I collected these snapshots of my favorite nooks and corners around our home on a breezy Saturday morning as Daniel baked biscuits in the kitchen and Jack lay coloring on the floor. They show how we've combined lives and interests with Daniel's pipe rack adjacent to my Jane Austen Anthology on the bookshelf, his guitars and amp resting beneath my Mrs. Dalloway Poster and the Jack-toys strewn about from wall-to-wall.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
My first all-by-myself adult apartment was in the dusty attic of a 1930's bungalow on Frank Street in the quiet neighborhood of Mordecai. For me, that attic represented the beginning of my life with Jack as an independent single mother. It was a hard time, but a sweet time. It was the place where Jack took his first steps and I took my first leap of faith. After living at Frank Street for a year, I bought and took root in a two-bedroom townhouse in East Downtown Raleigh. It was here I lived when I married Daniel, and here that we thrive together now as a new family. It's a small place, but small in a comforting way rather than a confining one, and represents the beginning of me and Jack's life with Daniel. We are slowly but surely creating a home together, and I think when we are old and look back at our time here on Hargett Street we will remember not only the growing pains of a new marriage and new parenting, but also the ineffable joy that watching Jack grow brings to our hearts. Our time thus far in this home has been one of loving, delight, sometimes pain, and especially learning. I've learned to cook, Daniel has learned how to work the washing machine, and Jack has learned what a full family looks like.
Monday, September 30, 2013
I've never had the opportunity to travel very far from home. The farthest north I've been north is New York City, west, Chicago, east, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and South, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I've long dreamed of the day I'll apply for a passport and experience cultures and natural wonders far different from what I can find in a day trip around my home state. Here's a short list of places that have caught my fancy that I'd love to see one day if life allows.
no. 1) This pink lake in Senegal because I've never seen a natural wonder quite like this in North Carolina.
no. 2) The Swiss Alps have been peaking my interest lately, ever since I watched a PBS travel show about them.
no. 3) I found this photo on Pinterest and it reminded me of Moonrise Kingdom. Upon further research, the Fahroe Islands seem beautiful and wild.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I think we all have an innate desire to feel at home, in whatever way the idea manifests itself to us individually. Over time I've come to see it as less of a defined location & more so a million little pieces, stitching themselves together, forming a perfect blanket of comfort. (Perfect blankets, much like perfect jeans, are difficult to come by.)
I'm not entirely sure when this transition occurred. There was definitely a time I thought of home as a painted white house with perfectly imperfect wood floors, clean & bright rooms & sunflowers growing outside. Maybe that had something to do with why I began collecting, stockpiling home goods at the age of...I don't know..always, it seems. Even when I was very little, tiny home decor things were my favorite. I would find them at yardsales with my mother, take them home & place them on a shelf. I remember a tiny rocking chair, a tiny broom, a tiny cat...tiny perfect things. Maybe I thought I could construct my own perfect home, that all I needed were the correct pieces, put together in the correct way.
As it turns out, this is called interior decorating.
Right around the end of high school, a couple things happened.
1st) The idea of college (read: the overwhelming idea of having "my own place") made my house wares collecting even more frenzied. Curtains, sheets, dainty mismatched dishes...
To be clear, I still harbor a deep love for these things. I simply no longer charge them with the weighty responsibility of filling my need for home. I like to think my perfectly aligned Anthropologie glasses & perfectly folded a la Martha Stewart linens are grateful for this lowered expectation, & that they sighed with relief the first time I looked at them as what they are - glasses, and linens.
2nd) I met a boy who would quickly become my first real love story & somehow, I'm not sure how, my first real enduring heartache, even more quickly. Three months in, I turned 18 & was positively certain, in the way you can only be when you're 18, that I'd found the person I would be in love with forever. And I with my fatal disposition for finding home in places ill-equipped, felt at home in another person for the first time.
The day I knew in my bones that this whirlwind would never endure, could not weather the spirals (the day I should have walked away), I drove late at night to the town I did my growing up in, & I got my first tattoo. It says "home," on my left side ribcage. I thought I might never find home again, & I wanted so badly a reminder - a reminder every day of forever that I could feel at home. That it could exist for me. And that I should be remember that feeling more than anything else.
I won't say I've learned to walk away when I should, or with any more grace than my 18 year old self possessed.
But I've learned a few things about home. I've learned that I am home. The places & the people & the happenings that allow me to feel the most like myself...those things are home, temporarily sometimes, devastating when lost...but they will all lend themselves in time to building & fortifying the idea of home that exists for each of us.
