Kat Finley

What brought you to Chicago?

My (now) husband. He lived here, I lived in California. It made the most sense to move to the cold, right? ;)

What do you find challenging about living here?

I often find myself dreaming of a house with a big yard with a view. Not necessarily more space, because I’m fine with the amount of space that we have. I prefer it, actually. But I dream of a wooded yard or mountains in my view. Especially now that we are expecting a little one, I’m having a hard time envisioning the logistics of it all.

What are some of the reasons you love it?

Somehow, in the midst of a bustling city there is a form of  simplicity to it. You almost have to live simply in order to stay sane and make the most of it, and I love that. I also love the food, the lake, the excitement of it all. And how wonderfully small it is, despite the millions of people here.

Why do you stay?

We stay because we love our jobs, and our people. We’re happy here. We’ve found a way to make it work in the city when it seems crazy to our friends from home or our coworkers in the suburbs. Like I said, I love the fact that you are forced to live simply and to eliminate the clutter in order to stay. I like that it keeps me on my toes, and doesn’t allow me store up on the unnecessary things in life that clutter my mind and my space.

How has community affected your time here?

Community is everything.

Right before we found out we were expecting our first child we were thinking very heavily about moving to Phoenix. We’re talking house hunting, applying for jobs, and even interviewing. But after we found out we were pregnant, I got this strong sense that I needed to stay. I couldn’t imagine going through my first pregnancy or bringing our first child into this world without the support of my people around. Some of the people here have become our family. They’ve grown with us and helped us get to where we are. I couldn’t imagine embarking on this journey without them. So we stayed.

Can you speak into the creativity found in the Chicago community (specifically in the circle of people you spend time with)? How does it inspire you?

I’ve always considered myself a creative person, despite my line of work. (Which does allow me to be creative in a different, non-aesthetic kind of way.) I’m inspired by the creative works and the landscape around me, and I think I’ve carried some of my inspirations from out west back with me. I’m inspired by minimal spaces and desert landscapes, as well as vintage pieces. The community we’ve become close to shares some of these same inspirations, and I believe that is not by coincidence. They are also creatives: photographers, designers, artists, etc. They inspire me to try new things- like take pictures of the unobvious or try my hand at calligraphy (Thanks to the husband for a calligraphy class as an anniversary present). They’ve also helped teach me things, and encourage me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things, even if I’m not the best of the best. The comparison game can be ever-so present, and it’s the devil’s game. If we don’t compare ourselves to others, than we can view our creative pieces as masterpieces, which will instill confidence and inspire us to create more.

When do you feel most empowered and comfortable in your own skin?

This is hard to answer. I think am most comfortable when I am around those close to me, and not those that I don’t know well or who intimidate me, even if I admire them. I feel empowered when we are venturing out to try something new, or working on a creative project. If you know me, then you know I am always working on a “project.” Except right now. Right now, I’ve recently finished many projects and am working on finishing making this baby and bring it into this world! Who knows, that might be our most creative project yet! (Thanks, God!) ;)

I think another part of feeling empowered is staying the in the word. When I get far from that, I feel the self-doubt & dark(ish) thoughts creep in, & that’s when we crumble or feel small and intimidated.

Has living in the city affected your style and the way you approach your day-to-day look? If so, how?

There’s so many options here. I’ve always enjoyed feeling put together, if not for my guy, than for my girls, and if not for them, then for me. But I also felt I needed to jump on all the latest trends. I impulsively bought cheap pieces to get what I wanted, fast. I always felt everyone dressed the same, for the most part. I had been living out west (Arizona and California) for the past 8 years before I moved here, so there were a lot of sun dresses, and not a lot of variety. After moving here and seeing all the expensive and not expensive options I’ve realized I don’t need, or even want, all the “latest trends”. It’s inspired me to indulge in what I love, and to simplify my wardrobe, as well as my interiors style. While I still love a trendy fun piece every once in a while, I’m inspired most by the simple pieces. Could be age, or could be lifestyle. The closets are small here, ya know? But I appreciate all the options to choose from, so each person can be unique, even if they appreciate the same things.