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Monday, November 9, 2015

Behind-the-Scenes of the Redbook Cover Shoot

And just like that, it's Monday again...what's up with that?? We spent the weekend up to our eyeballs in {One Room Challenge} scramblings! First up, my drawer pulls order was cancelled, and the fronts couldn't be installed without them. But fortunately, I found some I love even more than the original selection, so it worked out. Minus the hefty bill to have them overnighted! Then the side tables were too tall for the sofa, so more scrambling to find new ones. Again, even better than the originals! #silverlining

But the best news of all, is the paint finally dried enough to hang the shelves! My darling aunt came over to help me style them...she's pretty much the vignette-master, so we had a great time playing with all TWENTY FOUR shelves! #zoinks I'm still holding my breath, but it looks like I'll have a full reveal for you Wednesday!

Today I'm switching gears a bit, and recounting what was arguably one of the best days of my life (after my wedding and birth of my kids, of course!)...the day we shot the cover of Redbook magazine! This post is a little self-indulgent, I know, but I don't ever want to forget the details of that day, and this blog has become a sort of online scrapbook for my family moments.

So here's the story behind the scenes of the September 2015 issue!

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style



You may recall I was chosen as one of the Top 25 finalists in the Real Women Real Style Awards, and there was a frenzy of online voting to select a winner. You guys blew me away with your support and constant voting...thank you! When the voting period ended though, I knew I wasn't the top vote-getter, so I, of course, felt disappointed, but moved on. We left for Alaska the following week, so that helped soften the blow. #brat

But what I didn't realize, was that the vote was for selecting just one of the winners, and a panel of editors would choose five more! So you can imagine how shocked I was to receive the email just two days after returning home, that I was a winner!

We were sworn to secrecy, so I immediately called my mom crying, followed by the rest of my family and closest friends. #steeltrap Keeping it from you was the hardest part...I felt so guilty because you'd been so invested in helping me win!

Here's where things got a little nutty...we got the news June 2nd I'd won, and that they'd fly me to New York for the photoshoot June 14-16th. Not only was it already the chaotic last week of school, but we were leaving for my sister's wedding June 5-13th!

So we arrived home from Montana around midnight, and at 7am the next morning, I was en route back to the airport...as soon as we landed in NYC, a driver met us, and we went straight to the Hearst Corporation for my fitting!

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

There waited racks of not-yet-released clothes, all selected for me! Boards were covered with my blog's style pictures, and it was as if the girls in the Redbook fashion department already knew me. I tried on a series of outfits, while seamstresses pinned every pant, skirt and top to a custom fit on me.

You think it's hard selecting coordinating outfits for holiday cards...the editors had to coordinate the outfits of six very different women, for three photos each!

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Oh yeah...the best part? My mom and son came with me! I wanted to share the experience with someone, and Mr. SP couldn't get away from work again so soon. My mom didn't even hesitate before agreeing to come with me, and we surprised my son with a ticket, too. Having them there made the whole thing so unbelievably special and unforgettable.

Hi Sugarplum | Redbook Real Women Real Style

We had a few hours that night to explore the city, then a car picked me up the next morning for a 7am call time at Industria Studio. We were instructed to arrive with clean hair and faces, with no make-up or products. After changing in to robes and slippers, they sent three of us to hair, and the other three to make-up.

I'd received the call sheet outlining the dream teams who'd be handling hair, makeup, and photography, but thank goodness I didn't have time to Google them ahead of time...I was already anxious enough! Mark Townsend...the man behind Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon's hair (to name a few), was lead hairstylist, and could not have been nicer or funnier! The first thing he asked was how I normally wear my hair....'Um, messy curls in need of a hairbrush?' 

'Perfect! Love it! Let's do a bigger, longer version of that!' And that, is how I ended up with my first weave.

Insider Scoop: Apparently there hasn't been a single model or celebrity in the past 10 years grace the cover of a magazine with just her own hair. Every last one of them is wearing extensions. So there you go.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

They first clipped in waist-length extensions ($3,000 in real hair!!), then cut and curled it to the style they wanted.

