Dans le Lakehouse

Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

September 20, 2016

Pros + Cons of an Open Concept Floor Plan

Years before we bought our lakehouse, I strong-armed a Realtor into taking me to see another house on our bay that was for sale.  At the time, we had no plans to buy a lake house - and had no idea we'd end up on the exact same bay.  I was just being nosy.  Owning a house on Lake Superior seemed like such a dream and I wanted to peak behind the curtain. 

It was such a cute house, with a tiny little open concept kitchen, dining and living space - all facing the lake.  The second bedroom and sole bathroom were tucked behind the kitchen, off a tiny hallway, but the master bedroom was behind the living room.  It could be closed off from the main living area with huge sliding barn doors that, when left open, provided a beautiful view of the lake from the bed.  Dreamy, right?  It was a cleverly designed home but it was so small - and I'm convinced that only having one bathroom is a leading cause of divorce (I'm kidding...mostly).  Interestingly, the couple who ended up buying that house supposedly did get a divorce and the couple who own it now have actually built a massive addition which, if they're wise, boasts another bathroom...

Pros and Cons of Open Concept Floor Plan

When we started thinking about our own dream house on the lake, I knew I wanted open concept - especially having experienced firsthand how much more spacious an impossibly tiny lake house could feel with an open floor plan.  I wanted to be able to cook in the kitchen and still chat with guests in the dining room.  I grew up in a small, post-war home with very distinct spaces and so many doors that they clanged against each other if we didn't all move around the house in a coordinated manner.  The townhouse offered a small taste of  open concept living because the living and dining room were open to each other and the kitchen had a weird window that let in extra light, making it feel more connected to the rest of the home - despite having four solid walls.  Despite its limitations, I was sold on the open concept floor plan because, to me, it made a small house feel more spacious and airy. 
  Pros and Cons of Open Concept Floor Plan

One of the reasons we pounced on our house the way we did was that the size and floor plan felt so perfect for us.  I loved that the living, dining and kitchen were open to each other and faced the lake, but I appreciated that the bathrooms and laundry room were tucked away in the back of the house.  The only alteration I would have made would have been to create a sliding wall between the living room and bedroom so that the bedroom could enjoy a lake view too - just like that little house I toured, all those years ago.

Nearly three years later, do I still love our open concept floor plan?  That's a question I'm asked quite often.

Short answer: SO MUCH!

But (there's always a but!) - there are a lot of pros and cons of open concept living to consider.  As trendy as an open concept floor plan is, I don't think it's the right choice for everyone.  In an article for The Comfortable House, I've done my best to flesh out the pros and cons of open concept living for anyone who is on the fence, or just nosy (like me). 

Pros and Cons of Open Concept Floor Plan 
The points I've addressed are largely based on our lives, but it's a really in depth read and I've done my best to explain how our lifestyle, family situation, and preferences impact how we use and enjoy the space.  I've also tried to think about how other couples and families might benefit from - and be irritated by - an open living space.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

It was a really fun article to write because I got to reflect on our life here in the lakehouse and try to remember a time when living here seemed like something that would never happen.  I can see that little lake house I toured so long ago from my dining room!  I drink my tea and look at it, thinking about just how interesting life's journey is sometimes.

September 15, 2016

14 Gorgeous Ways to Display and Decorate with Succulents

My Mom and I are both notorious plant killers, which puzzled the older generations of women in our family, who had decorated their homes in the 1970s when plants and macrame plant hangers and all that jazz was trending hard.  Although house plants will always be a mainstay of interior decor, there's definitely been an intense plant craze that has swept the decorating world once again.  Mom and I resisted for awhile - in the interest of plants everywhere - but it's impossible not to get caught up in the frenzy because plants really make a house feel homier.  Now I'm up to nearly twenty plants, some of which I've propagated myself!

Aside from a large snake plant and a pretty substantial jade plant, most of my house plants are shrimpy little guys.  I really want a trendy, giant cactus but I can't seem to find any around here.  Succulents, however, are abundant and widely available.  Looking to find new ways to display and care for succulents, I started a Pinterest board full of plants (and house exteriors) to help encourage my green thumb, both indoors and outside.  In the process, I've stumbled across some insanely gorgeous and inventive ways to display succulents, so I wanted to round up my favorites for all of my reluctant plant-lovers out there...

