memories

five.

On this day 5 years ago, my life was about to change.  I was excited and hopeful.  Maybe a little stressed because of the rainy windy, 35 degree Michigan morning.  Our pup,  Maci, was about 6 months old, and as I took her out for a walk, my thoughts were a mix of calm and chaotic.  

the dress

the shoes

I had just completed the nearly year long task of the wedding planning rollercoaster.  Self-labeled as “the biggest party of our lives” for nearly 200 guests, I couldn’t believe I was actually going to pull it off, planning it all from 1000 miles away.  More importantly was the realization that today I was giving my life to another person.  For me this has always been a big deal.   I wanted to marry someone I could see myself growing old with.  Someone who you consider a best friend.  And sometimes as girls we get caught up in the planning, but this is one of the most important decisions you can make.  After 6 years of being together, I felt so ready to be his wife.  We felt like we knew it all, but really we were just 25 year old big kids, ready to take on the world together.

So back to that chilly morning-  I was so exhausted running on about 3 hours of sleep.  The bridemaids and I cut watermelon til almost 2 in the morning the night before, but dammit we were going to have those Strawberry Watermelon Mojitos I planned or else this whole event just couldn’t go down.

I didn’t consider myself a Bridezilla, but as an interior designer, I couldn’t have been too far off.  Design is in the details.  I DIY-ed everything.  From the invites to the centerpieces, to the drink picks to the name cards.

coral, tangerine, & champagne wedding details

That morning seemed to fly by.   You feel like a Princess or celebrity.  People running around, catering to your every need.  Something I definitely am not used to.  Hair. Check.  Makeup.  Check.  Get dressed.  Check. Alright now hop in this car and we need to get you to the Church and get you married.

We got there a few minutes late.  But that’s okay because they can’t start without you when you’re the bride, right?  As I was standing in the back of the church, there were people trying to sneak in, thinking they were late, but nope it hadn’t started yet.  It made me laugh but also almost cry seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in years.  It was one of the best feelings knowing everyone was there from near and far just for you.  Really, all I could think was wow I’m about to get married. It all just felt surreal.

me

Walking down that aisle was a moment I will never forget. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous.  I really just couldn’t stop smiling.

It all seemed to go so fast.  The whole world just seem to melt away and it was just us. We said our vows and then POOF we were married!

you may kiss the bride

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And then it’s easy coasting from there.  Because all the things you stressed out about for months during planning just seem to come together.  Finally I could relax, let go, and just have fun!

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bridesmaids hidden lake gardens

I may be biased, but it was the best party I’ve ever been to.  We danced all night.  We got to hang out with our friends from all different points in our lives, from Elementary School to new friends we made in Florida.  It was so incredibly weird yet so exciting to have them all under one roof.  Every chance Nate & I got back together to dance or check in with each other, it was like “OMG I’m having so much fun. Isn’t this the best night?! ”

MSU roomies nate & paul the fam dance

Words cannot describe that day really.   It’s more like this overwhelming amount of love you receive from all angles.  I felt so happy.  Like I was in some type of daydream that just happened to be true.

So basically what I’m trying to say, is if I was to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way.

first dance

Nate, you are my heart and soul.  And my (heart-shaped!) rock.  You made me a believer in love at first sight.  You have been there for me when I’ve needed you the most.  And I hope I can find ways to love and thank you for another 50 years.  I love you thiiiiiiiiisss much, Hun.

Love, your Precious.

sunset kiss

(Photo credit: Silver Thumb Photography)

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treehouses that will blow your mind

I grew up in a house surrounded on 3 sides by a forest.  As a child of about 8 or 9, I remember taking a hammer, nails, and a few boards into the woods to try to create a hangout for me and my friends.  I had a small sledge hammer (haha, clearly not the right thing to build any type of structure) so it didn’t pan out too well.  I think I got about one step secured – just enough to pull myself up on a branch and sit there.  I miss childhood most because of the way your imagination would run wild.  You just think you can do anything at that age, and it’s pretty magical.  I never ended up with a tree house, but it was a cool place to escape to.  I have some pretty amazing memories  exploring those trails.

Here’s some eye candy in the form of some amazing tree houses.  These creative structures are like a childhood dream come true.  Happy Earth Day!

Boho Home

Tree House - Kenneth Wyner Photography

Sustainable Bamboo Tree House in Bali Bamboo Tree House Living Area

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Crystal River Tree House - Green Line Architects

The-HemLoft-Treehouse-Whistler-Canada

Tree House by Peter Bahouth

treehouse bedroom!

thursday thoughts: make it happen

This post is in memory of my Great Aunt Janet, who passed away this morning.  She was everything I hope to be in life:  positive, witty, independent, well-traveled, insightful.

