Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Playing Tourist in our City

 When my brother, sister in law and mom came into town to visit earlier this month it gave us the perfect excuse to play tourist right here in our own city and all I can say is who knew Downtown on Broadway was so crazy? My daughter said and I quote, "This place is crazier than New York City." She may be right. While it was a blast exploring it all for the first time together my heart definitely lies outside the city limits in that rolling green countryside I am so fortunate to call home.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer in the South

No, seriously....TGIF.
There's been so much going on as we continue to settle in to the new homestead and in between projects, work travel, visitors, more projects and more work travel, we have been trying to enjoy our first summer in the south. And it's been a hot one. Like, really, really hot. So hot that you just want to lay around doing nothing except maybe read a book and refill your wine glass every hour or so because hydration is critical in heat like this.
Since I had a few minutes this morning while I enjoy my coffee and it's been a minute since I've written anything, I thought I would pop in, say hi ~Hi! and share the easiest salad that is perfect for those days. Plus, it takes no fancy kitchen skills which is helpful because after all that wine you need to stay hydrated, let's just say your kitchen skills may be slightly impaired. It's been on rotation in this house and not because my skill level is questionable (I wish) but more because melons have been ridiculously delicious this summer.
There's no real recipe ~ I just ball up some cantaloupe, slice some fresh mozzarella and prosciutto, throw in some basil and toss with some black pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil. It keeps well in the fridge but I prefer it to be at room temperature which makes it perfect for bringing any leftovers to work for lunch. Except at work there's no wine. Bummer.
We are having our first official dinner party tomorrow with some new friends  (hooray!) and I am trying to wrap up both my table and menu plans. Two of my most favorite activities. Along with drinking wine of course.

Happy Weekend Friends!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pop ~ Up Market!

It all started with the lamps I found at Goodwill. Gaudy enough to be completely fabulous, they were the launching point for my booth.  I instantly envisioned a bar/buffet table with these two lamps anchoring the ends. All I would need to do was find the perfect shades that would take the glam down a notch and make them feel current and right now.

A week or two later I found this amazing oil painting and fell head over heels with everything about it. My love for old oil paintings runs deep but the pink and white dress, the gold frame ~ she was a perfect match for my lamps. I knew then that my core color theme would be pink, white, gold and black. Black because I found the most amazing black drum shades for those lamps on clearance at Pottery Barn.

Even though I started planning and acquiring the pieces for my space over the winter, I could only do so much living in a tiny apartment. Then we were moving out of the house in NJ, closing on the house here in TN, cleaning, painting, unpacking and while I could see my set up clearly in my mind, time was no longer on my side in bringing it to fruition. In fact, time was running out quickly and I felt unprepared and ill equipped and worried I had made a big mistake committing to doing this in the first place. It was uncanny that while I secured my space back in December of 2015, that it would coincide with finally moving into our home 6 months later. What are the chances?
The week after the movers came I had to fly back East for a meeting which meant another week of getting nothing prepared. Long story short, I found out while I was there that I would also need to spend the entire week prior to the market in Memphis for work obligations. I about near lost my mind.
I debated pulling out of the market ~ I am not one to do things half assed but I stood to lose a ton of money as well as the opportunity to ever do one of these again if I left them with an empty space last minute. I waivered back and forth for days on what to do but ultimately decided to go for it. Half assed or not. Nothing great every came easy anyway, has it?
God always has a way to work things out even when they seem most impossible. This little farm here in my favorite town in America is proof enough. And he always gives beauty for ashes. 
You know how I know this?
That mess the former owners left us in the barn had piles of old barn wood in it. Fabulous old barn wood that Charlie used to make me an amazing sawhorse table. It came out so good in fact that I put it in my home office/studio space for photographing merchandise for the shop. (There was also an amazing giant, antique porcelain kitchen sink out there too that is going to be reused in a magnificent way, but that is a whole other story for another time) Some lady at the market even inquired if it was for sale! 
The most beautiful thing of all though was when I walked into Liberty Hall at the Factory and saw my space was that it was up against a brick wall. I nearly cried with joy. It gave me a place to hang the little gallery wall I envisioned and the best part was that there were pre~drilled holes in the wall. I just slid little screws in them and viola! My gallery was complete.
God is so good y'all.
The market was a big success for me, I met some amazing people and since then the online shop has been really busy with tons of hits and people saving it to their Etsy favorites. Whether it is related, I don't know but I couldn't have asked for more. Some lady even came back as the market closed out and bought all the fabric I used to create my "dining table". Unbelievable!

