When To Add (Or Remove) Light Fixtures In Your House

Technically, we’ve only lived in two houses that we’ve owned, but I feel like I’ve already had a lot of experience with this area of changing lighting in a home. For someone that’s newer to the renovation game, you may have walked into a house and not been super happy with the lighting setup but not really realized that it’s something you can totally change (and it shouldn’t be a whole giant ordeal like some renovation ideas can be). Our current house had quite a few lighting areas that we redid, so I’ll show you some of the main changes and why we made them and then I’ll show you our newest fixture location in our front room being planned and carried out as well …Remove lights that are unnecessary or an odd location: This light location seemed odd to me from the time we first entered the house. There was a long branch-like fixture with little spot lights on it, but there was nothing below it to light up other than a window ledge, so it just felt kind of useless. I could have tried to salvage the odd location with a new fixture in a style I liked better, but since I was pretty sure I never wanted to turn the light on at all, I just decided to have an electrician remove the light and smooth the ceiling like it was never there. Pretty inexpensive and quick to have done. Lights to remove in this category are ones that you look at and say, “Why is that there??”

Add lights that help define a space as separate: The opposite side of that long den room is a spot where we added a light! Over by the window I decided I wanted a little breakfast nook table and to make it feel like a separate “official” space I added this pendant globe light above it. It helps give light to the table since it’s a little far from the main light for the room (I have all overhead lights in the house on a dimmer so they are more of a soft glow as needed) and a light above the table signals that this is a separate area from the couch, and makes it feel more official than just a random table by a wall. I needed the help of an electrician on this one too as they had to add a connection for a light in that spot and tie it to a switch to make it functional (I used the old switch for that odd branch light by the window in the example above so that saved some money there!).

Change lights that aren’t flattering: If you feel like there are lights that aren’t flattering, you can switch the location! I know there are a million bathroom lights that are meant to go over the mirror (and cool looking ones at that), but it’s juuuuuuust not my favorite in a bathroom or anywhere there’s a mirror you’re looking in for a decent amount of time. No matter how pretty the fixture, I have never used a bathroom mirror with an overhead light and thought, “Wow, this lighting is really flattering!” Never. Anytime I’ve had that thought it’s always been with sconce lights where there are at least two lights on either side of the mirror near face height (or in some bathrooms that have more of the “ring light” type mirrors but that may be a little extreme for some tastes).

You can see we moved that location of lights with our electrician in our guest bath and it made a huge difference in there. That may be just a personal preference on the overhead vs. sconce debate, but that’s how I feel on that issue. Regardless of how you feel on that if there is a space where you feel like people look kind of ill when you look at them, think about where the lighting is and if it’s too harsh/bright or in a bad location. If it’s the location you can move the box to a different area to not be the only direct light source in the room. Or you can add a dimmer to not make the light so bright, change the warmth of your lightbulb color, or you can add some floor lamps or wall lights to help fill in the light and have it coming from other directions as well (or all of the above!).

Add lights when other lighting isn’t adequate and lamps are awkward: Speaking of adding more lights, the last tip is to add more lights when what you have isn’t quite cutting it and it still feels dim. I think most of us have been in houses or rooms where there’s one overhead light for the room, but it’s just not bright enough to where it feels a little dim and sad rather than dim and cozy. You can definitely fill in the lighting gap with some floor or table lamps (you can buy dimmer switch cords for lamps which I highly recommend) but also think about some wall mounted options. I added two of these DIY mid-century sconce lights on either side of our TV and they were perfect for filling in a light gap on that side of the room. There wasn’t really a space I could put a lamp that didn’t feel awkward or wouldn’t have a cord running across the floor. So the wall mounted lights were just what we needed and since they are plug-in lights I didn’t have to have an electrician install anything, so that made it a little more affordable too.OK, so for the present day example, you can see in this “before” photo of our front room that the dining table light is all the way on one side of the room and then there is just a long area with no light fixture at all. We have a couch, chair, and coffee table on the other side and it’s the main area where we sit and hang out for parties, but it’s just always felt too dark over there. Even with a lamp, I just don’t get the light coverage that I want in that 2/3 of the room and a light there will help designate that as a separate space as well. If this room was used for one purpose with one central action area (like a den that’s just for sitting or a dining room with only a table) and it needed two fixtures, I would probably center the fixtures evenly and use the same light for both spots like Elsie has in her den. But since the areas serve two different purposes and are decorated to be separate (our dining area has a painted wallpaper on that section), I chose this mid-century light as a complimentary cousin light of the chandelier in our dining room and I think they work really well together.