14 Ways to Display Succulents

P.S. my planter is vintage McCoy but this one is so similar!

Pop a Succulent in a Wall Pocket:

These Umbra Trigg hanging planters are so modern, plus they're such a great way to position those light-loving succulents where the lighting situation is ideal.  In a small house, I really don't have that many surfaces where the light is suitable, so I'm seriously tempted to pick up a couple wall pockets (although this set of four wall pockets has a more mid-century feel, I think):
14 Ways to Display Succulents - Wall Pockets
Let a Succulent Chill in a Hanging Planter:

The glaze on these hanging planters is so rich - of course I love that teal on the right, but I'm also pretty smitten with the softly faceted shape.  As an added bonus, they're handmade!  An un-glazed edge and hemp cord enhance the earthy, boho feel without a stitch of macrame.

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Jewel Toned Hanging Planters

Corral a Group of Succulents in a Table Top Garden:

I fell in love with this image of a cactus garden and I can't stop thinking about making a succulent or cactus garden of my own.  I've gone so far as to track down a great deal on a lot of baby succulents, but the perfect container (and spot to put them!) eludes me.  I do love this Mkono ceramic succulent planter because it has a drainage hole to keep those plants healthy, plus the white ceramic is classic and timeless.

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Succulent Garden

Plant a Bevvy of Succulents in a Bar Cart:

I have been pining for that popular turquoise Ikea RASKOG cart for years, but have no where to put it (and no reason to buy it) so I couldn't justify the impulse purchase.  But people are SO inventive - here it's used as a mini succulent garden on wheels.  It's a great way to make sure the succulents are always positioned in a window with the best light.

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Succulent Bar Cart

Stack Succulents in a Tiered Planter:

When I first spotted the Living Art Vertical Garden, I immediately started to ponder a DIY version - and I'm still considering making one.  There was one in shades of mint and turquoise that I loved, but it's sold out.  This one is on sale for $15 (from $50), so I think it would cost way more to buy the supplies.   

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Tiered Hanging Planter
Grow Succulents on an Indoor Wall:

For inside, this mini succulent wall is so perfect - and that rustic wood frame is such a great complement to a lush collection of plants.  Another genius way to make use of vertical space in a home and make room for more plants!
14 Ways to Display Succulents - Succulent Wall Garden

Place Succulents on an Outdoor Wall:

This DIY outdoor succulent wall is made with handrail you can buy from the hardware store, which makes it a fairly simple DIY project.  This is a great way to keep succulents - or herbs - away from curious critters.

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Vertical Succulent Garden

Enhance Succulents with Copper Planters:

There is something about copper that makes me look twice when it's used as a planter - I just love the lush color combo of vibrant green plants with that warm metallic hue.  I spotted an adorable collection on The Glitter Guide and just went totally nuts for them! 

You can re-purpose copper finds from the thrift store (some companies in the 1970s made sets of drinkware in gorgeous hammered copper with matching trays - I'd love to score a great set like that for an arrangement), or you can just pick up a copper planter online.

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Copper Planter

Protect Succulents in Terrariums:

I honestly thought the terrarium trend would be played out by now but it's still going strong!  I love this brass geo terrarium because it's so elegant (although this house-shaped one is pretty darn cute too):

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Brass Geo Terrarium
Add a Shocking Dose of Gravel to Succulents:

I just love when a succulent is topped with gravel - it adds such a fun punch of color (like this grouping of pink topped succulents and the pink gravel terrarium below):

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Hot Pink Pebbles
14 Ways to Display Succulents - Hot Pink Terrarium Pebbles

I tracked down some turquoise gravel on Amazon so, of course, now I'm really into the idea! 

Invite a Succulent to the Office with a Multi-Purpose Planters:

Phone dock desk planter.  How awesome is that?    

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Desk Planter Ipod Dock

Treat a Succulent to a Found Object Planter:

I have been obsessed with the rotary phone planter idea and I even snagged an old phone from my grandparents.  Hubby, on the other hand, thinks it's the weirdest idea ever and is totally unconvinced.  That's okay!  I might have an even wackier idea for that phone, anyway.  But now I'm keeping my eyes peeled for unique objects that can find new life as a succulent planter...

