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Reader Q+A, Take 1: Personally Speaking…

Last week, we held our very first, very official reader survey to celebrate our 4 year blogging birthday – has it really been that long? – and we learned so much about you all! Between the fellow Pittie lovers, artists and bicycle enthusiasts, you have some really quirky quirks. And we love it. We share your wanderlust, obsessive tendencies and addiction to flea markets (it’s more like a pure, animal magnetism, wouldn’t you say?) – to name only a few commonalities. You and us; we get each other.

We also opened the floor to ask us anything, and you guys! You went all out! We sifted through the questions, rounded them up, and we’ve split them into a 2 part Q+A, starting right this second.

I’m curious about your creative roots. Did you grow up doing art and/or encouraged to be handy?

KIM: Absolutely, 100% yes, I grew up creating some kind of art – any kind. I colored, I painted, I made construction paper mock-ups of play hats, doll clothes and handmade cards for every single occasion. When it was time to graduate from high school, there was no doubt in my mind or my parents’ minds that I would go to art school. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from The University of Cincinnati, and I realized only later how lucky I was to have parents that thought, naturally, our daughter will go to art school! (And if they were uncertain of my future for a single second, they never showed it. Thank you, Mom and Dad!) To this day, they’re still two of the strongest supporters in my life for the unconventional path I’ve chosen. (Firmly tied for first with this guy at my side.) Below, a drawing to the greatest people I’ve ever known.

SCOTT: On the handy side of things, my Pops had a hammer in my hand as soon as he thought it was safe (probably much earlier than the Department of Child Services would’ve liked!), and paid me a nickel per nail for every deck I helped him build. I like to think that Kim fell for me (hard!) when she saw my dad’s garage full of power tools. We spent countless whole weekends building light boxes, frames and anything else she dreamed up for her thesis projects.

What is Scott’s day job? Did Kim have a day job before she opened The Pet Shop (what did she do)?

S: Simply put, I work as a sales rep for an industrial uniform rental company. It’s far from sexy, I often come home dirty (wait, that sounds funny), but I love what I do. It’s been nine great years – my first “real” job out of college, and still is – with no plans for a change of venue.

K: How far back do you want to go? Here’s the thing; I’ve always thought that if you’re not really happy (like, truly content) in your situation, do something to change it. As a result, I’ve held various jobs (several of them for years at a time, mind you), until I broke all ties to be my own boss – and I’m the hardest boss I’ve ever had! From a photography assistant to office do-all to gallery manager, I’ve dabbled in many, many things. Some have been more creative than others, some have been placeholders, and others I look back on and can’t believe I lasted as long as I did.

Where does your inspiration come from? Or are you two lucky enough to have those aha! moments?

K: I’ve really been trying to only pin images and links that I find truly helpful. For a source such as a Pinterest, it’s easy to “lose” your pins and fall down the never-ending rabbit hole, only to realize you’ve forgotten why you’ve logged on in the first place! Scott is purely a visual person, so I’ll pull up my favorite pins with ideas, he’ll chime in, and we’ll branch off from there.

S: Cop out answer: Everywhere. Alleys, auto shops, store displays and the backrooms of America I see during my day job. My average day takes me from a ranch dressing factory to a machine shop to restaurants; I compare my job to living inside an episode of How It’s Made. Have you seen it?

K: And this is why we have conduit pipes for a curtain rod and an old tool box as a bar.

How did you and Scott meet?

K: There are two sides to that story.

S: Let’s not stir that pot again. You can see the whole back story right here.

How did Jack, Maddie and Libby come into your lives? Adoption stories, please!

S: When I first started with my company, one of my customers was a rural veterinarian’s office. Knowing that I had just purchased my first home in Cincinnati, the staff pushed jokingly for me to adopt every stray animal that walked through their door. One day they asked, do you want to meet the world’s greatest cat? They ushered me into her allergen-free private room (yes, this girl had a room all to herself!), and out screeched Libby – the world’s greatest tail-less cat. She hopped into my arms – really, hopped – and I brought her home that week.

Then there’s Jack. My best buddy! Never having owned a dog, I spent years convincing Kim that our home wasn’t really complete without one. As a joke, you might remember, she made me this painting (which in turn spawned The Pet Shop, funny how things work out!). While it was thoughtful, I refused to give up. I leaned on her. I would not relent.

She gave in.

One visit to the shelter later, we came home with a new family member. After meeting and playing with several fluffy candidates – all of whom were very nonplussed with our company – we gave in to the ribbiest, saddest, red-eyed pup in the slammer. He had no interest in playing with toys. He could care less about the grass and fresh air. Instead, he licked my face raw, and refused to leave my lap. This was our boy.

K: Miss Maddie is – and always will be – my baby. Scott jokes that you can’t get too close unless your name is Kim, otherwise, her daggers will come out. I wish this wasn’t the case, but it is. (That trickster!) But, you see, I adopted Maddie from the animal shelter when I was in college; she was damn near death, I nursed that girl back to health, and she’s been sporting sass ever since – to everyone but her momma. Cats were an absolute no-no in my college apartment rental, but I pleaded with the landlord with big promises – I’ll clean the building hallway! I said. I’ll pull all the garbage to the curb, every week! I stayed true to my word, and I got my cat.

How did you know if Jack would get along with your cats? Did you choose a specific breed when deciding on a dog?

S: Knowing Maddie and Libby both have all 20 claws, we weren’t concerned as much with Jack getting along with them, more so, our concern was towards the girls playing nice with a new brother. We went into the adoption process with no breed in mind, only a few small rules: 1) female, 2) 50 lbs or less and 3) short-haired. We succeeded with 1 of the 3, but even with short hair, our 65 lb, male dog still sheds like a mother. Fail.