I had an electrician come out and add a light box for that area so we could install the fixture there and they put that light and the dining light in the same switch location so we could turn on and off the lights for the whole room in the same place. I also had them add separate dimmers for both lights so they can be controlled separately as well. I was laughing because when the workers were done, they said it looked so much better and it really balanced out the room to have the second light and I was like, “I know! I agree!”

See how pretty that looks? It absolutely does the duel purpose of adding light to that area of the room and defining the space as it’s own area—love it! I would definitely suggest having the same type and warmth of bulbs for fixtures in the same room. Otherwise, one can really stand out in a bad way if you have cool-toned LEDs in the one and warm incandescent bulbs in the other and they are on at the same time at night.

So now you know your lighting options when thinking about changing up the lighting in a home! It’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind when changing a space (or changing the functionality of a space you currently use) to know what’s possible and that it’s not a huge renovation project like some other home things can be. Hope these tips are helpful the next time you’re thinking about a lighting change! xo. Laura

Credits//Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Photography Tips from A Color Story

Did you know that A Color Story has a huge section of photography tips and tutorials on its website? It’s pretty rad, so I wanted to highlight a few for you here in case you hadn’t seen them yet. I don’t know about you, but this time of year I’ll take any extra creative inspiration I can get!

Love this post about great filters to use for food photography. I also just love looking at pretty food photos. Anyone else? 🙂

Here is a tutorial on how to get vibrant blue skies in your photos. Pretty!

Tips for taking photos in direct sunlight. Always such a challenge—love the perspective the author, Katie, shares.

Really love this post about being present while holding a camera. We want to MAKE memories in addition to capturing them with our cameras. Love it!

And if you’re a fan of our design app, A Design Kit, then you might like this tutorial for five ways to use the collage feature. Plus tips for creating clean designs and choosing a color palette.

For so many +packs of filters or effects we have tutorials on how to use them (often written by the creators of the pack) and so much more! And did you know that A Color Story has a marketplace of Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions created by some of our favorite photographers as well as the ACS team? You can also submit to sell your own presets/actions by emailing us at: hello@acolorstory.com.

If you’re looking to up your photo skills (from your smartphone OR a DSLR), check out our website as we’re always looking for ways to add more value. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

Episode #14: How To Prep Your Home To Sell For Top Dollar

Hello friends! As you know, we’re listing our home soon (we shared details of our upcoming move in Episode 12). We’ve been prepping our home to sell and I enlisted my realtor, Daniel, for his advice to how to best prep and stage a home to sell. We also try out three new segments at the end, so let us know which one is your favorite!

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

This week’s episode is sponsored by Agility by Therapedic. We are so excited to work with them after Emma switched to their mattress, sheets and pillows. You’ll hear a bit more in this week’s episode, but you’ll want to pay attention to the blog this week for a fun giveaway with them, too! In addition, Agility is continuing to offer our readers $200 off a mattress purchase with our code ‘ABM’ (can’t be combined with any other offers).

Show notes:
-Elsie and Emma’s Nashville realtor is Daniel Long. We love Daniel because he is super honest and not shy about making a low-ish offer, which was trickier to find in a realtor in this area!

If you’re in the Nashville area, you can find Daniel on Instagram or email him here … daniel AT jdlproperties DOT net

Daniel’s Tips: How to prep your home to sell for top dollar. 

1. Fresh paint.

Remove bold colors, freshen base boards and trim to make your home feel “new.”

2. Declutter + Staging.

Remove personal items (family photos, sports, political or religious items).

Remove oversized furniture. Leave minimal furniture.

3. Check major mechanics.

If you don’t know the condition of your roof, HVAC, or water heater, you need to find out before you list your home because people will want to know.

Tips for outside: New mulch in flower beds. Fresh paint on shutters, gutters, and trim. Paint the front door and mailbox a fun color. Buyer’s tend to name the houses they’ve seen to help them remember. “The yellow door house …”. You never want to be “the cat house …”

Common mistakes: 

1. One common mistake is thinking the buyer will want to choose their own finishes. Like carpet. Seller offering an allowance instead of replacing it. Even though the seller has offered a solution to the problem, it’s still a problem to have to overcome.

2. Prior to listing, remove any light fixtures, draperies, or anything attached to the house that you intend to take with you after you sell.