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Succulent in a Phone

Arrange Succulents on a Wreath:

I spotted a gorgeous, rainbow succulent wreath on Instagram and pinned it to my Crafts and DIY board - and it's now one of my most re-pinned pins!  People LOVE this wreath - seeing the reaction has been so interesting.  I'd really love to make one for my front door, but I think this is a DIY that will really add up unless you have access to super inexpensive succulents (these are pretty cheap).  If you're interested in giving it a try, this succulent wreath tutorial is SO thorough (or you might want this mesh succulent wreath form as a solid foundation).

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Succulent Wreath
Try Succulents as a Table Runner:

Also filed under, "I probably can't afford this, but I love it so much": succulent table runners!  If I attended a wedding or event with a succulent table runner, I'd be stuffing my pockets like crazy.  Look how gorgeous!

14 Ways to Display Succulents - Succulent Table Runner

Have you tried any unique ways to style or display succulents?  I'm still a "place gently in planter with good drainage and hope for the best" kinda gal, but I'm thinking about branching out...

P.S. If you're looking for a great resource for caring for succulents, check out Succulents and Sunshine - her guide to watering succulents has been so helpful!
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September 9, 2016

Losing Our Shore to Lake Superior + Learning to Care for Our Lawn and Property

Modern Fire Pit

Hubby is mildly obsessed with Google Earth and he's getting me hooked on exploring our neighborhood from the sky.  From our seemingly tidy neighbour's secret stash of junk hidden in the forest behind his house (busted!), to a landlocked shack deep in the woods, it's really interesting getting a bird's eye view of the area!  Truthfully though, Hubby spends most of his time examining our own property, comparing current aerial shots we took with older logged images to keep tabs on the rate of our shore erosion. 

Lake Erosion

Lake Superior has wreaked havoc on the properties of many of our neighbours, who have had to hire out expensive reconstruction.  The higher water levels are to blame and they've caught even seasoned lake lifers by surprise.  We've been somewhat sheltered from the damage because of our location on the bay, but we're still going to have to devise a plan for next year to keep our lawn from getting washed away.  Living lakeside is amazing, but we weren't prepared for the extra work of owning a lakeside property (#notcomplaining)! 

Canada Goose on Lawn

Meanwhile, last year Hubby noticed another trend while spying on our house: thanks to Szuka, our lawn had such bad brown spots, you can quite literally see them from space!  We're pretty rough on the lawn too though: we frequently leave stuff lying around so the lawn dies underneath and when we finally cut the lawn, inevitably it's too short!  Oh yeah, I also drove across the lawn in our Ram 2500, loaded with thousands of pounds of gravel, and you can still see the faint tire treads. 

Lake Life

With the combined efforts of our complete landscaping ineptitude, Szuka's bladder, and the black bear that forced our hand and made it necessary to chop down two beautiful apple trees, we kind of made our property worse the first couple of years we lived here (despite feeling swamped with yard work)...

Black Bear Problems
Cutting Down Apple Trees

I'm sure neighbors wondered what the heck we were doing with our time to still have such a crummy looking yard!  Even though we're pretty rural, our neighborhood is changing: smaller homes and cottages are regularly torn down to built giant houses - one of our neighbors supposedly spent $100,000 on landscaping alone!  Everyone who walks by our house peers down our driveway and frowns, so I have this sinking suspicion they think we're dragging down property values.

We're trying to improve, but we're not used to having any land so it's taking us some time to get the hang of it!  We were spoiled in the townhouse because the condo hired out lawn care so we didn't even own a lawn mower!  We planted a cute little bush and some lily of the valley flowers but that was it.  We'd make a fruit smoothie and watch someone else cut our lawn from behind the sheer curtains.  We have big plans for next year, but this year we chipped away at some outdoor projects: we finally fixed the riding lawn mower so we cut the lawn weekly instead of monthly (go us!).