I haven't committed to the October market yet; I am still deciding only because it is so close to the craziest time of year at work for me. But who knows? Thoughts of a fall/winter theme are already racing through my mind....

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Sweetest Moments

There have been so many sweet moments our family has shared through this journey that are forever ingrained in my memory. Those moments when I thought I was losing my nerve and about to run home with my tail between my legs but my son's pep talks and confidence in me reminded me that I could do this. Our two months spent here alone together was time I could never replace and some of our best mother/son moments. I smile when I think about all the nights my daughter and I stayed up way too late giggling and being silly in our shared bedroom back at the apartment. Or that Saturday morning a few weeks back when I was walking through the airport from my final flight home and saw Charlie standing there at the end of the terminal waiting for me. I will never forget how full my heart felt and how happy he was to see me; knowing that this time we were together for good.

I don't know what you call it, but I am one of those people who gets a vision for almost everything. Naturally, I had built the entire scenario up in my mind of the first moments Charlie would step into our new home, admiring and taking it all in while I anxiously waited for his inevitable approval. As we pulled up to do our final walkthrough the evening before closing I realized that things were not going to materialize as I had imagined.
The sellers were there and no where near moved out. I counted 7 dogs and 2 horses roaming around the property, which to our dismay, they had completely stopped taking care of since the home inspection. Since May is pretty much full blown summer here in Tennessee the property has become a veritable jungle and I cringed as we walked passed empty cans, bottles and other assorted garbage just thrown on the weed infested lawn. If you think the house was in much better shape then guess again. There aren't many words to describe the level of filth we encountered. Needless to say, Charlie was obviously completely horrified that he was about to plunk his money down on this place.
It was definitely not one of the sweetest moments.

We arrived to the house a few hours after closing ready to start cleaning and prepping it for painting. My realtor/girlfriend showed up right behind us in her sweats with rubber gloves in hand. We scrubbed the kitchen for hours, laughing, joking, squealing in fear and disgust at some of what we found. We cracked a bottle of Dom I had long been saving for this very occasion and feasted on some fine meats and cheeses.
Despite the fridge alone taking 2 hours to clean and sanitize, it was one of the sweeter moments and other than the obvious good company, I'm sure the Dom played a little part in that too.

We have spent the past 5 days cleaning and painting. Our backs ache, our joints hurt, there has been plenty of crankiness and we have come close to having some arguments. I was standing out on the deck the other evening taking a breather and soaking in our beautiful surroundings when Charlie walked out to join me. We were quiet at first standing there leaning over the railing when he finally spoke. "I do see the potential here. I can see gardens out there and our family sitting out here enjoying it all on this deck. I just can't believe  that this place was left like in this condition for us."
My need to hear him say that he finally saw what I did in this place made up for a lot of those not so sweet moments.

Sunday night I decided to make a proper dinner. With the movers arriving yesterday to deliver our stuff I figured the rest of the week will be a meal time crap shoot. I stood here in my new (and clean) kitchen chopping vegetables with a cocktail by my side and Waylon Jennings on the radio. As I took my time preparing our meal I remembered how many evenings in NJ where I stood in that little kitchen with a cocktail by my side, Waylon on the radio all the while dreaming that someday we would own a farm in Tennessee.
We are finally here.
That is most definitely the sweetest moment of all.

Monday, May 9, 2016


The spring season is a busy one in the world of women's apparel retail. Easter generally flows right into Mother's Day and the build to Mother's Day is considered to be the "Black Friday" of the season. Needless to say, I was not really excited about working my second Saturday in a row, especially since this busy period has meant that Charlie and I have only had 2 days off together since he arrived in Nashville on April 16th. It's feels like a big fat tease: he's finally here but I just work all the time.  Let's not even discuss the fact that my job now encompasses 4 states and I spent the middle part of the week on another whirlwind trip to the OKC.
Anyway, at some point during the day on Saturday a woman that works for me casually mentioned that someone had dumped two puppies in her yard about a week ago. She was doing her due diligence to see if she could find their rightful owner to no avail. Her neighbor agreed to take the boy puppy but she was yet to find a home for the girl and was not going to be able to keep her permanently.
I asked her to show me pictures of the dog and mentioned that we had been discussing getting a 3rd dog since we will have so much land. I prattled on about needing a bigger, more serious dog for the property than our two spoiled "city" dogs and how I love labs and blah, blah, blah. 
Then she held up her phone and showed me this face:

I mean, really.....
I sent some pics to my husband and before I knew it, my daughter was texting me begging me to take the dog. They had already sent pictures to my son who is currently in South Carolina and now he was begging for her too via long distance. Being the sucker I am, we met up with her and the puppy later that evening to see if we thought she would be a fit for our family.

