I saw this home tour on one of my favorite blogs the other day and had to share here. It is such a beautiful, inspiring space.
This North Hollywood home belongs to Chris and Amber Earl. They have only lived in their home for two years, but Chris’ history with the house goes back all the way to his childhood. In the 1940s Chris’ grandparents built this home and he spent many a summer playing in the back yard. Now he shares it with his wife Amber, and together they’ve found a way to transform the space into their own- including a hidden speakeasy that once served as his grandmother’s art studio (!) A friend of ours is always telling us we need to finish our basement already and open up a speakeasy (Daniel makes magic cocktails). Anyway, I found myself relating so much to this couples interests and the style and aesthetic of their home.
Even though there was a lot of death. The new life was so good. It far outweighed the loss.
There comes this point in motherhood where you are suddenly “yours” again. Do you know what I mean? For those months where you’re pregnant and then newly not pregnant and then nursing (or not nursing, too), you are living your every moment with tunnel vision, where all you see and all you think about is your baby. Your body exists for your baby, in the most primal way. You think about your baby first thing when you wake up, the muscles in your arms become toned in a very baby-specific way, your boobs don’t let you forget there’s a baby to be fed at any time ever. Then one day your baby outgrows you and you’re just you again. It’s triumphant for a lot of women, but I suspect there’s a small sliver of us out there who positively grieve when that day comes.
Eleanor is not yet fully weaned. Almost though, which is why I’ve been thinking about all of this quite a bit lately. All along when Eleanor was itty bitty I vacillated between loving my new mom body and being annoyed by it. In so many ways I wouldn’t have taken my old body back even if I could though. My hormones had completely erased any occasional pimple I used to get, my hair was awesome, and I had a physical purpose like I’d never had before. At least 50% of my brain cells were tied up in trying to keep a baby alive, so it was hard to over-analyze or obsess over any stupid thing like I used too… I was better, less selfish in a lot of ways. Even though there was so much of myself to be put to death, the new life was so good. It far outweighed the loss. Fatherhood has enhanced Daniel in such gorgeous ways also.
So here we are, Eleanor is making her way out of the baby phase. She talks. Constantly. Good thing her voice is so heartbreakingly sweet. She loves playing with and being around other people than just me all the time. She’s taking fun toddler music, tumbling, and dance classes. She likes to put her shoes on all by herself. She looooves to work on projects in the kitchen and yard like her Mama and Papa, all by herself…And once again, I am just me. Full of brain space for plenty of worrying, blemishes are back from time to time, my hair has fallen out and come back but not nearly as awesome, my arms have gone soft in that very sad, baby-free way, and, again, Eleanor is nearly weaned. I have a feeling that will be a hard day when it comes. For as ready as I am, it is the end of a part of our relationship we’ve both loved; it is a milestone that really marks the end of this beautiful, sweet, chubby baby phase and it’s heartbreaking. Necessary and good, but heartbreaking all-the-same.
I’m still a mom, of course, and I still love it. I just love it differently. I mother differently. It’s good in all the good ways, just not in that one specific kind of way, and so . . . I miss it.
I LIVE for Fridays. It’s the glorious day that tells you the weekend is finally here! You get a break from all the pressing demands of work or being a single parent during the day, you get to relax a little, read a book, take a nap, walk to the coffee shop for a leisurely cup or two, go for a hike, let your hair down, stay up a little later, eat or drink a few treats…It’s wonderful. Like I said, I LIVE for it. Of course, the staying up late part is entirely foolish for me because I have an adorable little alarm clock that wakes up at 6:30am—Saturday morning or not.
A father filmed his daughter every week, from birth up until she turned 14 years old. Then he created this heartbreakingly beautiful time-lapse edit.
As a mother, it was a painful reminder that it is all going so fast. It makes me want to read a few more books to her at bedtime and hold her a little tighter and longer. But it also reminded me of what a gift it is to be able to witness a life grow and become—from her very first breaths. I get to watch that and be a part of her story in a terrifyingly significant way. It is probably the most humbling thing about being a mother for me.
Ever since becoming parents, my husband and I have become REALLY good mixologists…
Yes, I realize how bad that sounds. There’s this whole bread, sugar, and alcohol trifecta that I’ve been meaning to deal with, but let’s keep it real—that probably won’t happen until Eleanor is at least 10. And then in just a few short years after that my three amigos will be back because she’ll be a TEENAGER. I can’t even.