Lake House Exterior // Modern DIY Fire Pit

We replaced the crumbling fire pit with our new modern DIY fire pit, finally got rid of the geese for good with a rope fence, removed some rotting flower beds, and finished cleaning up all of the junk and debris left on the property by the former owner - including that 1960s boat we kept moving around the yard, killing the grass!  Just this weekend we even pruned our overgrown raspberry bushes.

Fresh Raspberry
Bowl of Raspberries

I'm going to develop a green thumb, just you watch.  Once I can keep a shrub alive, I'm getting chickens.

In our most victorious bout of landscaping, we planted four teeny, tiny cedar trees!  The goal is to eventually line the entire property with them - including where we tore down the apple trees - to fill in the natural tree line and create a perfectly private backyard.

Newly Planted Cedar

Womp, womp, womp.

Seriously - those cedars looked WAY bigger when we brought them home in the truck.  Well, we're getting there!  Fifteen years from now we'll be happy we started today.

We have the enthusiasm, but it's clear we need a little guidance.

When TruGreen reached out, I was really interested in their services and expertise - especially the tree and shrub care.  Even itty bitty trees are expensive, so many of the TruGreen services, like seasonal insect control and a spring dormant oil application, help protect that investment - and they're essential for protecting old growth.  TruGreen specializes in providing the nourishment trees and shrubs need to grow, essential if your plan is to block out nosy neighbors as quickly as possible.  TruGreen also deals with pest control and tackles pressing problems like the Emerald Ash Borer.  I learned so much about what my trees need to be healthy from perusing the website. 

TruGreen lawn care
Until I cut my own lawn, I never realized how easy it is to completely destroy it with improper maintenance.  My crime was letting it grown too long, then cutting it too short.  I'm slowly getting the hang of it (although Hubby and I still bicker over the height of the lawn mower blades).  We've never fertilized or used anything on our lawn, which I realize now is a huge mistake.  We can really see in our aerial snooping just how dry and crunchy our poor lawn is.  With TruGreen, lawn care is a science, with different services tailored to ensuring a weed-free, lush lawn.  I love that they actually customize a plan for a specific lawn - it's not a one-size-fits-all service, which is the key to getting great results.  Plus, all natural and organic services are available - which is always a way to win me over!

Getting a beautiful lawn

Even if you're not in a position to hire professionals to help you out - or there isn't a service available in your area - TruGreen has such a great learning centre and I've picked up some great tips for mowing the lawn!  It turns out there's a word for what I was doing: "scalping" my lawn (oops).  As well, now that it's finally running, our old beast of a lawn mower could use some maintenance to ensure we aren't butchering the lawn each time we cut the grass.  I learned that excessive clippings can be a sign of not mowing enough - yep, guilty!  Plus, I didn't realize there were actually different mowing suggestions (like how short to cut it) outlined for different types of grass - seriously, a gorgeous lawn takes some know-how!  Luckily the TruGreen team can put together a customized plan for achieving that perfect lawn that will turn neighbour's heads - in a good way!

If you've been struggling with your lawn maintenance or trees and shrubbery, or just need some customized advice to help your yard looks its best, see if there's a TruGreen in your area and get a quote.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of TruGreen.ca.  The opinions, meandering digressions, sad little cedars, and text are all mine.
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September 7, 2016

Bright Turquoise Front Door + Trim for the Guesthouse

Turquoise House Trim
Retro Bunkie

I'm finally making a little progress with the guesthouse!

Did you spot it in my post about my new dresses?  Or maybe you couldn't take your eyes off the zebra print...?  I'm seriously considering ditching the DIY blogging gig and just becoming a fashion blogger because posing in front of this turquoise door might be my life's calling.

Aqua Front Door

Kidding!  (Somewhere my former PhD supervisor is wondering what the heck happened.)

After asking you to weigh in on the pine walls last fall, I decided to take your advice and leave them natural (seeing Cassie's master bedroom sealed the deal).  But I didn't make any progress before winter hit, so I put off the whole building for another year.  Unwilling to let another year slip by without doing something out there, I cleaned out all of the furniture and stuff I was storing for someone else, gave the room a good scrub, evicted about three dozen horrifically large spiders, moved in the maple dresser my Mom lent (and eventually gave) me, and set up the queen bed from the townhouse guestroom.  And all of a sudden, it's a proper guest room now!  I'm slowly adding a rug, some art, and accessories and then I'll give you a tour.  While I wait for my Scandi-inspired rug to arrive, I decided to work on the outside a little.