Insider Scoop: Mark is a spokesperson for Dove, and swears by most every one of their products. That's all he used on my hair and I loved it.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Afterwards, they carefully pinned my hair back, and I went for make-up and nails. First someone spent 30-minutes priming my face, then the lead make-up artist, Munemi Imai, worked her magic. And I mean magic. I was beyond tired from so much travel and excitement, and had spent the week prior at 8,000 feet elevation...so my skin and cuticles were trashed.

'No problem' was what I kept hearing, and out came potions that instantly soothed and sealed my cuticles, exfoliated and softened my chapped lips, and somehow covered every line, shadow and blemish on my face. After four hours with the dream team, I still looked like me, but the best version of me that's ever been. #ittakesavillage

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Finally I was ushered to my dressing area, where everything that had been selected the day before, plus more, was arranged and waiting...all expertly altered, and steamed to perfection. How did they do that in under 12 hours???

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

And somehow, without ever seeing a single person, the catering table was always stocked with delicious food and snacks. You'd think I'd avoid the food knowing I had to be in front of the camera, but I couldn't resist trying it all. I knew the whole experience was once-in-a-lifetime, and I wanted to absorb every last bit of it.

Insider Scoop: Spread peanut butter on sliced apple rings, and cover them with granola. Trust me.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

For the rest of the day, I would never check my face or hair...someone was always there to touch it up. I would not dress myself...someone would help with my clothes and put on my shoes! Someone else would smooth my exposed arms and legs with highlighter cream!! And every time I was on camera, Mark and his assistant, Clay Hawkins, would point hand-held wind machines on my hair...Beyonce-style! At one point between takes, they came running in with more hair to clip in my head!

Talk about Cinderella!! I was pinching myself and grinning like a goof the entire time, trying to soak it all in, and feeling so beyond grateful to be in the middle of that amazing madness.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

We shot a cool and a warm color palette in groups of three, then a full group shot with all six of us. The other girls were so sweet and charming, and equally overwhelmed by the unbelievable opportunity.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

I didn't know what to expect on set, and obviously I have no real experience or knowledge in 'modeling', but Chris Craymer, the photographer, could not have been more gracious, and really put us all at ease. With every shot, he'd shout out with his charming British accent, 'Gorgeous! Love it! You're stunning!' 

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style
Floral Pencil Skirt (check out the pleat on the back!) | Pink Shirt | Blue Vest | Leopard Pumps

But you guys, it was hard!!! We stood close together, and with music playing, we had to stay continually in motion, but always looking at the camera and smiling. No posing, no looking away, no different expressions! I was out of moves in the first 5 seconds! Seriously, stand in the mirror, and try it for 5 minutes at a time. While staying connected to people on either side of you. Sometimes we had to literally dance while smiling for the camera!

At one point, my old drill team moves came out, and I refelxively hiked my knee up...well apparently that was my best move because it got an immediate, 'Yes! Love that! Give us more leg up!!' So I spent the rest of the time standing like a flamingo. In shoes 3 sizes too big, stuffed with tissue.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Between shots, when the other girls were on camera, I'd get continual touch-ups to my hair and make-up, eat, sit with editors for extensive interviews, eat, and film behind-the-scenes video clips (see the video here).

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

The last shot of the day was my portrait, and I was able to put together my own outfit using items from my rack. By then, I was feeling more comfortable on-camera, but standing up by yourself in front of 20-some-odd crew members was a little intimidating. But at no point, did anyone ever make us feel like amateurs...there was nothing but praise all day!

The funny thing about my feature shot is the jean jacket. Obviously I'm a fan of them, in fact, this is my own jacket I'd worn to the shoot...but I always laugh at the draped-over-the-shoulders-look. Sheaffer and I joke that it looks like the person couldn't be bothered with putting her arms in the sleeves...so when the editors draped my jacket like this, all I could think was 'Sheaffer is going to give me so much crap for this!' (For the record, we both laughed really hard when I showed her!)