Anyway, I thought I would share one of the favorites we’ve come across so far if any of you are also parents and know exactly what I’m talking about.
This favorite is called the, “St. Monica Cocktail.” Chelsea McAlister, from The Secret Society, here in Portland, OR, came up with the recipe. It involves the two best kinds of alcohol there are, in my opinion: Bulleit Rye and St. Germain liqueur. It is delicious. Also, quite fittingly, it is named after the patron saint of mothers.
Take a look at the recipe below and go make yourself a treat for making it through another day!
2 oz. Bulleit Rye (we didn’t have Bulleit Rye on hand so we just used the regular Bulleit, which is not as perfect but, is still pretty damn tasty)
1 oz Bittersweet Vermouth (we did a mix of dry and sweet vermouth, like a Perfect Manhattan)
1/4 oz St. Germain liqueur (we put in a little extra because this stuff is like drops of elderflower heaven)
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir all the ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Serve up with an orange peel twist.
We bought our 1924, NE Portland home a year ago this month (crazy!). I love so many things about it. The hardwood floors, all the windows, the built-ins, the molding, the living and dining rooms, the up-and-coming neighborhood it’s in. But, there are definitely things I’m not so in love with. The first one being the kitchen. When we first viewed the house and saw the kitchen we knew that that would be a project we’d want to tackle sooner than later. It’s a tiny kitchen which, to me, isn’t so much the problem as how inefficiently it’s laid out. It’s also not particularly pretty—to say the least. Since the kitchen really is the hub of our home, I’m daydreaming often of how I’d like to re-do it.
I have a pinterest board (follow along if you’d like!) dedicated to images and ideas I’ve come across that capture some of the elements I’d like in my future kitchen. Below are some of those images…
The white subway tile and open shelving in this kitchen are a MUST. I think making our kitchen lighter in color, plus doing some open shelving will really help to make the small space feel much roomier.
I just love the built-in benches and table in this breakfast nook. Our kitchen has a breakfast nook, which is one thing about the kitchen we really like, but it doesn’t have built-in seating. We currently have just a small table and chairs in it. Making it a more permanent, casual dining area I think is another way we could make the space feel bigger. I am also dying for a farmhouse sink like the one in this kitchen. I’d do dishes all day long, no complaints, if I had a sink like that.
These walnut countertops…I don’t know how practical they are but, yowza, are they gorgeous. And all that white! It would make such a difference in our kitchen. Everything would feel airy and roomy and wonderful.
This kitchen is crazy good. I’ve only seen the hexagon tile used as flooring (something I’d love in our bathroom!). I think it definitely makes a striking backsplash. I’ve also been swooning over that SMEG refrigerator for ages now, and it’s a huge plus that it’s on the smaller side and wouldn’t take up as much precious space as the average refrigerator.
It was like the more dirt we had under our fingernails, the happier we were as humans.
I’m starting this new photo series of my fireplace mantel. It started in my instagram feed, where I would post pictures of flowers/decor that I currently had on my mantel throughout the year. Then a sweet friend suggested I start a photo series on it. So all credit really goes to that lovely lady.
I’m always so intrigued and inspired by other peoples homes. How different people arrange and style them, and the qualities that they all tend to share. One of the main elements of my home are plants and flora. I have this serious thing for them. They are always in my house, all year round. I grew up on a rural island in the Pacific Northwest, so nature, agriculture, plants, flowers etc., were a constant, inescapable part of my life. My parents also really loved gardening. I have so many memories of my mom’s flowers and of her teaching me all the names of them. And my dad also with his huge vegetable garden. He’d preserve pickles from its bounty every year. They were the best damn pickles I’d ever tasted. My parents weren’t farmers or anything, but when we were outside our existence felt simpler and better. It was like the more dirt we had under our fingernails, the happier we were as humans.
Ever since moving to a city, the importance of bringing the outside in became vital for me. Especially when I lived in apartments with no yards whatsoever. Not only does a little green go a long way aesthetically, but it keeps me connected and reminded of a world bigger than mine and always lifts my mood. That’s why I constantly have flora on my mantel and throughout my house.