3. Don’t make major renovations without consulting a real estate professional. If you have a budget to make improvements before listing, your realtor may be able to point you toward the improvement that would add the most value to your home.

Here’s a pic of us with Daniel last September. Thank you, DANIEL!

Next, we chat about our pet peeves and preferences when viewing real estate including:

-staged vs. unstaged (and unfurnished) homes.
-low quality renovations that are brand new (aka waste).
-when the seller or the seller’s realtor stays for your tour.
-homes that are not clean when you view them (especially swimming pools and bathrooms!)

3 New segments—which one is your favorite??? 99 Problems, What Am I Even Looking At, or Sparks Joy?

Links: Good Girls TV show, Attack Of The Clones lol, and Glassy Baby glasses. This is the set I got. I also think it would be cool to do rainbow collection where each one is different. And here’s a link to our Habitat for Humanity project a few years back.

One of our big goals this season is to grow our podcast audience to a certain size, and we’re already getting close-ish, but we need your help! If you are enjoying the podcast, please share it with your friends on IG stories this week or text it to a friend you think would enjoy it. We are only interested in organic growth and the best possible way for that to happen is for you to share it with someone you think would be into it. Thank you so much!!! We have big plans for the podcast and the more we are able to build it into a biz, the more TIME we will be able to invest in it. Thank you so much for supporting us!!! We love you!

How To Have A Guest Room (When You Don’t Have A Guest Room)

If the title of this post is confusing, I’ll explain it now! We live in a moderately small ranch home (that Todd and I both work out of as well), so while it would be amazing to have a full dedicated guest room that was always set up to host guests, well, it’s just not really an option for us at the moment. That being said, we have found ways to have items on hand to comfortably host both our parents, family, and friends throughout the year in our front room area. So I thought I’d share my essentials list with you for others who want to be able to host guests whenever you’d like without giving up precious space throughout the rest of the year. I know the holiday season is especially big for hosting family, so here are my top tips for being a temporary hostess with the mostest!

Two words. Sleeper sofa: While you can totally go with a nice air mattress to house guests, that may be a little more doable for your single younger brother’s visit that for some of your, ahem, older guests who may not be as young to bounce back from a few nights of just OK sleep. A sleeper sofa in our front room has been a lifesaver for us for almost four years now and I’ll never do without one again (and getting this beautiful version in blush pink velvet has been a dream come true for me)! It’s a much better sleep situation than an air mattress (especially if you have one that has a memory foam mattress like ours, although you can put a memory foam topper on your sleeper mattress too) and speaking as a guest who has slept on both other people’s air mattresses and sleeper sofas, I’ll choose the sleeper sofa every time! There are also lots of different sizes and configurations of sleepers to fit your needs, but if you have room for a couch in your house, you have room for a sleeper sofa and an instantly comfortable guest bed on demand that doesn’t take up extra space when not in use by guests. I highly recommend them!

Blackout curtains: Unless your sleeping space is in a windowless basement, it’s good to think about how much light enters that room in the morning. This is something that realized we were missing lately when we were using our sleeper as our bed for a few weeks during a renovation, and the room was a lot brighter than I remembered at dawn. I went out and got some blackout curtains to make the room darker for sleeping (they are the same ones we use in our bedrooms as well) and it’s a big upgrade for getting good rest in that space.

Use side tables for temporary nightstands: This is another way to use items you already have for your temporary guest room. I always have a few things that I like to keep by my bed when I sleep (eye mask, clock, earplugs, chapstick), so we put side tables next to the bed to act as nightstands for guests so they can keep their essentials within reach too. Once the guests are gone, you can just move the side table back where it was before!

Consider a room divider (or another way to close off the space): When we decided to use a sleeper in our front room for guests, I knew I wanted to close off the space so people could have some privacy during their stay. We had one working “regular” door into the space and one sliding pocket door that wasn’t in great shape, so we had the pocket door repaired so we could close off both doors and keep the room separated when needed. Depending on your setup, you may be able to add a door to give some privacy, but at minimum even a curtain or a room divider can help separate the spaces a bit and make it seem less like they are sleeping in the middle of your living room (even if they are).

Have a table/desk cleared off to hold their personal items: When people come, they bring their stuff with them! Having a coffee table nearby or a desktop open to hold some of their items will give guests a place to put things like toiletry bags or purses. We move our coffee table near the foot of the bed to hold personal items, but you can also get a foldable luggage rack or two to hold suitcases up off the ground like in a hotel if you don’t have other items nearby—fancy!