I was lucky enough to visit with her in December.  Her illness was progressing, and I knew it would be the last time I would see her.  She told me to always make time to do the things I want to do, because life goes by so fast.  Such a great reminder that if we want something, we need to make it happen!

i like things to happen. and if they don't happen I like to make them happen.  -winston churchill

my journey as told through 2 fabric books

It’s Monday. I usually don’t post on Mondays, but I kind of have a story to tell this time.  So here goes….

Over the weekend, I was cleaning out my office and decided it was time to purge.  As you may know, parting with anything sentimental is not an easy task for me. I came across a couple of artifacts that have made it all the way from FL, back to MI, again to FL, and now to TX.  2 beautiful fabric books that I kept from my first design job ever.

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It’s like it was just yesterday. I was 22 and interning for Kim Ederer. She actually believed me when I said I would move to Florida for 12 weeks in the summer to intern. She gave me a chance, and I was so excited. I found a studio to rent in Inlet Beach for that summer in 2007. I remember just how excited I was to go to work everyday. I was like a design sponge – soaking up all the beautiful fabrics and furniture, learning as much as I could about the process. I was blown away by just how much more fast paced it was in comparison to my classes.  And just how poised Kim and Rosanne were as they tackled everything from a freight damaged table to a client presentation. I never wanted my internship to end, and I only hoped I could grow up and be successful like them.

That summer they moved offices, so taking on an intern to clean out and reorganize that massive fabric library was a huge selling point.  As I sifted through hundreds of fabric books, I came across 2 duplicate books. They were absolutely gorgeous. Instead of throwing them away, I kept them. I just thought the patterns and colors were so beautiful. So when my internship ended, I took them back up to Michigan with me.  I showed my design friends my treasured books and told them all about my Florida adventures.

That next summer after graduation, I moved to Florida.  The books came with me.  Finding a design job was not easy. It was 2008 and the recession had just hit. I had $1000 and an air mattress to my name, but more importantly, a will to be successful. I worked in an art gallery, as a waitress, and for a lawyer that year.  From time to time I’d crack open those fabric books and keep the dream alive of landing a job in the interior design field. A year later in 2009, I went into Pizitz Home & Cottage with my resume. They weren’t hiring, but they said they’d keep it on file. About a month later I got a phone call saying they could use some extra help for the summer. I was elated. I put in my 2 weeks notice at the immigration law office and I was on my way.

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Working for Pizitz blew me away. I was surrounded by beautiful things, friendly people, and a gorgeous backdrop for over 2 years. I’d eat my lunches overlooking the ocean.  Seaside was just so perfect and amazing.  It was really too good to be true, although looking back I think I was too young to realize it.  In September of 2011, Nate received a job offer in San Antonio he couldn’t refuse.  We were young, newlywed, and ready for the world.  I was the driving force behind it all.  The economy was so good in Texas, and I figured I could get some great design experience. I envisioned what city life would look like, and it was enticing.  We quickly said goodbye to the beach, packed up our townhouse, and headed to the Lone Star State. It was exciting and scary as hell.

The economy was as good as I imagined.  I found a job within 3 weeks at a crazy busy design firm in San Antonio. I didn’t feel completely settled yet, but I was ready to jump in.  The vibes were different from the beach though. I traded in my flip-flops for black pumps, and my jeans for dress pants.  Although I was stressed out 24/7, I tried to keep a laid back attitude.  It was hard for me when that outlook wasn’t accepted or understood. I remember the designer I worked for literally saying to me, “Aren’t you freaking out??”. Umm yes, I was inside. Being miserable was the norm around there, so if you were happy it must mean you weren’t working hard enough.  I felt like I couldn’t be me. I felt like I couldn’t celebrate design or have a life. I felt like a robot, cranking out work with no emotion. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t rocket science.  It was interior design.  After 2 years of that crap, I took my life back, realizing I never would want to climb up that company ladder.

Instantly, a huge weight had been lifted. My job search efforts led me to 2 offers.  I decided to take the more unconventional one, working from home and in Austin.  I couldn’t have made a better decision.  Michelle is the most understanding and fun person. She gave me my creativity back, and in a sense, my life. I’ve learned more about design and really myself than I have in recent times. We work hard and we play hard, which has always been my philosophy. Austin is such a creative and inspiring hub, pushing the limits with design. It’s exactly what I needed.

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Working at home has helped rejuvenate me.  Of course if you’re going to work from home, you most definitely need to be organized, or else it doesn’t work out too well.  As I’m attempting to downsize my collection of books, samples, and other stuff, guess what I stumble upon?  Those 2 books. Flipping through those fabrics took me back 8 years. I went back through the journey and relived what has become my story.  I became emotional, but in that moment I didn’t understand why.  I can finally say I’m inspired in the way I as back then. I really didn’t want to part with the books, I cut out some of my favorite fabrics out of them.

