traffic? For the record: had I not been the driver, I TOTALLY WOULD HAVE!  

Boy was I wrong about our start time. When we arrived, the line was along the interior wall of West Elm and wrapped about half way outside around the building.
This was the line later in the day. It wrapped twice the length of the large West Elm Building and overflow was directed toward another store. Yep they're popular!

We scurried in line and almost immediately I asked my sweet boyfriend to keep our place in line while I cooled off from the road rage fiasco (don’t worry I rigorously apologized later) with some eye candy shopping.

Bestie and I wandered inside West Elm to scope out the condition of this line and experience the store for the first time. They had such lovely furnishings. Their layouts and placements throughout the store were simply stunning. As in, you could pluck the whole display and use it in your house. Being on a super budget, I was sad to leave these cute owls at the store.
Such a beautiful blue color in person.

We then headed across the street to World Market. Again a virgin shopper, I had the weird impression it was a food store. To my surprise, the store had sooo much more than food (which was a tiny section). This place had décor, my FAVORITE! I had to pinch my pennies or I would have come home with some outrageous finds. Like this sucker:
I was trying to convince the boyfriend that we were actively on the prowl for the perfect entryway light, and this was it. He wasn't buying it (pun intended).

I had to clutch my wallet tight on this guy…

After reading about Dana’s (from the blog housetweaking) experience, she had mentioned that the wait is all part of the fun. You get to meet new people. Meeting new people is terrifying, but then I remembered our commonality- we’re here because we love these two quirky bloggers.  Verdict: Dana was right on. Here is my rundown of the lovely ladies, some little ones, and a gentleman. I’m kicking myself for not building up the nerve to exchange email addresses or blogs (if they had one).

  1. First, there was this out-going, bubbly, eccentric woman. Admittedly, my first impression was that she was a bit out-there, but quickly learned- she is my kind of person. She made origami, held and entertained the surrounding children, lovingly rubbed a child’s back when the storm came, and just an authentic person.
  2. A sweetie who may have been a fellow blogger but I was too scared to ask. She genuinely laughed at my sarcasm. We had so much fun coming up with photo-bombs. 
  3. Then there was this jewelry maker, who totally surprised me with some publishing facts.  Such as: normally first time authors don’t have a book tour unless the publishers anticipate a large turn out somewhere in the net of a few hundred thousand dollars. That can pay for a lot of mob scene choreography. My remark: “well at least Clara’s college is paid for!” As I was thinking, I would do it all over again, this couldn't have happent to better people. But kudos to them, still keeping it real.
  4. A charming lady who politely laughed at my lame-o jokes. She seemed incredibly classy and had manners I could drool over- wait that would be rude.
  5. A lovely couple with the happiest, cutest little chubby feller. He was the crowd pleasing star of the show. 
  6. Finally, there was this mother & daughter. The young one had these beautiful curls. Her mother had fabulous fashion sense. I resisted the urge to steal her shawl.
And then there was green-sweater girl.  Nicknamed sweetly after How I Met Your Mother’s cupcake girl.
Photo Credit
What makes green sweater girl so cool? She got up super early to be first in line. We mimed like fools through the window pointing at our wrists asking what time she got there. Somehow they understood our botched sign language and said time- 4. IMPRESSIVE! Puts our 8:45AM on the road to shame.

Somewhere in the middle, the lovely West Elm workers brought us hot chocolate and two rounds cookies:
Cheers to heart houses. Mr.Boyfriend bit off hischimney.

It couldn’t have been a better time, as a quick but intense storm passed through with crazy loud thunder.  Good thing the majority of YoungHouseLove’s following were safely under the awning. Oh and the hot chocolate had tiny gingerbread cookies to spice it up ever so slightly.  Besides the storm, the weather was surprisingly and thankfully warm.

John and Sherry made their debut and lucky for us the line had shifted and we were directly on the opposite side of the glass window from where they were sitting.  Everyone outside was cheering, like they were true celebrities. Sherry is so down to earth that she did this overly excited waived to us. Our little line group schemed up some photo-bomb on the fly. You name it moose ears, “the wave,” spirit fingers, etc. We were trying to choreograph a book line up/wave combo but a line shift wrecked that idea.
We were in the middle of scheming "the wave." Photo Credit: @bejeromy
Showing off spirit fingers. Photo Credit: @bejeromy
As the line made its way inside West Elm, the anticipation continued to build. It was a nice surprise to see merchandise previously hidden by people in line. Included were these stunning silver branch silverware set:
Photo Credit: West Elm
P.S. the product description has puns: "Stick with these." "makes dining in a little more tree-mendous."