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

But I loved everything about this outfit! And the hair, obviously!

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style
Gingham Shirt | Jean Jacket | Skirt | Shoes (similar for less)
Necklace (this shop made Oprah's Favorite List)

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

After several minutes of shooting in front of the wall, the photographer stopped and put his head in his hands for a moment. I started to panic that he just wasn't feeling my shots, but actually he had come up with another idea....and before I knew it, they had cleared the room and created a new set-up for me in the makeup chair.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

The smiling and laughing part was no problem because I was bubbling over with happiness that day. This was their chosen shot...and I thought it was interesting that this was the quote they pulled out of our hour-long interview! It sums me up pretty accurately!


I can't thank the beauty teams and photographer enough for making me feel so beautiful!

Insider Scoop: Follow them on InstaGram for more fun glimpses of behind-the-scenes life in this world.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

And the entire Redbook fashion team is one of the most talented in the business...I wish I had pictures with all of them.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style
Sarah, Jennifer, Marla, Darrick

My mom and son arrived on set just as hair and makeup were finishing up, and their plan was to watch a bit, then go site-see...but they were having so much fun, they decided to stay. My son said, 'I can come to New York anytime, but I'll never be able to see my mom do something this cool ever again!" #gulp

It's like he saw me as a person for the first time that day...a woman with dreams and goals, not just the mom who makes his life easier. I pray that day helped shape his opinion of women, and the kind of woman he'll someday choose to marry.

And my mom? Everyone kept telling me she was just beaming with pride the entire time. #doublegulp I was so grateful for her comforting presence, and for how gracious and welcoming the entire crew treated my family.

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

They even had them jump in the final shots of the day!

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

#Icanteven

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

The day ended with a party, where editor, Meredith Rollins, spoke of her two-year dream of putting real women on the cover of a magazine, and brought tears to all our eyes.

Here are a few of the questions I've been asked most since the experience....

Did you get to keep the clothes?
I wish! I thought surely I'd get to keep the stuff that had been altered...after all, it was tailored to my body. But nope, back it all went. I did get to keep the hair though!!

Did you have a say in the clothes, hair, makeup?
The clothes had all be pulled for me (from the upcoming season, so none of it was in stores yet), and I tried on 7 or 8 complete looks for the editors. I honestly was just so happy and grateful to be there, that I kept my opinions to myself. On occasion I'd suggest a shoe or extra pattern that I'd normally pair with a certain outfit, and in most cases, they went with it. They had studied my style so closely, most all the clothes they pulled looked like they came from my closet.

I was skeptical about the floral pants that ended up on the cover, but once they were altered and fit like a glove, I fell in love. The only thing I didn't love was the blue vest in the final shot, and that's likely because it was a last-minute add-in, was 3 sizes too big, and clipped up in the back. Funny enough, I now own the buffalo check version of it! #touche

Did you get paid?
They treated us like royalty, with airfare, hotel, private drivers, food, and an unbelievable Cinderella day...not to mention abundance of graciousness and kindness. And yes, a pretty sweet gift bag full of fun goodies and a $500 check. (Hope I was allowed to tell you that!)

Have companies been sending you tons of free clothes ever since?
Um, no!!?? But how do I get in on that!?

The shoot wrapped around 8pm, and we, along with my long, deflated hair, headed out to walk the Highline and have a celebratory dinner at one of my favorite NYC spots, Minetta Tavern. (See my New York mini-guide here.)

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

We had strict instructions to not tell anyone until the issue was on newsstands. I may have told our waitress at dinner that very same night. #likeavault

Hi Sugarplum | Behind the Scenes Redbook Real Women Real Style

They kept telling us it was for the cover, but I never quite believed it until I had it in my hands. I mean, I've worked in the advertising and publishing fields, I know how critical the cover is to the sales of each issue. I couldn't believe they trusted the success of the year's most important issue on a group of unknown women.

