House Beautiful

Archive for the 'Motivation' Category

California, here I come!

When people go through major life changing events, they usually do things like repaint the living room.  Take a tropical vacation. Chop their hair off… (oh wait, I did that).  But then I also quit my job and went all Under the Tuscan Sun and decided to move to Cali.  Cause why the hay not?

Here’s the thing:  Big scary life changes force you to re-evaluate what makes you happy and ask yourself what you’re really doing with your life.  Big scary life changes also help you grow a pair.  I had a highly coveted, cream-of-the-crop medical sales job that was next to impossible to get.  I worked with the kind of people who feel like your oldest friends after you’ve known them for 5 minutes.  It was a great gig that was feeding my bank account, but not feeding my soul.  Because there was always a lot of this stuff floating around in the back of my mind:

…all of which were amplified by Karrie shouting those poignant quotes into a megaphone next to my ear on a daily basis.  Because right after my “Boycott Tuna, Save the Dolphins” aspiring marine biologist phase passed in the 5th grade, I knew I wanted to be an Interior Designer when I grew up.  I didn’t even really know what that meant… but apparently in high school, it meant Care Bear sheets and bedroom walls wallpapered in magazine clippings.  So hot.

But seriously, here’s what I *did* know: I knew someone’s home was an artful extension of who they are as a person…  Of all the things they love, and all the places they’ve been.  I always understood – even as a tween in braces – that your surroundings have a profound effect on your psyche.  They can either inspire you or bog you down. They can soothe you, invigorate you, or make you nuts.  They can evoke melancholy, or they can envelop you in all things warm and inviting.  I always wanted to be the person who got to create the sort of haven for people that evoked the latter.  But then life took over (as it often does), and by the time I blinked, I was 32.  In a job I was lucky to have, but did not love.  I found myself envying the people who were getting to do what I’d always wanted to do. I found myself spending all my spare time refinishing furniture, agonizing over fabric swatches, repainting the powder room and helping friends redo their houses.  It took ONE serendipitous email from an up-and-coming designer in San Diego and ONE football-field-sized rug being pulled out from under me to tip the scales and prompt me to decide that – BANG – it was time to make a big change.  So… holy $#*+.  Fire up the U-Haul.  Here we go.

Today is bittersweet, because while I love a fresh start and a great adventure (!) I’m also leaving behind a life and a person that I love more than anything.  I will miss having my family so close by, and I will miss my girlfriends in Columbus terribly.  I will miss the cherry tomatoes that grow wild alongside our house in August… that even push their way up through the cracks in the driveway.  I will miss this picturesque, quintessentially Midwestern neighborhood full of shady trees and waving neighbors. I will miss this beautiful house that we became a family in, and where we hosted almost every holiday… these walls were always filled with laughter, warmth, hope, and so much love.  I will miss leaves crunching under my feet in the fall, the smell of bonfires, and football season.  I will miss the garden that we built last Spring, and the jungle of basil I used to make pesto out of in the summertime. And, my God. I will miss him every day.

But maybe Dan in Real Life said it best:

I want to talk to you about the subject of plans… life plans and how we all make them, and how we hope that our kids make good, smart, safe plans of their own. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of our plans don’t work out as we’d hoped. So instead of asking our young people, ‘What are your plans? What do you plan to do with your life?’, maybe we should tell them this: Plan to be surprised.”

Columbus… it’s been real.  California… here I come.

(Get in, Gus!)


Friday Faves

1.  THIS effortless summer get-up (found here).

Basic tank + fun tropical skirt (those shades are also killer).  Perfect for the scorching Arabian-desert-like heat wave we’re having…  The only thing that could make this outfit any better is due scoops of gelato.  Thinking of sporting something like this to the Pearl Jam concert tonight at Wrigley Field.  Yeah gurl.  You heard me right!  I can’t wait to hop my flight to Chicago later today, and take a trip back to the 7th grade.  I hope someone there burns some incense or patchouli.

2.  THIS Paleo pizza I made last night.

Well, there are a few shavings of Pecorino Romano on there (c’mahn – didn’t the cavemen churn cheese?), but all-in-all this is full of fresh veggies and was a delight. And gone in 4 minutes.  I totally wung this one…  is it winged or wung?  Bah, whatever.  Here’s what I did:


  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Dough (1 cup almond flour + 1 egg + 1 TBS olive oil + dash salt – mix thoroughly)…  you won’t be able to roll this, because it’ll be too sticky, so scoop the dough onto a non-stick cookie sheet, and work it into a thin round layer using your fingers.
  • In a small bowl, toss 1 clove fresh minced garlic + a glug of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) + mushrooms (I used a small container of wild ones) – then layer that on the dough.
  • Sprinkle fresh sliced heirloom tomatoes on (I used about 8 – all I could find ripe in the garden).  Sun dried tomatoes would’ve also been lovely.
  • Sprinkle a few leaves of fresh basil.  I cut these with the scissors (classy), but would’ve chiffonade’d them if I’d had more time.
  • Shave a few thin shavings of Pecorino Romano on top…  I love Pecorino because it’s got the consistency of parm, but it’s much spicier.
  • Drizzle top with a little EVOO, sea salt & fresh ground pepper.  Bake 20 minutes.
  • Makes 2 servings.

3.  THIS quote.

Which is such a good reminder, and of COURSE I got it from our most amazing and inspiring friend, Paria.  I know we all have a million things going on and probably a million things we could complain about…  but seriously.  We can all make things a little better for each other, can’t we??  I think I’ll look at it every morning.  Or better yet, hang it on the wall next to the front door and give it a good smack on my way to work every day – à la the Fighting Irish.

4.  My Goodwill scores for the week.

Which include MUCH of the colored glass in our dining vitrine (above).  AND this dining buffet (below) that was…  wait for it…  $19.  I literally threw myself on top of it when I saw it.  This shot shows the gorgeous detail of the doors, but it’s probably 6 ft long.  Going to paint the outside cream, and the inside a Tiffany’s-box-aqua color.  What do you think??

5.  Being featured as a Guest Blogger on Rent the Runway’s lifestyle blog yesterday, and talkin’ all about the makings of a good Stay-cation.

Including a KILLER playlist, some great book recs and our favorite at-home spa secret – among other things.  This is the first in what will be bi-monthly posts for them, but we could NOT be more excited.  Check it out when you have a chance!

Stay cool this weekend!