And for that, I've learned to be grateful.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
This year is the 100th anniversary of the infamous premier of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, one of Daniel's favorite pieces of all time. We celebrated by seeing the North Carolina Symphony perform the piece in June (Daniel brought his pocket score along). A kind friend gave us tickets, and we somehow lucked into balcony seats for one of the best performances I've ever seen. After the concert, we were inspired to collaborate on this fresh cocktail in honor of Stravinsky and his piece of enduring classical music. I thought the sweet & bitter taste of aperol was an appropriate nod to the alternately lovely & cacophonous passages in the music. Nerd Alert! Cheers.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Where we have glee inducing tickle fights that often end in bloodshed
Where we sit in a knowing, comfortable silence across the room from each other, yet feeling as close in our souls as if we were touching
Where no one makes fun of the unbidden twangy accent that spills from my sleepy lips should the pillow talk last later than ten
Where frequent failure is met with unyielding forgiveness
Where trust and comfort meet and I feel safe
Where I meet familiar faces each day walking my habitual route through the streets, stopping sometimes for a chat or often simply a nod and smile
Where my dance moves don't immediately induce feelings shame & regret, but rather are met with squeals of three-year-old delight & laughter as he's dancing with me in equally silly fashion
Where I pad softly in to stare creepily at my sweetly sleeping babe and press his still-chubby cheek with a kiss
Saturday, September 7, 2013
On my day off work, I like to spend quality time doing absolutely nothing, and occasionally mix in treating myself to brunch & coffee not made by my keurig. This week I took myself on a day date to my favorite French bakery, La Farm, and followed it with a stop into a new local artisan shop/coworking space/coffee shop, Gather. And when taking yourself out, a dress & heels & feeling pretty enough for a grainy mirror selfie are sort of necessities...in my opinion, anyway.
La Farm has the most amazing bread & lattes & French macaroons. Everything else is yummy too, but for me, these are the defining perfections. The owner is from France, and everything is fresh made & delicious. There's outdoor seating and a cat who has decided to call the sidewalk out front his home - they've even put out food dishes for him. I had a BLT minus the T and sat next to the flirtiest 10 month old baby, which made my day that much better, my recent venture into life as a non-nanny having left a baby-sized void.
Since I was in Cary, I decided to stop back into Gather. I had gone to their grand opening last weekend, and while it was fun and beautiful, it was so very crowded & I wanted a second chance to look around & learn more about it. It's a pretty amazing space - retail, coffee & local creative entrepreneurs coexisting in a store front with a remarkably comfy & home-like atmosphere. I decided another latte was a must, and chatted for a while with Casey, the sweet lady behind Gather's in house coffee shop, Grounds. She uses beans from Raleigh Coffee Co., and also owns Undergrounds, a coffee shop inside the NC Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. It felt like sitting at your favorite quite bar & talking with your bartender, something I've never experienced in a coffee shop. And the latte was perfect.
I was also fortunate enough to talk with Michelle, the owner of the space, for a bit & hear her mission behind Gather. As well as being an amazing artist herself, featured in places such as Anthropologie, Real Simple & West Elm , she's also the brains behind The Rock & Shop Market, held annually in Durham. She spoke about her passion for helping budding creative entrepreneurs towards success, and creating a network of local like-minded people as well as a place for those people to come together, meet & collaborate, and empower & encourage one another and their work. There are leased studio spaces in the shop, and also a co-working program that sounds like such a wonderful opportunity.
I think my favorite part is the classes offered - as their website says, "Gather’s line-up of classes covers DIY, gardening, food and business and promotion intensives geared towards niche artisan entrepreneurs." I signed up for a handlettering class this month with the talented Joel & Ashely Selby of This Paper Ship! I love the idea of local artists & creative business owners hosting these unique community learning classes. I'm eyeing a few more in the line up, including Buttercream Basics: the Art of the Layer Cake with Sweet Melissa Cakes & Branding and Packaging with the Dapper Paper Co.
The shop part of the space features a few local artists at a time, and everything available right now is beautiful. My wishlist is quite long, but I did go ahead and pick up a couple prints, made by Jordan Grace Owens who I met at the grand opening and makes simply adorable things. Gather has definitely been added to my list of local places I love, and I can't wait stop in again.
Of course I brought macaroons home from La Farm, and might've had a little bed picnic whilst admiring my new prints. It was a day well spent, one that left me feeling inspired and refreshed as a good day off should.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
In my life, there have been more bedrooms, more addresses and front doors and house keys than I can fully remember. Seven or eight with my family growing up; seven of my own since I turned eighteen. A few things are constants: my yellow iron bed frame, strings of polaroid photos from the past near-decade, fresh flowers from weekend grocery trips, art made by people I love & tiny mementos we, the memory keepers of the world, are destined to carry with us from place to place. These things that make it my home - a place I belong to as much as the foundation beneath the floor does. A place I'll belong to inevitably just long enough to leave a bit of myself and my feeling of home forever.