Sometimes I wonder if leaving Florida was the right move.  I still feel like my heart is there.  Like maybe it’s the place I’m still meant to be.  But deep down I know there are no mistakes.  Everything happens for a reason. I’ve gained so much knowledge here in Texas. I’ve learned what I want to be like, and what I don’t want to be like in my career.  Some of our friends living in Florida seem to think we’ll end up there again one day.  Who knows. Maybe we will.  But what I do know is that I’m just so eternally grateful to be part of the career field I’m in.  I’m happy I stuck with it.  I’ve been a good mixture of lucky and blessed in my life, sharing it all with some great people along the way.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and look forward to where the future will take me.

there are no mistakes only opportunities.  - tina fey

welcoming in a new decade

Leading up to my 30th birthday, many thoughts crossed my mind.  I’m not getting any younger.  My epic 20’s are over.  I’m OLD now.  Ugh.  Obsessing about this end of an era so to speak, was inducing a pre-30 panic attack.  Why was this age so hard for me to accept?  Is it because I’m young at heart?  Or just afraid of truly growing up?  Really, where have the last 10 years went?

Instead of freaking out over my impending doom, I took a moment to look back at the last decade.  It is truly remarkable how many amazing things I have done:

I graduated college.

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Moved down to Florida with $1000 and an air mattress to my name.  What could be possibly more exciting (or stupid) than that?

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Married my soul mate.

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Began a career that I’m truly blessed to be a part of.  My design mentor, Kim, gave me my first chance as an intern at the age of 22!

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I’ve faced all kinds of fears (and geez I didn’t realize it before, but I think I’m afraid of everything).

I went on a trip by myself to Louisiana to do volunteer hurricane relief work with United Way.  I made friends there and grew stronger.

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More recently, I climbed a ladder for the very first time.

I became Lady Gaga.

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We moved across the country again, this time to Texas.  Finally a taste of the big city life.

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Ran my first race.

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Bought a house.

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Life has been so incredibly good to us.  It’s amazing what a little perspective can do.  Eating that piece of humble pie and counting my blessings really helped me see it all in a whole new light.

I’m realizing I couldn’t have done these things without the help of others.  Sure it comes from within, but you need others to achieve goals.   It seems like I’ve become this person who is always trying to do it all myself.  I hate asking for help or feeling like I’m burdening someone else.  More than anything, I think I don’t like feeling like I’m not strong enough to do something on my own.  But as time goes on, I’m realizing just how much you need others in life, and how much they need you too.quote about asking for helpIndependence is key also.  My husband has been on a ton of work trips lately, and although I hate when he leaves, I’ve embraced the alone time.  We all need it sometimes to find ourselves.

Speaking of finding myself,  I realized I dreaded 30 for so long because I thought I’d “have it together” by the time I hit this age.  I pictured myself with kids.  Head honcho in my career.  Older.  Wiser.  Perhaps (slightly?) more mature.  I imagined a me that would be able to keep a plant alive for longer than 2 weeks.  One that isn’t so forgetful. Or scatterbrained.  At times, I really think I had more ambition and drive fresh out of college.  You have these big dreams when you’re in your early 20’s.  You’re ready to take on the world.   Then as time goes on – wa wa wa – real life happens.  You get caught up in the day-to-day.  You get comfortable.  And in my case, I let it get the best of me so many times.   I let others get in my head.  But I’m realizing this WAS my downfall, not my future.   If I want extraordinary, I cannot settle for less.  I must open my heart and mind to new experiences, possibility of failure, and criticism.

Measuring success quote

Through it all, I’m realizing success is measured in different ways – not these concrete milestones you set for yourself at a young age.  The older I get, the bigger my goals get.  And the bigger the goals, the harder they are to achieve.  It can be intimidating, tiring, and frustrating.  I’m relearning patience and understanding.  The hardest thing for a proactive person to embrace is that sometimes the timing just isn’t right.  As much as you may want something, you can not force it.   If it hasn’t happened yet, there’s a reason.  I used to think “well what am I doing wrong?”, but I’ve changed it to “What can I be doing differently?  What can I be doing everyday to get to the end result?”  We can’t control what happens to us in this life, we can only control how we respond.

I woke up on November 17th just as I did any other day.  Nothing earth-shattering happened at 12 midnight.  I did not turn into a pumpkin.  Or get like 50 gray hairs overnight.  I did not feel instantly older. But I did have a realization.  With each passing day I am getting older.  I cannot stop time.  That’s why it’s so important to live in the present, be thankful for all the blessings, and look forward to what the future holds.  I’m finally ready to shut the chapter on my 20’s because there are so many memories left to make! C’mon life, bring it!