As we approached their table, the nerves kicked in overdrive. I was speechless. John kindly broke the ice and said something polite- which I forget out of my sheer star-struck state of mind.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of any gift worthy to present to them- which may or may not have helped the situation. On the bright side my bestie captured this lovely moment:

Then another spirit finger photo op. Somehow we got the line people to participate!
And, I got a little too carried away.
 I stopped at their guestbook (which is a blank copy of their book btw) and made my mark remembering the day:

And my fellow line friends followed suit:

On our way out, I snapped this:

Which is inspiration for a possible makeover from this 70’s-ish set of four chairs we got at a storage unit auction (post coming soon):

Then we headed off to IKEA. Starving, we went straight for the cafeteria and ate some Swedish Meatballs- which were free if the total purchase was $100 or higher.

My bestie asks me to pick stuff out for her and how could I ever pass up the chance to spend someone else’s money doing what I love to do- shop décor?

So I convinced her to buy a rug (which I’m sort of jealous of), vases, pillows, and a kitchen gadget.

Since I did well on saving my pennies, we only spent a little over $100 on a replacement rug (because this girl laid the iron on it by accident), more plant pots, cheap-o clearance vases, furry rugs, and bed sheets.
The plants didn't come with the pots, I just couldn't wait to plant our end-of-season clearance plants.
Sadly we sort of rushed through the store as we were running out of energy from the day’s prior events.  On our way home we enlisted the help of Yelp to find us some grub.

Can I mention that I am infatuated with this App? I have yet to go to visit an awful restaurant. After leaving Illinois and using Yelp by entering Mexican within 15 miles, we ended up here:
El Fuego
Photo Credit: Mat M on Yelp
Oh and after the book signing, John and Sherry blogged about green sweater girl. I found out her real name is: Christina and left her the following comment:
I hope we become fast blog friends!
I also hunted down @bejeromy to request photographic evidence. It all started with the post-it where I jotted down his twitter account before leaving West Elm. I then scoured his twitter for the specific spirit fingers shot.  He posted some of us in the background. So I moved to Pinterest and found his Facebook account. If any of you know me, I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook- so logging in was a big deal. I then proceeded to beg ask nicely for some pictures:

So my failure to capture these moments was all due to the fact that I didn’t want to feel nerdy by bring my big camera. What a terrible mistake that turned out to be, hence the lousy cell phone pictures. Which reminds me to recap all the things I would do differently if I could do it all over again:

  • Pack chairs and snacks
  • Bring an umbrella (or other weather related items)- we dodged the bullet there
  • NEVER EVER forget the camera
  • Exchange information with any neat people I ever have the pleasure of meeting
  • Don’t pass on local food- I missed out on Epic Burger, an organic burger place which seemed alluring. I could smell their burger as my stomach was growling in line.
  • Create something fabulous for the author.

I have to give my wonderful patient friends lots of credit for hanging out with me when they probably had better things to do. What about you, have you ever forced lovingly batted your eyes and coaxed your friends into doing something they probably thought was boring? I want to hear all about it.


  1. Love it! I've already posted it on twitter: https://twitter.com/bejeromy/status/279309272440000513

    ... By the way what is YOUR twitter handle? :)

    1. Thank you for sharing the link love and I haven't set up twitter yet. I'll be sure to follow you either way!


    Ahhhhhh seriously....I have that same goofy grin. I love hearing your recap and you told it in such a charming way!!!! You are such a doll, so glad we got to "meet" kinda :)

  3. You made my night, seriously! Thanks for the kind words.
    P.S. does the excitement ever go away anytime someone comments? I hope not.

  4. Such a fun post! Great recap. They didn't come to Phoenix so I didn't get a chance to be a tongue-tied weirdo fan girl...totally how I'd be if I met them.
    The blue West Elm pendant light is gorgeous!

    1. Oh my goodness, I didn't see your post Angel!

      Awe bummer they didn't make it to Phoenix, but maybe the next book tour will be nation wide? **Crossing my fingers for you**

  5. You're such a great storyteller! I love your enthusiasm and how you really made it an event to remember...and made some friends along the way, too. Did you hear Sherry at Haven? That's one of my regrets - - that I missed her session, and I know she was only there on the first day. And I feel like it's a sin I still haven't read their book. My Mom was asking for stocking stuffer ideas...maybe I'll add this to the list!

    1. I didn't attend her class this time, however I did get to meet her the first night and hang out awkwardly smiling like a kid on Christmas. She's TINY. Like I'm short but she's somehow SHORTER!! I lurve their book, I haven't made my way all the way through yet but maybe by their next book launch, eh? haha.

      I'd HIGHLY recommend their book, their quirky-ness flows through the entire book


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