But that just speaks to the courage of editor Meredith Rollins...she made a statement that real women of all sizes, color, and age are beautiful, and it was heard loud and clear! Virtually every news source reported on the historic cover, and I couldn't have been more proud, or humbled, to be part of it.


Thank you so much for indulging me this post. And thank you, darling readers and friends, because none of this would have been possible without you! Your support, enthusiasm, kindness, and interactions brought me this opportunity, and with all my heart, I'm grateful. #grouphug #drinksonme

{Shop My Cover Look}


{Shop My Feature Look}



{Shop My Group Look}




47 comments:

  1. Well, this post was too much fun! Loved hearing the details and I'm off to buy some Dove hair stuff now :)

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  2. What a fun post to read first thing on a Monday morning! Thank you for taking us along with you on your awesome experience! I loved every detail and felt like I was there with you. I actually got tears in my eyes reading your son's comment. How nice that he and your mom got to be a part of it all.
    Cheers! Shelley

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  3. Oh how fabulous. I loved hearing and seeing all the pics of your fabulous day. What a priceless time. Congratulations again.

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  4. I just love this post! What an amazing experience, and told so perfectly! Your hair and makeup were right on, for sure! And your son is a very handsome young man...so glad he got to go! Congratulations on this success, and I wish you lots more. :)

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  5. That is so insanely cool! I'm not even gonna lie...I got a little whispy when you talked about your son. Being a mom of two, stinky, grubby boys, that's exactly how I want them to see me.

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  6. He's so grown up looking now! And the same height! Make it stop! Loved this post girlie. SO happy for your success. Can't think of a more deserving person. xxoo

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  7. Oh Cassie, I just loved every bit of this post! How fun, and loved that your son and S. got to experience it, too! ( and way to go S.....Great pics! ) My only complaint was you should have been on the FRONT front, not the folded back front. #i'mproudtoo!

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  8. What a special experience! And I'm pinning your tip on peanut butter apple rings...

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  9. I don't know why I'm crying....but I am. Tears of happiness for you.....I guess! I really don't even know you....except for your blog....but I think Redbook made a wonderful choice picking you as one of their real women. What an amazing experience and how fun it must have been to able to share it with your mom and son. Congratulations to you!! It was so much fun seeing the behind the scenes of a magazine photo shoot.

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  10. What a dream come true! Loved the outfit you chose for your photo....think it nailed your overall style. What a testament to the love between you & your son that he was so proud of you and your momma is just as adorable as you are. Love that they were able to jump in. So much fun...so proud for you. And I agree with Sallie...the only thing I would argue about is you should have been on the front instead of the fold out!

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  11. So incredibly happy for you. Your blog is real and honest and copy able and REDBOOK saw that. You represented working moms everywhere beautifully in your spirit and attitude.

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  12. Why am I crying??? The part about your son that got me all emotional. I have two boys so what you said about him and how he sees you and other women is what I hope for my boys. I'm so happy for you.

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  13. Wow! You are one lucky girl! It was obviously a very exciting day. Thank you for sharing. I don't normally buy Redbook but I'll be buying this issue, for sure.

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  14. Wow, thanks for sharing this amazing experience. You so deserve it! And the part about your mom and son coming to watch....goodbye mascara!

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  15. You were so gorgeous on the cover (along with all the other ladies) and I love that you are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the out! Thanks for being an inspiration for all "real women!"

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  16. Sp proud of you pretty mama!! I loved reading this so much and I could feel myself beaming with happiness for you!! Love you mean it!!

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  17. Too fun! I felt like Buddy the Elf when I saw it, bc I was all like "ooh, ooh, I know her! I know her!" hahaha

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  18. Real women, real beauty...perfect.

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  19. Only one comment...You are amazing and very BEAUTIFUL!