Here's what it looked like:

Guesthouse Before

The sun really beats down on the guesthouse and the door was looking SO weathered and worn.  Plus the pale sage green stain slapped up on the trim by the former owner was flaking and peeling.

Guesthouse Before
Guesthouse Makeover
Peeling Paint

The wood was looking rough, so I grabbed some leftover paint and primer and got to work!  I sanded the trim and door first, which took a long time but I wanted to really scuff up what was left of the finish and also remove any flaking paint or stain.  Next I washed with TSP, rinsed well and let it dry for a couple of days.  Then I applied an exterior door and trim primer, which required 8 hours between coats and an overnight dry before painting. 

Painting Trim

Two days later, I painted on some bright turquoise - the same color we used for our mid-century inspired front door!  We still have nearly a gallon and it seemed a waste not to use it!

Turquoise Painted Trim
Aqua Trim
Turquoise House Exterior
Eames Chairs Outside

I have no plans to paint the exterior because I love the natural color of the wood siding with the pop of bright turquoise.  When the leave start to turn color, the turquoise will look incredible with the shades of gold and burnt orange Fall brings.  I am definitely not enamored with Fall like the rest of North America, so I'm really trying to find things to look forward to!

Bright Turquoise Front Door
Guesthouse Makeover
Turquoise Window Trim and Front Door

I just love how it turned out!  Next year I'll probably refinish the little mini deck and I definitely have to update that light fixture and maybe make use of the hook for a hanging plant, but already it looks a little better.  We really don't have a lot of money to be fussing with this space - even though it needs a bathroom reno in a big way.  We'll chip away at it but the mission is to spend as little as possible!

Turquoise Trim with Wood Siding

There's still so much work, but I love that I no longer have to see the worn trim and door from the house.  Baby steps! 
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September 2, 2016

eShakti Customized Dress Buying Experience - an Unsponsored Review

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

I've mentioned my love affair with dresses - and how difficult it has been for me to find a cute dress with sleeves.  When I stumbled across eShakti, an online retailer that sells beautiful dresses you can customize (for a ridiculously good price), it seemed too good to be true.  I immediately Googled reviews and was disappointed to hear that so many people - including bloggers who had been provided a dress for free - had issues with fit and size.

I put off ordering for many months because of these bad reviews, but ultimately I couldn't resist ordering a dress when eShakti offered $30 off their already great prices to new customers!  I couldn't find anything I liked locally, so I was getting desperate.  I took the plunge!  Happily, I was thrilled with the dress I bought and promptly ordered another.  For anyone else who has been curious about eShakti, here are my thoughts on the process - including some tips for getting a great fit!

Here's a look at the first dress I ordered (I've taken a good long look but I'm hoping no one spots any goose poop in this photos - DON'T look for any, those are all leaves I swear!):

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti
Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

Below is a screenshot of what the dress looked like originally.  The inventory changes really quickly so this exact dress is no longer available, but if you search "Emma Dress" on the eShakti website, you'll see the same cut in a different print.  After my $30 coupon (plus adding $10 for shipping to the US), this dress was so affordable!

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

When you shop for a dress on eShakti, you'll see the different options available, which usually include at least half a dozen sleeve options, neckline options, length options (cut to your height), and even other details like removing pockets (who the heck wouldn't want pockets?).  You can even skip standard sizing altogether and just send in your custom measurements for a dress that's tailor made. 

I added sleeves but kept everything else - neckline, hemline ("just below knee"), pockets - the same to keep things easy.  I am a size 6 in dresses now - every now and then a 4 on account of my small chest - so I ordered a size S6 and found it fit really true to size, if a teeny bit snug (I don't think I could get away with an S4 from eShakti).  The only thing that surprised me was the length.  I ordered "just below the knee" because I have pretty long thighs so knee length dresses always look shorter on me, but I'd say this is more like a mid-calf.  It can always be hemmed so it's not a problem - I'm just surprised at the generous length!