Cozy extras go a long way! This category is optional but adding cozy items to the temporary bedroom will help it feel more welcoming for guests. I’ve used things like furry blankets on the bed, placed this super comfy soft chair nearby for lounging/reading, and added a super plush rug to the floor to make the space extra inviting. These are all items that I keep in that room anyways, even when it’s not a bedroom. But you can always bring things from other areas in your house to make your guest space the best it can be and then move them back to their normal location once the guests are gone.

There you go! You can see what our space looks like in and out of guest mode and I love that we can have people staying with us comfortably at the drop of a hat. Whether you are hosting over the busy holiday season or just a weekend visit with friends, these tips will help you transform your space into a guest paradise while still giving you all the room you need the rest of the time. For more hospitality tips, check out Elsie’s post on how to set up the ultimate guest room and I hope your next guests leave you a 5 star review! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

A Sober Month + What Happened When I Tried Keto

Sharing a random experiment I tried recently. I decided to take a month off of drinking (alcohol). My main reason was I was wanting to see if it would make any difference in my skin. I’m currently 33 years old and taking better care of my skin is always something I’m interested in learning more about/experimenting. Elsie had mentioned she’d gone two months without drinking and it made a big difference to her skin, and although I wasn’t ready to make that long of a commitment, I was interested in trying a month and seeing what I thought. I also don’t think it’s a bad idea to shake up habits now and again just to make sure you’re in control and also just to see what you think. Sometimes I think I can go on autopilot in certain areas of my life when really I could use a change. Also, I thought there was a decent chance I might lose a few pounds, which is never a bad thing for me as I love to eat (and drink), so I tend to gain a few pounds here and there.

After a week of not drinking alcohol, I was feeling good and decided I might try for a stretch goal. I had been interested in trying out Keto because I’d heard so many friends try and like it. You can drink alcohol while doing Keto, but it’s challenging as your body processes it in a similar way to sugar/carbs. So, I thought I was already probably doing one of the harder (for me) aspects of Keto, so why not just go for it? That’s when I decided to try it for the rest of the month while I was skipping alcohol.

What is Keto?

I am not really an expert, as I just admitted I’ve only done it for three weeks. So I’d recommend checking out some other sources (that are more knowledgeable than me), but here’s what little I know. It’s a macro-based diet that focuses on high fat and low carbs (moderate protein). Our diet is always made up of three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbs. These all provide calories and energy for our bodies to function/grow. Our diet is also made up of lots of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which are important for all sorts of functions. But those aren’t a big focus for Keto—it’s the macros that matter. Keto is actually a state that your body can be in, called ketosis. This is where your body switches from using carbs (sugar) as its main energy source and instead uses ketones, which are produced from fat. That’s why you eat high fat on Keto—it’s your energy source.

So from my own (again, not expert!) understanding of Keto, I saw two main things I felt I would probably struggle with. First, how would I know for sure if I was doing it right? Like, how can you know if you’re body is in ketosis? From my internet searching there were some signs you could look for, but it seemed pretty inconclusive. And I thought if I was going to try Keto I wanted to know I had done it correctly. That way if I didn’t like it I would know it wasn’t for me. So I decided to use Keto test strips and this took the guessing out, which I really liked.

The second thing I knew I would struggle with was counting macros. I hate having to count up and measure/weigh every little thing when I’m cooking. I don’t mind it once in a while (I often weigh things on my kitchen scale when I’m recipe testing), but doing it for every single little thing I knew would drive me nuts. So I decided on Sundays I would figure out my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and evening snack and then I’d just eat the exact same thing all week and start the process over again on Sunday. This is not for everyone, as it’s a super boring way to eat. But I knew I was only doing this for three weeks and I preferred this to having to count macros constantly. So, it’s what worked for me.

What did I eat/drink on Keto?

First off, I was already way into making mocktails since I was doing a sober month. So I just made sure they were low to no sugar (most already were anyway) and I kept that up. I also drank plenty of coffee, homemade lattes, and lots of tea. 🙂

I usually had one of two things for breakfast: Either eggs with veggie sausage and cheese, or a mix of cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and fresh fruit (usually blueberries). These are breakfasts I normally eat all the time anyway, so the only thing that changed was I was more careful of the amounts and also what kind/how much fruit I included since lots of fruits are pretty high in sugar.