 By the way, have you ever seen a shopping center with a park/green space smack in the middle of it? No, me either until I moved out here. God bless Nashville.

She stole our hearts.
We know we are totally crazy taking on a puppy at the same time we are trying to move and be settled in our new home. We are going from a 2 dog family to a 3 dog, 2 cat (we are keeping the property's current barn cats) family with 4 hens on the way in a matter of a two weeks. Insane.
But the reality is, there is never an optimal time to take on a puppy, this little girl needs a home and I may just be certifiably crazy. 
So without further ado, I'd like to introduce Frankie. My daughter came up with the name and given our love for our new hometown Franklin I thought it was quite apropos. I am sure I will be complaining about the shedding but that face tells me it will all be worth it.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Country Living Fair ~ Nashville

Can we discuss something for a second?
How is it that I spent my entire life living less than an hour outside of NYC then move to Nashville, TN and suddenly have more at my fingertips to do then I ever did in NJ? There is always something really great going on here. For instance, last weekend the Country Living Fair came to Nashville and downtown Franklin held their Main Street Festival. So much to do and only two days off to squeeze it all in. What's a girl to do?
Naturally, she goes to the Country Living Fair. It's something I have always wanted to do but with the fairs taking place in Rhinebeck, NY and Stone Mountain, GA the chances that that was ever happening were slim to none. When I realized it was coming back to Nashville for the 2nd year I ordered tickets right away.

It did not disappoint.
It was extremely busy and HUGE. After an entire day of wandering around I still cannot be sure that I got to pass by every single booth. I was so twisted around by the end I wasn't even sure which way was out and where we were parked. And I was sober. Scary. Thank goodness for my daughter who navigated us back to the car even after my friend and I made her take our picture posing with a cow statue. She was mortified and probably would have left me there lost in the crowd but her feet hurt so badly that it made her want to cry. I wanted to cry too lugging back my treasures. The flow blue casserole dish and pair of matching (large) ironstone platters I bought seemed like a good idea at the time but they were WAY too heavy on that long trek back to the car. But flow blue and ironstone. Need I say more? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Life Well Lived

 Photo by @koriclarkdesign

On April 9th I flew home to NJ one last time to meet the movers and oversee the pack out of our house. Our closing isn't scheduled until May 2nd but after 6 months apart and a closing date firmly set for May 10th on our farm, it was time to pull the trigger and get my husband to Nashville. #itsaboutdamntime.
My brother and sister in law from upstate NY and my baby brother and his family who live right in town all came over that weekend for one last gathering at our house. Quite apropos because it was those two fellas who helped us move into that house just over 10 years ago and have spent many, many weekends since gathered in that kitchen making memories.

People kept asking me how I was holding up; expecting me to be sad and emotional. And rightly so. I have spent exactly 1/2 of my life living in this very neighborhood. Walking the same sidewalks, biking the same streets. My children attending the same schools I did as a child. So many memories, old and new.
But I wasn't sad at all. In fact, I wasn't even emotional until my brother and sister in law handed us the gorgeous watercolor they commissioned Kori Clark to paint of the house. Beautifully framed to match my hallway gallery of our family photos, both Charlie and I choked up over this sentimental gesture.

When that 18 wheeler pulled up Wednesday morning I was more excited than anything. Let's get this show on the road! was my attitude. I slipped a few new boxes of thrifted treasures into the mix to be professionally packed because let's face it: I have no self control and couldn't help myself on Monday and Tuesday. I even packed up two small boxes of goodies to squeeze into the car for the ride back to Nashville because pop ~ up market. Always thinking ahead. And as I like to say:

In between the packing and loading of all our earthly possessions we squeezed in dinners and bittersweet goodbyes with the ones that count the most. All the while I kept thinking about this place and how I couldn't wait to get back home; even knowing that home right now is this awkward little apartment situation we have going on. I can't imagine how much more I will love it when I am settled into my own forever space.

So long little red house. Thank you for being such a great place to raise our little family. I will miss your charm and even your little quirks. If it had been affordable I probably would have picked you up and brought you with us. I hope your new owners treat you well and appreciate you as much as we did. 
Thank you for so many years that were so well lived.