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

I was worried that with customization options like this, and price so low, that the quality would be poor.  Nope!  My dress is cotton, fully lined, with a nice fit and flare style.  It's sewn so expertly and there are thoughtful little details like pockets and straps to keep my bra strap in place.  I have zero complaints about the quality and after numerous washes and wears, it has held up perfectly.  Deeply suspicious, I looked at the company's manufacturing before ordering and, apparently, although the clothes are made in India, the wages paid exceed the minimum wage by 70% and the factory is clean and safe.  Of course, I'm only basing this information on the eShakti website, but I'm confident that this isn't a brutal sweatshop situation.    
 Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

Those are all of the photos you get of this dress!  If I stay still for too long, someone thinks I could be doing something more productive, like doling out treats or offering two hour long puppy massages.  Clearly I'm not busy.

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

For my second dress, I changed a bit more: adding sleeves (I love three quarter sleeves so much), changing the neckline, and also changing the hemline (to the knee, as opposed to just below).  Once again I ordered a size 6.

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti
Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti
Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

I find this size 6 to be ever-so-slightly tighter, but it still fits me as expected.  Once again, the sewing is excellent, the fabric is a nice weight (doesn't feel cheap at all) and the little details continue to amaze me.  Plus I get a ton of compliments on both dresses! 

Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

It doesn't look like the zebra print is available anymore (things sell out so quickly), but this is the style of dress before I made the changes (search "Crepe Print Sash Tie"):
Tips on Getting a Good Fit Buying from eShakti

I am not one who usually shops online for clothes because I can walk into a store, try on fifty things and emerge empty handed and famished from the exertion, so the odds of me finding something online that fits well are usually slim to none!  But I seem to have struck gold with eShakti, keeping these things in mind:

1.  Shop a sale!  There seems to always be a sale or deal so try to wait for one if you can.  With shipping my first dress was only $35.  eShakti literally emails me daily now, so I always know about sales - but those emails are so darn tempting!  I am currently eyeing up another dress and a top.

2.  Pick a style you've worn before and tend to gravitate toward.  I know that fit and flare dresses usually fit so that's what I went with, even though I've been finding that a lot of wiggle dresses work for my body now too.  I went with old faithful and was not disappointed because fit and flare is forgiving.  I recommend trying a style you know works, just to get a feel for fit and size before trying something really different.

3.   Allow time for ordering.  Dresses can take a couple of weeks (although mine arrived much faster), so if you're planning for a trip or event (or even just a season), order in advance to accommodate the manufacturing and shipping times.  I wish I'd ordered earlier because I would have liked a third summer dress, but by the time I got my second one it seemed too late to order one.

4.  Read measurements carefully.  The sizing seems very true to size to me, but make sure to carefully take your measurements to double check.  If you try the fully custom option, let me know!  I'm still a little nervous about that.  If you're at all worried the dress will be too tight, opt for a stretch cotton or knit cotton which will offer a little bit of extra wiggle room.  The two dresses I ordered have no stretch whatsoever, making an exact fit more crucial. 

5.  Don't dawdle!  Dresses sell out quickly - I missed out on the cutest retro black and white buffalo check.  Argh, I still think about it.  But I waited too long and - poof! - it was gone.

6.  Watch for duties!  I had my dress shipped to the US, but I've heard of Canadians getting slammed with duties and taxes, which isn't eShakti's fault.  I had no issues getting the dress shipped to the US, but ask their customer service questions about importing to other countries.

7.  Don't stress!  eShakti customer service is top notch and they accept returns so try not to stress too much.  They seem to really want to keep our business and make return customers out of us so if anything isn't to your liking, I'm sure you'll have no troubles.  Plus, because it's so inexpensive, once it arrives you can always take it to a tailor for minor alterations and still end up with a good deal!

If you have ever ordered from eShakti - or have tips for shopping for clothes online - I'd love to hear your advice and experiences!  I'm still trying to replace an entire wardrobe, piece by piece, and am struggling to find things I like, so I wanted to share this happy online shopping experience.  Plus, as an avid DIY-er, I guess I'm just thrilled by the customization available.  Now, I really should stop being so lazy and make myself some new clothes...     
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