Your Problems are Just Right the Bipolar Tango

Bipolar, crazy

Today I feel a bit like a helium balloon that is on the brink of being overfilled. I guess you could say it’s another manic Monday. Only it’s Friday, minor detail.

Does your mind ever race so fast that you feel like you can’t hold on tight enough and you may just go flying off into the abyss? This has been my entire week. Racing faster and faster, part of me never wants it to slow down. But as all good things, this too shall come to an end.

I read a great article last night, and by read I mean watched on Youtube. Who actually reads anymore?? And yes, I am aware of the irony here. Regardless, it’s totally worth a watch.

What is bipolar disorder? – Helen M. Farrell


You will be happy to know that I finally took the jump into counseling! And yes, the ultimatum my doc gave me was the main catalyst, however, I still feel a little celebration is in order. After 19 years of ignoring medical advice, a little confetti never hurt.  

How’s it going you ask? Wonderfully, thanks for asking! After the first session I didn’t run out screaming, hide under the desk, or pass out from anxiety! I’m even going back to see Kay this morning. I’m going to call her Kay, as to protect her identity and my little safe space.

She’s lovely! Last session she said she would like to work with me, and part of me was like, I didn’t realize there was a chance you could say no.

Like, “so I know you poured yourself all over my floor for the last hour, but I’m going to pass….” It felt a little like winning some kind  of twisted lottery. Or perhaps a little Goldie Locks-esk, this girl’s problems are just right.

Regardless, I’ve got myself a new counselor. ::Happy Dance::

So this week has been pretty freakin awesome. Luckily, my social anxiety disorder tends to balance out the super manic highs and keeps me from doing anything too reckless.

5 Tips for Dealing with your Insurance Company or Even Jedis have Desks


Read or Listen Along!


So this morning I finally made the second step in my mental health journey I am now calling the Jedi Mind Trip.

About 2 months ago, I began putting my mental health on the front burner instead of letting it turn to charcoal on the back one. I saw my first psychiatrist in over 15 years and began a new round of antipsychotics that have a variety of interesting side effects.

I was supposed to schedule a follow up right away and do my assigned homework of finding a counselor. Instead, I have been floating around in a happy bubble of I did it, pretending the hard part was over.

It’s not. And it may never be.

But that’s ok.

So after waiting far too long, I made the call to schedule a follow up with my primary care physician. More importantly, I reached out to my insurance company to find out what all this was going to cost me. Since the canning, we have needed to make a series of difficult cutbacks in order to afford things like the mortgage and coffee creamer. You know…the essentials. 

Back in 2012, I had finally qualified for insurance coverage and scheduled myself a standard physical. For the next two years, I spent almost 10 hours per week, every week, fighting with United Healthcare over a $2,000 bill on the blood work from that appointment.

Ultimately, the lab company ended up writing the whole thing off, but over the course of those two years, I learned one valuable lesson. MAKE SURE IT’S COVERED. Insurance companies do not have their shit together. You would think they do, but trust me, they don’t.

In the course of that adventure (or trip through hell, all Dante style as I like to think of it) I had my claim lost twice; re-billed, unbilled, and billed again; overcharged, undercharged, and coded to the wrong code multiple times; and passed along to no less than 50 people. No wonder people don’t go to the doctors.

I have an entire file 3 inches thick of correspondence I had sent and received along with copious notes from every exchange.

I am not going through that again.

Fortunately, my insurance not only covers the full amount of each session with only a $10 copay, they even give me 3 free visits.

You would think this is all good news right!? And you would be right, it is all grand. But for some reason when the super awesome lady on the other side of the phone called me a Jedi for using yoga and meditating to calm my anxiety, I totally lost my shit.

I have become an expert at having a silent shit-fit.

It’s super unattractive to watch, but if you can’t see me, you would have no idea it’s happening.

So while the amazing lady I am now going to call Obi Juanita basically set everything up for me without having to ask, I slowly made my way under my desk to have a little cry.

Next, I naturally texted the BFF to let her know what was going on in an effort to have some accountability for the situation.