For lunch most days, I would eat a huge, and I mean HUGE salad. We are talking lots of greens, other veggies like cucumber or red bell pepper, hard boiled eggs, nuts or seeds, cheese, always an avocado, and some kind of oil and vinegar dressing. I got waaaaaay into salad making during these three weeks and I LOVED it. I’m sort of embarrassed that I wasn’t already in the habit of making a big salad for lunch everyday (or most days), but I wasn’t.

Dinner was often something like stir-fry shrimp and broccoli (or some combo of a meat protein and vegetables like tuna salad on sliced cucumber) or a meat and cheese plate with a few grapes. 🙂 I must admit I did eat more meat than I normally do, but certainly not for every meal, as I am just not a big meat eater. I mostly eat seafood but I’ll sometimes eat other meat, especially if I’m eating out and can’t find a better option. The biggest difference for me was I consistently ate a lot more dairy than I normally do. I am not lactose-intolerant so this was fine, but just really different and felt sort of weird to me at first.

I almost always left space in my day to have a small evening snack, which was usually something like string cheese or these cheese crisps and a small amount of dark chocolate. My favorite chocolate is Askinosie, but in a pinch I’ll just eat some dark chocolate chips leftover from my last baking experiment. 🙂

Results? Did I like Keto/my sober month?

Short answer—yes! Loved it. So the biggest difference I noticed turned out not to be my skin but my SLEEP. I slept soooooooo much better this month. I suspect most of that has to do with drinking but I think Keto contributed as well since I was eating a lot less sugar/carbs. I never really thought I slept poorly before, but I was amazed how much better I slept this month overall. This was pretty enlightening to me.

Second thing, I lost weight. I didn’t drink for a full month (which it happened to be a 31-day month) and I did Keto for a full three weeks, and since I used test strips I can say I was indeed in ketosis for almost the entire three weeks (it took two days to get into it at the beginning). During that time I lost around 6-8 lbs. When I started the month, I weighed 139 lbs. and at the end I weighed 131 lbs. (just FYI, I am 5’4″). Certainly nothing crazy, but I’ve never lost weight that quickly before, so it was very different to me. I felt really good the whole time too, which was awesome. I didn’t get the “Keto Flu” and overall I really didn’t feel crazy hungry. I was a little bored of my meals by the end, but this was mostly my own fault.

I will for sure be doing Keto and a no-drinking month again. I really liked it! I’m planning to do it again around Jan. 10-Feb. 10 this year (I have a vacation just before, otherwise I’d start on Jan. 1, but I like to enjoy my vacations and not spend one second counting macros. ha)

Anything you didn’t like on Keto?

Personally, I don’t think it would be a sustainable way for me to eat for a long period of time. I think the most effective things we do in life are the things we can make long-term habits. Elsie talked about this a little bit in her post on how she changed her life and I think she’s absolutely right! I don’t think I could do the Keto diet all the time, forever. But I do love the idea of using it as a reset button from time to time. I also love that it got me more in the habit of eating really good for me, but also low carb meals (continuing my love affair with huge salads, scrambled eggs, and dark chocolate).

The second thing I don’t love about Keto, or any macro-based diet is the lack of emphasis on micronutrients and other things our body needs, like fiber. Technically, you can eat anything while on Keto, it just matters how much. So you could probably figure out a way to eat nothing but bacon, processed cheddar cheese, and Oreos (or likely just one or even half an Oreo, ha) and still get your body into ketosis. But, obviously, a long-term (or even short-term) diet of nothing but bacon, cheese, and Oreos would not be what I would consider a healthy diet. When we developed our cookbook years ago, I got to work with two super smart dietitians. They also spent a year after our cookbook came out contributing nutrition-based articles here on our blog. I learned SO much from them in that time.

But if I had to sum up what I believe about healthy eating, it would be this: Eat lots of vegetables, especially green ones and some fruit, and when you eat other foods try to find things with the least number of ingredients and all ingredients you can pronounce. Food is grown, not made in a lab. It doesn’t matter what the macros are, I think REAL food is what I want to aim to eat the majority of the time. I’m not above eating something for fun now and again, as I’m a human! But I just don’t want that to be the normal thing for me; I want it to be the exception or a once in a while treat. Green vegetables everyday, Oreos once in a while. That’s my motto. 🙂

This was a great experiment for me as I learned a lot. But I just want to throw it out there, since you are not me, that this may not be something you should try. First off, you may want to check with your doctor or a dietitian before trying any big diet change (especially if you have any major medical conditions, like diabetes). Also, if you now or in the past have struggled with disorder eating, I would talk to someone you are close to before trying Keto. It may not be a healthy experiment for you like it was for me. We are not all the same—do what is best for you. Much love, Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photo: Janae Hardy. Edited with A Color Story Desktop.

