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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Inspired By: We Took To The Woods

Every once in a while I stumble across an Instagram account that stops me dead in my tracks.
Thus was the case with @wetooktothewoods, a company based in Greenville, SC. With a retail store that strikes an unparalleled chord in me and an Instagram account that leaves me begging for more, I find their style to be an impeccable blend of the well worn and timeless. Perfectly curated collections.
Known for their candles, their retail store and online shop play host to a bevy of other makers and brands proving everything that is right with shopping small business. They change the design/decor of the shop seasonally: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer; closing for a few days during the transformation and reopening to a fresh, new palette. I feel like I could move right into their shop and live there happily ever after.
You can find them online here or in person:
We Took To The Woods
106 E Stone Ave
Greenville, SC 29609

*all photos belong to We Took To The Woods

Friday, April 15, 2016

Preserving the Past

Years ago I inherited a box of my grandfather's childhood memorabilia. I would find myself sifting through it every other year or so looking at each item inside and wondering what it's significance was. Old uniform patches from Boy Scouts and the military, a rusted compass,  an old silver caliper... it always felt like a shame to place everything back in the antique wooden box with the beautiful dovetailed sides and tuck it away again until I remembered it was there a few years later.

A while back I decided it was time to use some of these items in our home. I layered the old compass in front of a frame on a shelf, then pulled out those old uniform patches. I hand sewed the old Boy Scout patches to a small denim remnant and framed it for our home office gallery wall. I liked it so much that I mounted the little black Coast Guard patch I found in there too and framed it as well. Not only was it a fast and easy way to display these treasures, but a great way to preserve the past.
This idea would also work well with the little trinkets and treasures readily found at thrift stores and flea markets. Some vintage textiles, old flags, banners...there's no end to the possibilities!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Every one of us has aspirations of who and what we want to be. What we have a vision for. Where we want to end up as our life evolves. How we want to live. I pick up a new cookbook because I aspire to recreate the mouthwatering recipes depicted inside. Or a new novel because I envision being able to slow it all down and savor a good story. I pick up a set of pretty vintage dishes because I see myself using it for a gathering with family or friends. I am such a visual person that I can usually envision in a moments time how, where or when I will utilize an object.
 With my love for all things vintage on the table, I naturally aspire to be one of those people who can use vintage for everything and make it look relevant and almost modern in it's usage. I personally feel like there is a fine line when using vintage items. And a definitive line in the sand between kitsch and cool. Sometimes using 100% vintage looks like, well, like you used 100% vintage.

To strike the balance and make vintage work in a flawless manner is easier said than done. I find more success doing in this in decorating the house than on the tabletop. If I try to use too many vintage pieces on the table I am usually never happy with the outcome. A blend of old and new is usually the winning combination for me. A vintage salad plate atop a newer dinner plate or vintage linens and glassware alongside stunning new dishes.

For this spring table, I went in reverse of what I usually do. I used newer navy blue linen napkins from Anthropologie (I bought these on sale in almost every color they came in. They wash beautifully and I just love linen) and vintage everything else. European floral plates, a delicate table runner, a gorgeous ruffled edge platter, an old transferware serving bowl and green Wedgwood wine glasses. The combination of pink, white, navy and green made for a vintage win in my eyes.

How do you like to use vintage on your table?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ballyhoo & Bedbugs at the City Farmhouse Pop Up Fair