She gave me 10 minutes to drag myself out and together Mo and I hashed it out amongst the dust bunnies and dog hair tumbleweeds.

Personal note, I really need to vacuum.

During my two year adventure through insurance hell, I definitely picked up a few tips and a whole lot of never do that again. In fact, I was able to put together a little tracking log that I hope will never come in handy again. Additionally, I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 tips for dealing with insurance companies.

Tips for dealing with your insurance company

5 Tips for Dealing with your Insurance Company

1. Document EVERYTHING

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but it is the central key to any successful insurance battle. You are going to want to know all the nitty-gritty details of every time you picked up the phone or sent a letter. You can use my easy tracking sheet to keep a consistent record of every contact! Keep these notes handy every time you have a conversation with anyone involved in the matter and be ready to recite them when the time comes. Trust me, it will!

2. Keep everything in WRITING

Calls to your insurance company and provider may seem like a quick solution, but those conversations are not recorded for your benefit! When you are dealing with your insurance company, keep as much of the correspondence in writing as you can. Most insurance companies do not use email. Send certified letters and keep a copy for your records. It may take longer to get your claim dealt with, but it will be worth it in the long run!

3. Know your RIGHTS

Insurance companies are big business! They are not out to keep your best interest in mind, so it is your responsibility to stay informed and educate yourself on your rights. Read your insurance policy inside and out, know what your coverages are and keep them handy. Depending on the complexity of your situation, you may want to enlist the help of a third party advocate! Patient Advocate services are out there to help you. Especially if your claim ends up going to arbitration.

4. Work with your PROVIDER

The politics of the health care industry are daunting. Sometimes the way your physician codes your claim will make all the difference between covered and not. Talk with your provider and their billing department first to see if there is anything they can do to help the situation. Most networks have a special billing and claims department that handles this. Be polite and ask for help. They are usually on your side! Also, know that most major insurance companies and medical networks have an agreement on what can be charged back to the patient. If your network is charging you for something that they shouldn’t be, they need to write it off!


Finally, this will take time! LOTS of time in most cases. Just keep your head up and your temper down. Getting angry will do no one any good. Most of the people you will talk to have no more power to fix the situation than your Aunt Sally. You need to work within the system and be professional. The better your relationship with all the players, the easier it will be. Speak up for yourself in a respectful manner.

Granted, I am no insurance expert, but if I ever needed to return to the eighth circle of hell again, I would want these in my back pocket.

In case you are wondering, the eighth circle is home to the fraudulent…I’m looking at your United Healthcare!

Giant mental health shaped rocks can be hard to get rolling, but it’s the effort you put into it that matters. Even a little forward movement is worth celebrating. And as Obi Juanita said, you are a Jedi.

“To be a Jedi is to face the truth and choose.” -Yoda


Download your own copy of my Insurance Tracking Log Here!

The Charred Baby Blues or How to Make a Salad

Food, Heavy Weight, Wedding

Read or Listen to me!


So I found my collarbones this morning.

I know that may not sound like a big deal, but trust me, it is.

I haven’t seen them in over 5 years.

Like I had mentioned, I am on this “wedding slim my shit down” mission. No one wants to be photographed in a white dress while wearing 50 extra pounds.

And since said dress just came in, it’s time to get it done. Alterations are one thing, double alterations are so not on the agenda, or in the budget.

This thought comes after looking for maternity bridesmaids dresses for one of my girls. In case you were curious, there are like zero cute maternity bridesmaid dresses out there.

What I did discover, though, is looking at maternity clothes causes me to fall deep into a baby fever which is neither productive nor practical at this moment. Damn you hormones!

Jake and I have talked about having kids exactly twice.

Over the last 5 years, he has made his point very clear that kids are not on the agenda.

That was until about a month ago when out of the blue he stated: “I think I’d like to have kids with you.” Kinda like he was stating that a nice light salad would be good for dinner.

Stunned, I quickly replied, oh yeah? To which he said, “yeah, you’re the only person I’d want to have kids with.”

I know most of you are saying, aw, how sweet! What I was thinking: 1. Who are you what did you do with my future husband? and 2.I should hope I’m the only person you want to have kids with, we are about to get married. If you want to have kids with the bitch down the street, we have bigger problems.

