December 31, 2017

Books I Read in 2017

I read 25 books in 2017. Every minute that I was reading was one minute that I wasn't scrolling Instagram on my phone until my hand goes numb and my heart goes bitter. I'm hoping for even more of those iPhone-free moments in 2018.

Obviously, I have a major affection for YA lit (if you have recs, throw them at me) and have also been reading up on the Outer Banks and in particular, its littlest island, Ocracoke, because I'm writing some fiction set there. Otherwise, I try to sprinkle in some classics with some trending books and with whatever my mom hands me (she's a retired English teacher and voracious reader who keeps me stocked with the good stuff).

My favorite book of the year: "My Absolute Darling" by Gabriel Tallent was IN-CRED-IBLE, majestic.
Biggest disappointment of the year: "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur. YUCK.

What was the best thing you read this year? 

December 16, 2017

Goodbye, Old House. We Loved You.

Our First Home
I started to write a blog post about all the shit I've done to spiff up my pantry (riveting stuff, I realize), but then figured that I'd be better off starting from the beginning. That means bidding adieu to our old bungalow, which was the subject of so many posts on this blog. The truth is I still haven't found closure. In time, that house became the same as a family member--a living, breathing loved one whom I tried to listen to and nurture into its full potential (albeit with a limited budget, which meant the laminate countertops in the kitchen and the linoleum floors in the master bath had to stay). We'd bought the house a few months after we were married and brought both of our babies home to this house and all that sentimental blah-blah, but I'm telling you, it was more than that. This house needed us. It was always HOME. Just writing that, I'm feeling that tickle in my nose that means I might need to cry.

But, as people do, we came to want more: a little bit more room--primarily, we wanted the girls to have their own rooms--and when we considered the renovations that we wanted to do (and those that we needed to do) it started to feel impossible. All of our equity was tied up in the house, which was substantial since we bought the house when we were babies and the neighborhood (Cleveland Park) was still considered "dangerous" (read: mostly African Americans lived there). At the time, we lived directly across the street from a halfway house, and one of its residents would stand on the sidewalk out front like it was his job, shuffling from one foot to the other, making eye contact with nothing and everything. People made sure to lock their car doors when they came to our house, and they would even do that annoying thing where they double and triple check that it's locked with their key fobs. It was like, Jesus Christ, we get it. We were thrilled to be living there. We felt like children who had been given the keys to their parents' house for the weekend, except it was a weekend that never ended.

We lived there for eight years and put it on the market in October 2015. Within a week it sold sight unseen, for above our asking price, to a couple from New York. The real estate market in Nashville is no joke, so this is more common than you'd think.

We loved you, old house. We're so sorry. I hope one day you can forgive us. Goodbye. (But not really because you know I'll be driving by you again next week.)

December 12, 2017

3 Years Later

Hey, I'm baaack! My New Year's resolution is to start my blog back up. I miss having it, miss the opportunity to write for pleasure (I write all day for work but that's different), and am still knee-deep in house projects all the time and could use a place to obsess over them. Plus, there are family vacations to document, feeeelings about things that need to be written out, and people to offend (because I have a unique gift for that). To break the ice, here are some things that have happened since the last time I posted a blog ... way back in November 2014.

1) We moved. We sold our 1,600-square-foot 1926 bungalow in East Nashville and bought a 2,200-square-foot dream home that was built in 2015 ... also in East Nashville. Because East Nashville for life. This has meant lots of new house projects and paint (usually some variation of blue) under my fingernails. It's fun to add character to a new build that doesn't need any actual renovation, just some zhoozh (I just got that word from Jonathan Adler, who also uses "whilst" instead of "while," btw).

2) Nekos and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. More recently, we celebrated 11 years. Still in love. Still dorks. Still not perfect and cool with it.

3) Livvy turned 3. Then she turned 4. Then 5. She also started pre-K.

4) Tessa turned 5. Then she turned 6. Then 7. She's in second grade now.

5) Our dog Hattie died at age 13. We'd had her since she was one, and she left a big Hattie-shaped hole that we have tried to fill with Grayton, our new dog. He's a shaggy gray and white 35-pound mutt who's less than a year old. He was recently diagnosed with OCD and has to go on doggie Prozac. I love him. Nekos tolerates him.

6) Tessa has also been diagnosed with OCD--about a year ago. We joke that it's in the water at our house, but what it really is is no joking matter. She's in therapy though and doing really well and we've all learned so much about a disorder that we once regarded more like a punch line.

7) I was laid off from my job at the New York-based PR agency I've been with for six years. I spent a couple of months wringing my hands and scrambling to find freelance work to cover it. But then the agency rehired me and promoted me (big sigh). I still work from home, and I still love working from home.

8) I lost 20 lbs. This happened in the last year. Weight Watchers to the rescue again. It was my 35th birthday present to myself.

9) We took our girls for trips to New York City and Key West, and several times to the 30A area of Florida. I took girls' trips to L.A./Santa Barbara and Palm Springs. And Nekos I had some dreamy little getaways to Tulum, New Orleans, Miami and Leiper's Fork. (Thanks, Mom!)

10) A squirrel jumped out of a trash can I had just opened to toss a bag of trash into. I scared the shit out of it apparently--but I refuse to believe it could possibly have been more terrified than I was. It had its arms and legs splayed and its revolting little switchblade fingernails out. He totally landed on my face/neck area. I screamed and flung him off of me. It ran away. I'm still not over it. The end.