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  20. I really enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the magazine shoot! Really fun. And I'd love it if you started getting some comped clothes. Because seriously, I heart blogs so much that advertisers have no shot at me without supplying my fave blogs with advertisements (in a manner of speaking).

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  21. Tears in my eyes seeing that photo of you with your mom and son!!! What an AMAZING experience! I thoroughly enjoyed reading every detail. Thank you for sharing this with all of us! I now need to get my butt in the car and pick up some Dove :D

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  22. What a dreamy, once in a lifetime experience! Thanks for sharing all of this with us, so fun to see all the details. Now pardon me while I go dry my eyes after reading about your sweet family...

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  23. You are definitely cover book material Cassie! Such a natural in front of the camera! :-)

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  24. Cassie! This is beyond amazing!!! You are so deserving of all of this :).

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  25. I'm glad you had such a good time because you totally deserve it! Great job!

    Visiting from LorimerLiving.Com
    XO, Jaclyn

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  26. I was so excited to hear that you were picked for the cover! As a loyal follower of your blog, it made me happy that they picked you because I have always felt you show others everyday fashion in such a authentic, practical & fun style! Congratulations! :)

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  27. This post gave me goosebumps. So happy for you, you definitely deserved this and have been an inspiration to all!!!

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  28. I LOVE the picture of you and your son and your mom! So special! Thank you for sharing this with us :) I was so excited to see you on the cover!!!

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  29. Thanks for giving us the inside scoop. So fun! And you really rocked that cover. Congrats again!

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  30. Love this post! So fun to get a behind the scenes look, and you are SO deserving!

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  31. I can't even handle your cuteness! And oh my that last photo with your adorable mom and son...melting!

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  32. What an amazing experience. I love your style so much. And the outfit you put together yourself was my favorite of the whole shoot.

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  33. What an awesome experience! I can only imagine how much fun that day was and even better that your son and mama were there with you. Good for you! Congrats!!

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  34. So awesome !!! Love that you included your son and mom !

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  35. What a fun day for you. Love seeing real people come to the cover of the magazine again. My first job out of college was an assistant to the beauty editors at Redbook. It was back in 1981. At the time they had a series called "People on the Cover" My job was to go through the thousands of applications and photos that women sent in. I would choose 10 a day and give them to the editors to make final selections for the upcoming covers. It was a dream job, but the pay not so much. :-(

    Love your style. XO

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  36. You are the absolutely cutest ever!!! Such a gorgeous person inside and out!

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  37. What a fun day! You are just radiant. And your mom is gorgeous! Great genes there! ;)

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  38. I missed this, I'm having computer issues. This is so so awesome.

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  39. We are in NYC now as I read this. I'm so happy for you! I loved reading all about it . I especially love that your mom and son were able to come along!

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  40. DYING! The colors, the art and the rug! Your are too dang cute too. Bravo!

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  41. What a fabulous and memorable experience! Thank you for taking us along for the journey! So much fun!

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  42. This is all so amazing. So happy and excited you were a part of this!!!! Congrats it seems like it was so amazing and I love that you appreciate all you got from this (emotionally, spiritually more than the "stuff")

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  43. Such an amazing experience! Thanks for making us feel like we were there! :)

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  44. Last night (Nov. 14) I just read that issue of Redbook for the first time.....and that's what prompted me to look up your blog and add it to my Feedly! This post was a very cool look behind-the-scenes!!

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  45. Cassie, I am absolutely in LOVE with you! I initially found you when I was doing a round up of the ORC. I Included your room in my "Favorites" http://myoldcountryhouse.com/fall-2015-one-room-challenge-favorites/
    Then, a few weeks ago, I have a GINORMOUS spike in my blog traffic for about two weeks and it was a PIN I had done of the bench . I am adding you to my blog roll and hope you might do the same. Any chance you might be going to the Design Bloggers Conference? Congrats on this wonderful cover shot!

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Your comments are like popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. Thanks for taking the time to share your positive thoughts! xoxo, cass

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