Please note,the lady down the street is lovely and not a bitch at all. However, I will cut you if you mess with my man, so yeah.   

Getting back to the collarbones, I have been eating a LOT of salad. Since we are on a super budget, I have been taking advantage of the .99 cent heads of iceberg lettuce at Safeway. I would have to say, at less than .25 a meal, it’s the best of both worlds. And, has led to the shedding of over 2lbs last week.

I am weird about lettuce. Like, it super creeps me out and I need to look it over with a fine tooth comb before I eat it. But for some reason, Iceberg is safe in my book. However, it’s not the most exciting of the greens.

So I decided to mix it up a bit and make a charred baby blue salad.

Basically, it’s a lazy ladies dream salad, as you don’t really cut it up. And it only takes 5 minutes.

Start with a whole head of iceberg. Note, you could use Romaine instead, but that isn’t on sale this week. What you are looking for is a nice tight head of lettuce, this will all make sense in a minute.

Charred Baby Blue Salad Ingredients

Once you remove the icky leaves and wash, you will want to leave the hard core at the bottom and cut the head into wedges. You can do this however you like but this is what I ended up with:




Then, and this is the magic, you are going to put the wedges on the grill or directly on your gas burner on high. Sorry, electric won’t work here, trust me.


I was freaking out at this point, certain that lettuce was flammable and I just didn’t know it. It’s not. And, it will be ok.

Leave the lettuce over the high heat until you see a nice char developing then turn.


Get all the cut sides of the lettuce nice and charred and remove it from the heat.

I put crumbled blue cheese and bacon on mine. We always have cooked bacon around the house so it makes it easy to crumble a few strips and sprinkle at will.


Top this with a blue cheese dressing and fuck yeah, charred baby blue salad!


You could also mix this up by adding strips of delicious flank steak, but that isn’t on sale this week. 


Print Recipe
Charred Baby Blues Salad
A fast and delicious warm salad that won't break the bank or your diet.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
  1. Remove all wilted leaves and wash your lettuce. 2. Cut lettuce into wedges, leaving the hard stem attached. 3. Place wedges directly on grill or gas burner. 4. Cook over high heat until fully charred. 5. Remove from the heat with tongs and plate. 6. Add cooked bacon, flank steak, or veggies of your choice. 7. Top with blue cheese crumbles and dressing.
Share this Recipe



Charred Baby Blues Salad

Print Recipe
Charred Baby Blues Salad
A fast and delicious warm salad that won't break the bank or your diet.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
  1. Remove all wilted leaves and wash your lettuce. 2. Cut lettuce into wedges, leaving the hard stem attached. 3. Place wedges directly on grill or gas burner. 4. Cook over high heat until fully charred. 5. Remove from the heat with tongs and plate. 6. Add cooked bacon, flank steak, or veggies of your choice. 7. Top with blue cheese crumbles and dressing.
Share this Recipe

Serial and Bass or Finding my Voice

Anxiety, Canned, Jibber-Jabber, Social, Uncategorized

Since the canning, I have been in pursuit of finding my voice.

Part of this voice hunt is related to this blog, while another part of it is a bit more personal and internal: Stop giving a fuck what other people think; Start saying what I think.  

It’s harder than you would assume.

Especially if you are not one of those natural-born self-esteem wizards. You know who you are…

Back in college, it was a requirement that you take a semester of speech class. I am not a public speaker. Let me make sure you heard me…I AM NOT A PUBLIC SPEAKER. Hell, I’m not even a one-on-one speaker most of the time. I have days that I don’t even talk to myself.

So taking a speech class was basically sentencing me to the firing squad.

In an effort to avoid the public humiliation that was destined to be this requirement, I signed up for Oral Interpretation of Literature,

It met all the requirements for the credit, however,and more importantly, it met the requirements for my anxiety.

  1. Only one night a week instead of 2? Check!
  2. The class size was closer to 10 than 100? Check!
  3. Did not involve speaking in front of the class? Well, two outta three ain’t bad.