How to Care For Leather Shoes

Of all the items in my wardrobe, I think I care the most about my shoes! I’ve built up quite a collection over the years and I’ve had a lot of them for a very long time, and they are still going strong! The great thing about buying quality leather shoes is that, with proper care, they will last you decades. So it’s a good idea to educate yourself a bit on proper leather shoe care so you can enjoy your purchase season after season.

We are partnering with the Nashville-based Nisolo company for this post and we absolutely love their corporate policies and how they have shaped their business. Nisolo’s commitment to sustainable shoes and accessories that are intentionally designed and ethically made create beautiful pieces that will endure year after year with the proper care. They’re also offering ABM readers 20% off their purchase with the code ABM20, only excluding their Essentials Collections (which is already marked down to $150) and product cleaners. Here’s a few of the main things you can do to keep your leather shoes in shape!

1. Stock up on the right care products: The reason I say the “right” products is that not all products are for all leather. Shiny smooth leather usually needs different care than a suede or nubuck leather, so it’s good to know which products are for which. To clean and condition smooth leather, remove laces if there are any, and wipe down the leather first with a dry rag to remove dust. Buff a small amount of leather conditioner  into the leather and heel with either your fingers or a soft rag until there is no visible buildup left. For extra shine, use a shoe shine brush to buff the leather into a polish. You can also use a pigmented leather conditioner if you are starting to lose some color in areas of your shoes to bring them back to their full hue. For suede or nubuck leather, you’ll want a suede cleaner that you can apply with a nylon bristle brush over the entire shoe and let them dry overnight. Once dry, you can brush the nap (go towards the toe) with a shoe shine brush to restore the texture to its full glory. As an added layer of protection, you can also add a leather protector spray to help protect your leather from the elements. You can also watch a video on how to take care of leather here! (P.S. the Nutmeg color of these suede Heeled Chelsea Boots above is stunning!)

2. Treat wet shoes correctly: A lot of leather shoes are not meant to be directly exposed to wet conditions, so if your shoes do get soaked, gently towel dry the outside and place newspaper on the inside to help soak up excess moisture. Although it’s tempting, don’t take a hairdryer to the shoes to speed up the process! Speed drying the leather may damage its appearance, so let it dry slowly if at all possible. (How pretty is that Brandy color in the Chelsea boot?)

3. Consider shoes that are listed as waterproof or water resistant: Some leathers are already treated to be waterproof (or at least water resistant), so if you live in an area where your boots will get wet relatively often, it’s a good idea to start with a shoe that’s already designed to handle it like the Dari boot above from the Nisolo Commuter Collection (they look so cute with the Lori tote).

4. Store your shoes properly: To preserve their beauty, keep your smooth leather shoes stored out of direct sunlight and in a dust bag to protect them from dust and sunlight, while suede and nubuck leather are best kept out in open air (but also away from sunlight). You can also use cedar shoe trees, which help the shoes keep their shape, soak up moisture, and have antibacterial properties to help remove odor as well. The black Chelsea boots I have on are basically the perfect fall staple boot and, by the way, if you are shopping for a guy in your life, I love the Andre all-weather boot on Todd—definitely the best looking shoes he owns!!

5. Care enough to give your shoes a second life! Once you are done enjoying your leather shoes, you can pass them on to organizations like Soles4Souls, who work with micro-entrepreneurs to repair and resell the shoes in their communities. This not only helps provide jobs for people, diverts the shoes from ending up in landfills by repairing or reusing the materials, but you can also get a $30 credit for an individual purchase to Nisolo for every pair you donate —how cool!

I like to buy good staple pieces and have them around for a long time to come, so great leather shoes like all these Nisolo boots are a worthwhile investment if you ask me. Just a little bit of care can go a long way in keeping your leather in good shape, so let’s make those boots last! xo. Laura

Don’t forget Nisolo is offering a 20% off discount sitewide* with the code ABM20. Click here to shop!

*excludes the Essentials Collection (which is already marked down to $150) and product cleaners.

Credits//Author: Laura Gummerman. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.