In summary, we had no idea if Jack would get along with the girls. We fell in love with a dog, who fell in love with us, and we knew we could find a way to make it work.

Will you adopt more pets once you move into the new house? How do you manage to only have 3 pets?

K: First, I love that this question asks how we only have 3 pets, whereas most people would ask how we manage 3 pets at all! In any case, we talk – a lot – about fostering bully breeds once we’re settled in the new home. This is a long term goal, as there’ll be a fair amount of construction going on at first (and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the scope of most projects). I have a feeling, though, that we won’t be a one pup household for too much longer. And Scott? I’m pretty sure he agrees.

S: Agreed.

What was the trigger that caused you both to start blogging in the first place?

K: Our friend, Renee, would come to our home and spend the first 5 minutes searching for the newest thing we’ve tweaked, changed or overhauled. One day, she said, You should start a blog!

S: Challenge accepted. (Thanks, R!)

Do you ever meet your fellow bloggers in real life?

K: Yes! We’ve not only met these like-minded people in person, but we’re lucky enough to call so many of them our friends. What starts as a simple email exchange – usually to bounce an idea off of each other – soon turns into real life meetings over dinners, drinks and weekend dates. (Remember when Scott officiated the wedding of these two? Yeah, blog friends.)

S: The same goes for non-bloggers, too. Some of our closest friends have reached out to us – whether it be for a pet portrait or home advice – and we’ve hit it off with ease.

K: It’s still amazing to think about the friendships we’ve forged simply by starting this blog, writing about our home. The blogging community – fellow laptop clutchers and readers alike! – has an infectious energy, and if we take a step back to think about it (just for a moment!), it blows my mind. We still say, isn’t this whole thing just so bizarre?

If money were no object and you could take a road trip throughout the US, where would you go? (You have to visit at least 4 states!)

S: Route 66, in an RV, with Jack, bicycles and adventure gear in tow.

K: With plenty of detours!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

K: Is it too late to want to be a hockey coach? No? Well then I’ve always wanted to teach a team of pee wee players as a legit, full time job. I’m sure this isn’t a real thing (those are dads on the bench!), but have you ever seen how cute they are under all that protection? Love this question, by the way.

S: Owner of a bicycle shop / record store / craft beer bar. I’m of the mindset that people who appreciate nice bikes, good music and tasty beer are pretty alright.

K: I’m on board with Scott’s idea, too.

Kim, where do you buy your jeans?!

K: Ah, the million dollar question! Oddly enough (or maybe not so much so?), my favorite jeans hail from The Gap Outlet. We have a Gap Outlet near our home, and their Premium Skinny brand are not only the perfect amount of stretch, but they keep their shape (and I can only find those suckers at the outlet – the jeans in their original stores are a no-go for me). I wouldn’t say that my quest for the perfect brand is complete, so, who wants to chime in?

Do you have any baby plans? (Wink, wink.)

S: Oh, you mean baby puppies?

K: And kitties? We’ve gone over this, no? Who wouldn’t love a little more fluff in their home? (Nudge, nudge.)

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with your all-things-home-and-Chicago-esque questions, so stay tuned!

Photo of Jack kisses via and map of Route 66 via.

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  • Sarge in Charge6.19.13 - 8:33 AM

    RE: the jeans quest, I am forever singing the praises of the Madewell Skinny Skinny jeans. They do not stretch out, they last forever, they come in two lengths, and the fit is amazing. Done.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.19.13 - 8:47 AM

      Sarge, thank you for that tip! The stretching out is the deal breaker for me.ReplyCancel

  • Love the roadtrip plan! If you ever embark on that, please stop and see us in St Louis. At your new place, will you guys have space for an RV? Would you ever consider getting one? Our trailer has been wrapped in front of the firehouse since February. Aaron thought he would have time to work on it this summer, but he’s still knees deep in the studio build out. :(ReplyCancel

  • Amy6.19.13 - 11:26 AM

    Of course I was writing to let you know that I’d gladly show you around STL… and then I saw Heather’s note… and she bought the firehouse that a friend and I were coveting! I love how the small world of STL extends into the interwebs!ReplyCancel

  • Kim6.19.13 - 12:25 PM

    Heather, I don’t know if we’ll have room for an RV, but that would just be the icing on the cake for the trip – otherwise, perhaps something a little more gas efficient? :)

    Amy, small world! I’ve only been to STL once for a Blues game, so it’d be great to make that pit stop again!ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode6.19.13 - 4:44 PM

    Loved this! Can’t wait to see the next part of the Q&A!!!ReplyCancel

  • Trish6.20.13 - 11:33 AM

    If you do that road trip, be sure to stop at Best Friends Animal Society’s beautiful Sanctuary for a tour. I am fortunate enough to work for them (remotely from Chicago), but it is the most wonderful place on earth for any animal lover. You can even volunteer with any animals of your choosing for a half day, whole day, whole week! It is awesome!

  • Kim6.20.13 - 12:33 PM

    Trish, we know of Best Friends! Our great friend works for them as well (remotely from Portland). We were planning on going this year, but the new house put a stop on all of our plans – for now. So awesome that you work there! We will definitely be going there at some point.ReplyCancel

  • stephanie @BabaSouk6.22.13 - 9:17 AM

    So fun to read about you guys! You are hilarious. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Jenna6.22.13 - 8:49 PM

    Ha Ha. Oh please tell me your work for Cintas? My husband is also a rep for an “industrial uniform rental company” in Newmarket Canada. I showed him your description of an episode of “How its Made” and he fully agreed.ReplyCancel

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