Luckily, the class mostly involved us listening to our professor read literature aloud.

I love to be read to.

Not so luckily, the class also involved one student per week performing a piece of literature of their choosing.

My last name starts with H. So that usually lands me smack dab in the middle no matter how you slice the alphabetical order. Of course, the timing is not the issue here. It’s the standing in front of people and performing that makes my legs go numb.

I decided it would be best to have a conversation with my professor. Explain to him the issue. Maybe I could write a 1200 page essay on sticking needles in my eyes instead?

No dice. A requirement is a requirement.

What I did get, was hours of after class and office hour tutoring. And on the day of my speech, I stood before the class and read some poem I don’t remember. Stuttered over every other word, felt my face turn hot bright red, and hammered my fist so loudly on the desk I think it’s still echoing off somewhere in the distance.

I didn’t mean to hit it that hard. I had practiced it over and over. It was meant to emphasize the turning point in the story. Not register as a 4.5 on the Richter scale. But my body has it’s own ideas when my mind enters the void tunnel of public speaking.

But I survived.

And with all this voice meditating, I’ve decided that what better way is there to be understood than to read the posts to you.

Think of it as a little unhinged adult story time. Like the olden days where families gathered around the radio to listen to the serials. Only people, please don’t play me for your children. I do far too much swearing and I’m sure they would prefer Lucky Charms and cartoons.

You’ll have to bare with me. I have no idea what I am doing. Nor do I like the sound of my voice at all.

I told my BFF this earlier and she said it is because of the shape of my head. Not my head particularly, all heads. I mean she wasn’t being snarky or anything.

She said it has something to do with the bass. Then I started singing All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor in my head and I stopped listening. Again, nothing personal, it’s just that song is damn catchy. See? You’re singing it right now, aren’t you?


Happy Anniversary Hilda


I <3 an anniversary. Facebook lovingly reminded me this morning that three years ago today, I woke Jake up at 7am on a Saturday rambling about this puppy I found on the humane society’s website. Reluctantly, he got out of bed and went with me to stand in line (question: if you are the only people there, does that still count as a line?) for three hours to see Hilda.

Though I may have been a little overzealous in my estimation of how early we needed to be there, I stand by my decision. Meadow, formerly known as Hilda, (she doesn’t know she’s adopted, so keep that between us) has been the glue keeping my sanity together for the last three years.

Over the years, I have written and performed (within the comforts of my home) countless songs featuring her multitude of names. Her full name as listed on her Barkbox is Meadow Lark Lemon Harder-Hayes. She also goes by Meadow, Mo, Mo-Mo, Mosha, Mosharelle, Shmoo, Shmogg, Shmooby, Dooba, Fuzzy Butt, and Gooba Face. Though I believe she thinks her name is Snackums, as that is the only thing she responds to on a regular basis.

Since the canning, Mo has been my constant sidekick while I put the pieces of my world in order. She doesn’t judge my wild ideas or my unsuccessful attempts at tree pose. When I’m having a bad day, she always knows that I just need a little dog snuggle and is more than happy to oblige. Whether it’s on the couch or under my desk.

I honestly don’t know what Jake and I did before Mo. Do you ever look back on your life and say, What the hell did we talk about or do back then? I’m sure this rings true for everyone in the baby club.

I guess I just feel lucky to have such a furry beast in my life. Happy Anniversary Meadow.


Hello 2am or Surviving Insomnia Anxiety


I have never slept well. As a kid, I had severe sleep issues. Sleepwalking, nightmares, insomnia…as an adult I have outgrown most of these. Except for insomnia anxiety and an occasional sleep stroll.

Ever since the canning, I have been awake at fuck o’clock in the morning more often than not. If you’re wondering when fuck o’clock is specifically, it’s smack dab between 2am and 5am. Anything before is not really morning in my book, and anything after constitutes a reasonable hour.

Having lived with insomnia my whole life, I’ve developed a sleep strategy that helps to regulate my sleep cycle and limit the amount of anxiety involved. Not to say it always works 100%, but having a game plan is half the battle! My strategy involved two types of melatonin, a hot cup of tea, and an air purifier that doubles as a white noise machine. Added all up, I can usually get a solid 4-8 hours in every night.