Instagram is a pretty amazing thing.
It is really the only form of social media I use other than blogging. And Twitter naturally, to tweet my 'grams. I love Instagram. Like, love, love, love it. And if you follow me and have seen my over 3,300 pics you are feigning shock and are like, "NO! Not you Eleanor" with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek.
I'm very obsessed.
I am embarrassed to admit that I look at much of life as photos. Weird. And really quite distracting.
But I digress.
As I was saying, Instagram is amazing.
Did you know that when this whole Nashville thing became an actual, real possibility that a woman called @nashvillehomesweethome found my account and arbitrarily liked some of my pictures. It stopped me in my tracks because I thought it was a sign. And it was. She turned out to be a real estate agent. She became our real estate agent when the move became a reality and now all these months later she is more than just my realtor. She has become a dear friend who I hope to have in my life for a very, very long time. We are already hatching plans for summer cocktails on my new deck and our first dinner party as any good friends should be doing.
The first week I was here we headed out to look at houses and along the way she suggested we stop by a pop up market in Leiper's Fork hosted by @cityfarmhouse . I was excited to see, in person, some of these community events I had long been following on Instagram and the market did not disappoint. The magic of Leiper's Fork combined with vendors displaying vintage and handmade goods in the most incredibly aesthetically pleasing way and I thought my heart was going to explode. Think Anthropologie~esc display and styling status. Incredible. Me, being the very visual person I am, meandered from tent to tent while my eyes welled with tears. I knew down deep inside I had found my people. The pivotal moment I realized I belonged here.
Fast forward to December and Kim from City Farmhouse posted on Instagram that they were accepting applications for their 2016 markets. I read the requirements which included submitting photos of your past booths and hesitated because I have never done a market before.
But I so could.
Wait, could I???
At my husbands urging (because I couldn't answer the questions what do you have to lose? And, if you're rejected, so what? But honey, no one wants to be rejected...) I put together a small portfolio of table settings and vignettes I have styled. I wrote a few words explaining that I have never done a market but was confident (gulp! was I?) in my ability to meet their standards. To my surprise and delight they offered me a contract within a few hours!
So friends, that is why the vintage hoard continues to grow at an alarming rate while we live on airbeds and camp chairs. I have been stuffing my car with vintage and hitting all my NJ haunts on each trip home. No room to bring back frivolous things like furnishings. There are movers doing that.
We can rough it for a few more weeks.

You will be able to find me on June 17th and 18th at The City Farmhouse Pop Up Market at The Factory at Franklin. Friday the 17th is an evening preview event and Saturday is the all day market.

The most exciting (and terrifying) part is planning what my booth will look like. The sheer idea of it was scary at first, but like decorating a room or setting a table, once I came up with my inspiration/theme I was off and running.
More on that later. Can't wait to reveal some of what is inspiring me and the "pieces" that got the ball rolling.
For now y'all better start Kayaking, or Expedia~ing or whatever it is you need to do to make your travel plans to beautiful Franklin, Tennessee.
I'll be looking for you to stop by the booth and say "hi".
I'm holding onto some of the bestest finds for this one. Stuff I can't even believe I am going to part with and haven't listed because I don't want them to sell prior to the event.
See? Now you have to come.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Practically A Minimalist

When I first arrived in Tennessee, I moved right into a fully furnished corporate apartment which was to be my home for 30 days. Thirty turned to sixty, sixty turned to ninety and just as we were heading towards one hundred and twenty days I was politely told that clearly my house was never going to sell and I would have to figure out my own housing arrangements. Truthfully, they didn't quite say it exactly like that. However, I am sure that they; like myself, had started to worry that I would have to live in corporate housing forever and ever and ever and ever...well, you get the idea.
I rented an unfurnished apartment in the same complex and the kids and I moved in the first week of February. We each have our own airbed and camp chair. I made a quick trip home that first weekend after we moved in and brought back a TV, the DVD player and a small bookshelf to put them both on. A week or two later and I broke down and bought a small card table and a folding chair because sitting on the floor while working on my laptop was making me crazy.
And that's how we live.
We are practically minimalists!
 Indoor campers!
 Oh, wait ~ I forgot that my son popped his airbed a couple weeks in so now he sleeps on top of the deflated airbed in a sleeping bag. So there's that. Classy.
It really bothered me in the beginning that we are living like this but then I started getting used to it and I didn't mind so much. Until I got sick with a viral/cold/flu thing a few weeks ago and all I wanted
Let it be known that I will never, ever take a sofa for granted again.
But while we live so Spartan~like and simply with truly just the bare necessities of comfort, my vintage hoard has grown exponentially. How does that happen? While comfortable furniture is at a premium in this joint, you have a varied selection of fine china, glassware, serving dishes, flatware etc. In fact, I had to go buy a metal shelving unit to store it all on so I can continue to list merchandise in the shop. I even found a full size white iron bed frame in a thrift shop in Sylvan Park that is currently leaning against a wall in the living room. It was only $34.00. I couldn't resist. Too bad it didn't come with a mattress.
It's all about priorities.
Thanks to Stephen Andrew for inspiring me to write this post. He referred to himself as "practically a minimalist" (not even close) over on Janet's blog and made me laugh and laugh and laugh. I'm still laughing even as I type.
There is nothing quite like being inspired by the wit of others.