Dogwood branches are gracing my mantel currently. They are a favorite of mine during the Spring season. I’m trying to figure out if there’s a spot in our teensy city yard I could plant one. Our yard is overflowing with plants as it is though (I can’t stop), so I may just have to enjoy my neighbor’s.
What are some of the main design and decor elements in your homes? I’d love to hear!
I’m looking forward to sharing this small but significant part of my home with you and excited for future series centered on home and design.
When Eleanor was an infant that hour before bath and bedtime was the absolute worst. Oh my goodness, was it the worst. “The witching hour,” they call it and I, unfortunately, know why. She was so fussy and so was I. We were both just done with the day and ready for bed. I’d be lying if I said I miss even those memories of her infancy.
Now that Eleanor is 2, that god-forsaken witching hour is no longer—for the most part. There’s always the occasional day when she goes to bed a little too late the night before and has a poor nap. On those days I see glimpses of that horrible witching hour and am immediately thankful it is only a memory.
…the pure joy on her face—it’s like a drug.
Now, that hour before bath and the whole bedtime routine is pure magic. Papa’s finally home and Eleanor is in the silliest, best mood. After dinner, we turn on some of her favorite tunes, get her naked, and dance. She loves it. I’m sure every toddler does really. But man, that girl REALLY loves to dance. She can’t be stopped. All the chubby-naked-toddler-dancing and giggling melts me every. single. time. I’m so in love with her soft, chubby little body, her sweet voice as she sings along to the music playing, her little legs running around the house, her demands for us to dance with her, the pure joy on her face—it’s like a drug.
It’s one of the most beautiful things being a mama and getting to make and witness these magic memories with your child. But being a mama is also one of the most brutal things. It may sound terribly cliche but I’ve learned to pay attention to and hold closely the simple joys since becoming a mom. They really are the difference between making it through a day and not, some days. So when the brutal days come, I’m thankful for this gift that is the magic hour.
“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was a ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” –Cheryl Strayed
Hello there! After much too long of a hiatus, I’m back! Maybe hiatus isn’t really quite the right word, as I wasn’t sure if I would be returning again. But, here I am, back, with a solid itch in my fingers and a head full of ideas. And, hopefully, if all goes well, I’m here to stay for awhile.
I’m back for a lot of reasons. But I’m back simply and primarily because I’ve missed it here. I’ve been journaling a lot more, and envying bloggers a lot more. I’ve found myself wishing I could just write out my thoughts, ideas, projects, and things I find pretty and inspiring like they all do and then it dawned on me: I’m an idiot. I have a blog. I could do all those things. But, pity parties are much easier and more comfortable. So, after I threw myself the biggest, most extravagant pity party, and had my fill, I came back here. I got back to work, and have sworn to myself that that would be the last of my ridiculous pity parties.
My journey needed to be exactly how it was, in the order that it was, to get me here.
It has been a gift to write again, and brainstorm new ideas and directions for this blog. In this space I feel inspired and grounded and lighter—things I haven’t felt in quite some time now. I’ve come to a bit of a crossroads in my life, I guess you could say, and it seems that coming back here might help me find my way. I’ve felt stuck and lost and sad for longer than I’d care to admit. In a place where all the regret, blame, fear, and insatiable want, live. I don’t entirely know the way out of this oppressive place, I just know I need to move again, and take a few risks. My husband (of course, the eternal optimist) believes I’ve been looking at this crossroads, this place I find myself in, all wrong. From his vantage point, my journey thus far has all been entirely necessary to get me to this place of discontent and restlessness, and passion, and, consequently—movement. My journey needed to be exactly how it was, in the order that it was, to get me here. I could fight it, or I could accept it, and cooperate with it, and believe that it’s the journey I need.
Things look much more lovely and hopeful from his vantage point, per usual, and it’s truly done me no good wishing and pining for the could-haves or would-haves or should-haves. Acceptance. So. Hard. So. Necessary.
So it is with this new-found hope or maybe, more accurately, hope for a hope, that I return to my tiny corner of the internet. I’m really so glad to be back.
Lastly, as you may have noticed, I’ve revamped the design and re-named the blog. It’s new design and name, I think, fit the blog it has evolved into and the blog that it is becoming a bit better. I hope you think so too and enjoy your time here. I’m excited to see what it holds for me and for those of you who would like to follow along—hopefully new and old friends alike!