If you are wondering which products I use, here are some I highly recommend: Amazon Affiliate Links, Click to Purchase!

Sleepytime Tea
Honeywell Air Purifier
Sugar-Free Gummies
Melatonin + L-theanine


As I sit here, my computer is telling me it’s 2:42am. I have been awake for roughly 40 minutes. I have no valid reason for being awake. Fortunately, I don’t have anywhere to be once the rest of the world rises from the dead. So I figured I might as well work in the quiet of the night.

I recently started the process of addressing my mental illness again. Last week I took the first steps and saw a psychiatrist for the first time in almost 15 years. Getting to this point was its own circus, but I feel it was worth the effort. If you want all the deets, may I suggest you start here

It’s not that I have been ignoring or neglecting my mental health, I have just been under-billing it for a while. When things are good, it’s hard to see the point of dwelling on the bad, and when things are bad, it’s almost impossible to find the energy. It’s a cycle. And when you are keeping your head above water, working 60+ hours a week, and trying to build a life, it’s easy to put that shit on the back burner.

So last week I sat in the corner of a small transient office space explaining to my new doc that I need to get my shit together. Because frankly, I can’t live this way anymore. It’s time to take my life back. I have an agenda and hiding under my desk and making a blanket fortress in the afternoon to hide in are not on it. Ok so maybe the blanket fortress can stay on the agenda. Who doesn’t love a good fort?

He was a lovely man. Probably not much older than I am. Then again, I am horrible with ages, so who knows for sure. He seemed somewhat inexperienced but eager to help. And hell, we can all learn together, right? Normally I would put my stoic mask on and underplay the issues (as to not appear crazy), but that would defeat the purpose of sitting in this room at 7am. Instead, I held on to the chair arms for dear life and spilled my crazy all over his floor.

It went well, all in all. Only a few tears and I didn’t throw up on myself, pass out, or run screaming from the office. Though I did leave drenched in a cold sweat I had no idea was happening until I got up and was stuck to the chair. Mental note to myself, don’t wear shorts and a sweater next time.

So we’ve adjusted my current meds and added a new one to the mix. More importantly, we got the ball rolling on what has needed to be addressed for a very long time. Oh and the sleep issue? According to him, it’s insomnia, just a weird wacky Wednesday version where I am awake early instead of the classic trouble falling asleep. I can’t help but think how much easier my teenage years would have been with this version instead.

Now it’s 3:23am. Still fuck o’clock and I’m on my second cup of tea. I do love the stillness of the night. Even Mo is asleep on the floor. When I first woke up this morning, I decided to employ the sex strategy.

You may know this one. It’s where you decide that since you can’t sleep, neither should your partner. But you feel bad just waking them up and you know that wouldn’t go over well anyway so you opt for the sex angle. Jake has never balked at this strategy, however, once employed, results in him fast asleep and me sitting on the couch talking to you. I still count it as a win. Especially when I convince him to enjoy some chocolate cake after! 

Since this insomnia 2.0 seems to be here to stay, I felt the need to put a How to Survive Insomnia Anxiety roadmap together to keep myself from panicking in the wee hours of the morning when the monster shows up.

I don’t know if you have ever experienced the 3am insomnia anxiety monster, but we were bestie all through my formidable years. This monster starts rolling around in your head making you panic over the sleep you are not getting.

Keep in mind, this is what works for me, but everyone is different. The most important thing to know is, it will take time! Most of the time, mental health is a trial and error endeavor. Don’t give up, it will get better.

I also think it is important to point out that before the late 17th century, it was common practice to have a “first” and “second” sleep. People would often wake after 4 hours, chat, eat, or have sex, and return to bed for the final 4 hours of the night.

Some of us are still wired this way, so don’t stress out if you find yourself up in the wee hours. Embrace it! Have some cake and eat it too. If you want more information on bi-modal sleep patterns and how we got to an 8-hour sleep cycle, check out this article from the BBC The myth of the eight-hour sleep

How to Survive Insomnia Anxiety
Surviving Insomnia Anxiety Infographic

You can totally download this infographic bellow! Just click the button twice and enter your details. Your download will be available in the “products” box on the next page!


Jurassic Birthday

DIY, Free

So Jake’s birthday is on Friday.

Usually, we would be taking a week off and rushing off to some lovely spot to spend a few days celebrating.

Since the canning and the engagement, we have had to forgo any luxuries such as vacations. Most of our “extra” income is going towards the wedding and I am not about to trade in my big day for a week on a cold Washington beach. Sorry Jake.

This morning while doing my usual roll out of bed and check Facebook for what I missed while sleeping routine, I came across this little gem. Can you believe someone would give this sucker away?  


In addition to my shoe addiction, I may have a small baking equipment problem. I love cooking and baking stuff. However, being on a practically carb free diet does not lend itself well to making a three layer dinosaur cake.

Though, Frank here (yes I named him already) would go really nicely with my palm tree cake pan collecting dust in the cupboard. It would be a whole Jurassic cake theme! I would only be missing the giant comet-shaped cake pan that put an end to the party.

Who can eat all that cake, though? Maybe I’ll make a pie instead. Did I mention, yesterday I picked up 25 lbs of free apples? 

apples 1

Yeah…this is happening.


Sometimes 4 inches is too much or Feeding my Addiction

DIY, Fashion, Photography, Wedding

I recently had my BFF and soon to be Matron of Honor pop in for a drive-by visit. We have known each other since college, and share a number of stories that are both unbelievable and totally true.

While she was visiting, I decided to bounce some wedding ideas off of her. I’ve been bouncing ideas off the dog for the last couple months but haven’t been pleased with the response. So I figured this was my chance to put some things into perspective.

I love shoes.

Like, REALLY REALLY love shoes.  I have a whole closet full of pretty 4” heels, wooden wedges, and sparkly flats that I have literally never worn. Thankfully, Jake at least pretends to understand and support my addiction and has helped build me this fantastic (and thrifty!) closet system.  

We used that previously useless area at the end of the closet. You know the space, it’s where the dog hair tumbleweeds hang out in the spiderwebs.

Shoe Closet Organizer (c) 2016

Anytime I find myself in a position that requires a new outfit, the only redeeming part of the shopping experience for me are the shoes.

Being a tall girl (almost 5’10”) putting on 4” heels moves me from the “tall” category right into the “jolly green giant” category. So I never wear them…too self-conscience to tower over those I would encounter.

This does not stop me from scouring the discount racks of DSW for any pretty set of heels that need a good home every time I have a coupon.

Most recently, I have been doing my shoe shopping online. Better selection, more sizes, and most importantly I don’t have to leave the house. So this last weekend when I asked the BFF what she thought of the three shoes I had picked out, her poignant question to me was “don’t you want to try them on?”.

I think she could see that there was no major love affair going on with any of the styles, and as a married woman herself knew that standing and dancing in heels all evening requires at least a quasi-comfortable pair.

Discount coupons combined with the bride gene make you do crazy things.

If you don’t already enjoy DSW, you should. It’s a discount shoe warehouse. Literally. That’s what it stands for. Not only do they have way more shoes than you could ever try on, they have well-stocked racks of extra discounted items at the back. You also get points. Much like the grocery card that you get gas points on, only this is a card that gives you $10 towards your next purchase. They also send you other coupon goodies sporadically including cute free handbags. (No, I’m not getting paid to say this, I just really love DSW and think everyone should share my joy).

Occasionally, the stars a line, and you find yourself with a $10 coupon and a $5 bonus. I like to think of this as shoe Christmas, or maybe Shoemas, Hanukshoe? Anyway, it’s pretty freakin awesome.

Since we are on such a tight budget, this was my golden opportunity to get my wedding shoes without selling a kidney. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but weddings are fucking expensive! Ok, so I know I have totally mentioned it before, but it’s worth reiterating.  

So I convinced the future hubs to take a trip to our closest DSW so I could take advantage of the $15 savings set to expire at the end of the week.

Approximately 10 pairs later, I fell in love with a sparkly open toe with a 4” heel. Fuck it, it’s my wedding! I’m going to be floating on air all day anyway, might as well add 4 inches right? #bridegene #myfeetwillhatemeforthis

Here is the exciting part, they were 78% off! No black market organ harvesting required. Plus, since I paid less than $20 for them, I can find myself a cozy sensible pair to slip on under the table when my common sense kicks in.

Also, if anyone can recommend a pair of sensible, post-ceremony but still a little sparkly, flats, I would be extra grateful!

Oh, and if you want to learn how we made that fantastic closet Shoetopia, here’s the DIY!


What you will need:


For this project, I used my most favorite tool, my Ryobi AirStrike Brad Nailer. This thing is awesome. Has lots of power, and is cordless. You can pick one up at Amazon without a charger and battery for a good price. It’s nice if you have Ryobi tools already, who needs 100 chargers…  They also sell the battery and charger too, if you do not already have Ryobi tools.

You could probably use brad nails and a hammer too if you aren’t ready for such an awesome tool. (PS, you’re totally ready).

I used some random leftover moulding we had floating around the barn. Basically, it’s a piece of base moulding of your choice. I like the decorative edge, I feel like it adds some flavour. For the cleat (the little one that attaches to the wall) I used a “rake”. Don’t stress too much about the names of these, I highly suggest paying more attention to the shape.

So you will notice that they both have a side that angles down. This is going to give you the proper angle when you mount it to the wall. Otherwise, size and decoration level are totally up to you. I give you full permission to walk around the moulding section of your local HomeDepot or Lowe’s and let your imagination run wild. I bet a bit of crown would even work really well. Do me a favor? If you end up doing this with crown, let me know how it turns out! 🙂

So with my moulding, I used a 2″ brad nail. This more than worked and should be fine for most sizes. If you end up with a really really big moulding, you may need to go a little longer.

How you do it:

  1. Start by deciding how many heel racks you want! We did ours 12″ apart. Depending on your shoe size, you may be able to get more or less on your wall. Also, we did three flat shelves on the bottom for my wedges. Note, I also allowed a few pair of his… Ultimately we ended up with four racks and three shelves.
  2. Now measure your closet floor to ceiling and do the math. Make sure you leave enough room between shelves if you add them to accommodate
    the height of your heels.
  3.  Next, measure the width of your closet area you plan to install your new shoe extravaganza! You want your cleat (the small ones) to be about half as long as the width.
  4. Cut your cleat pieces. This doesn’t have to be exact, just don’t make them really short.
  5. Next, you are going to attach them to the wall spaced accordingly. Place the cleat angled edge down at the height you want your rack. Using your AirStrike or a hammer, drive the brad nails into the cleat making sure it is secure on the wall.
  6. Once you have all your cleats up, you want to measure the length of each rack.  Make sure to measure each one individually because the width of your closet can vary from top to bottom.
  7. Cut each piece of base moulding to the proper length. I did this “one at a time” instead of cutting them all at once. That way I didn’t get confused on which one went where!
  8. To install, you are going to lay the base moulding over the cleat so the bottom edge rests on the curve of the cleat. All in all, it was somewhere around a 45° angle from the wall. Hold the piece firmly and drive a brad into the middle. This will secure it to the wall so you can then check that it is level. Once you have it level, drive a brad about every 6 inches or so.
  9. I did a little wiggle test once it was up to make sure it wouldn’t come crashing down.
  10. Lastly, we installed a few shelves at the bottom for shoes that weren’t able to hang. We just cut a couple pieces of square moulding to the depth of the shelve and nailed it 12 inches apart on the side walls.

The shelves were measured to the depth and width of each spot and cut. When installed we laid them in without securing (we needed easy access to the crawl space location so we wanted them removable). Give it a good wipe down when you’re done to remove any sawdust or dirt.

Once you get it all put up, the fun part is putting the shoes in place! You can either stick the heel into the rack or balance them across the gap. Some heels lend themselves to one way or another better than others 🙂


Hope you enjoy! Post a picture of your Shoetopia! I’d love to see.




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