Summertime, anyone? It’s June 1, and in my mind, that’s the unofficial start of the summer season. As a kid, it was always the beginning of three months of pruny fingers from too many hours in the water, hot mountain adventures, and maximum book and popsicle consumption. As an adult, I’ve realized it’s all too easy let summer pass while we’re in offices and going about our regular routines. Intentionality is key, I’ve learned. I don’t have big, exotic trips planned for this summer (buying a new home is taking priority over that), but I’m going to grab every summery opportunity — pick up every shell, plan more backyard barbecues, stay up late too many times, dine outside as much as possible, paddle board all the time, hop on as many impromptu trips as possible and enjoy it all with the people I’m blessed to have in my life.
I made a little list that I’ll update and add to throughout the season. What are your plans for this lovely summer?
Things I’m looking forward to this summer
Collecting sand dollars on the Pismo seashore at sunrise.
Spending at least three nights in a row by the ocean.
Camping with friends.
Frolicking in flower fields with cameras in hand.
Buying a new home.
Learning that new home.
Hanging the hammock.
Cooking and sharing fresh summer meals with friends.
Becoming a farmers market regular.
Paddling. Lots of it.
Getting cozy at a drive-in.
Making a summer reading list.
Perfecting a new iced coffee recipe.
Exploring Nevada City.
Sitting on picnic blankets and under trees at summer concerts.
Running a mile without stopping.
Picking blackberries until my fingers are stained.
Growing things from seed.
Tucking my feet into sun-soaked sand for as long as it takes to start and finish a good book.
Making movie nights happen.
Learning to propagate succulents and other plants.
Five Senses Monday was a series I did for many years as way to reflect on the comings and goings of the last few days. I was inspired by other bloggers who did similar series’, and I would love for you to play along in the comments, on your own blog or on your Instagram.
Tasting: A friend’s most amazing pasta sauce made from tomatoes and bell peppers blackened over the fire. Lemony goodness in a random, Googled cookie recipe that has turned into a favorite. Bleu cheese — so much bleu cheese.
Smelling: My vegetable soup in the Instant Pot, my slight attempt to meal prep on this long weekend. Solace Essence by ambre blends, a fragrance I happy tracked down with a friend and am still getting whiffs of occasionally. Campfire smoke leftover in two-day hair.
Seeing: My sweet friends’ faces over this long weekend. Thankful for an impromptu movie date, many clinking cheers, a taco night, a backyard barbecue, bad comedy at a good winery, a roadtrip just for breakfast, girl talk in the hot tub, open-house hunting and long, lingering walks — all with some of my favorite people.
Feeling: Blessed. For what I have. And what’s to come, even if I don’t know exactly what that is yet.
Hearing: ASMR. Have you listened yet? I know so many people who use it to go to sleep, but I find that I’m just too intrigued to drift off.
Nearly three years ago, I bought my first home. I am still here, in the place with the red door that I walked through that July with boxes overstuffed with books and art supplies, plastic tubs of clothes and a Fiddle Leaf fig tree with only one sad leaf. I did it, I told myself in those first days. I paid for it with just a few bits of savings that I didn’t know could really get me anything. I was terrified to do this solo, yet oh-so-excited. It was nothing too fancy, just 900-square-feet of condo space to be quiet, to unpack, to unfold me – a place I had prayed for, for a long, long time.
I covered the walls in a few coats of paint, thanks to friends willing to stand on a 16-foot ladder to reach to the top of the vaulted ceiling that has come to be one of my favorite things. I braved the spiders outside – mostly their thick, dirty webs – housed in the old tiki covering on the balcony – by myself. It was a real girl power, “I can do anything you can do” moment. One of those moments where you’re not sure if the next thing to do is take a Rosie-the-Riveter-inspired selfie or cry in the shower or both (likely both). Those moments happened. Sometimes more than I wanted. Like when the roof leaked and I did my own not-so-perfect patch-and-repair job. Or when $30 worth of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser cabinet-scrubbing only led to me needing to repaint them entirely. It happens.
I spent a lot of time tinkering. Filling shelves. Emptying shelves. Filling them again with new treasures. Pinterest was the culprit many times. Like the time (or few times) I uncorked a bottle of wine at 10:30 at night and let YouTube guide me in the mastering of mint-green chalk paint. I dragged a dresser into my dining room and went about brushing coats of paint across every crevice. (Later learning that you must seal chalk paint or it will chip away and you will obsess over those chipped spots for at least 15 months). There were lots of lessons learned.
In this home, there were also lots of candles burned. Soups made. Cauliflower-crust pizzas constructed. Gallons of coffee – hot and iced and cold brewed – consumed. Nieces and nephews painted succulent pots on the kitchen table that a woodworker friend crafted. Laundry was often left in the washer too long. So much chatter happened between girls curled up on the couch. Tears were plenty – but just as often happy as they were sad. Leaves on plants grew just as wild as my love for them did. Countless Netflix, Hulu and Prime shows were binged (hello, Stranger Things and Downtown Abby, to name two of a million). Fourth of July fireworks over the lake were watched from my stoop.
In this neighborhood, I often walked to the lake, making sure to Snapchat every sunrise and sunset. I walked to the Thai place with the amazing coconut milk soup that, for three years, has been my elixir for every sore throat and dreary day. And I have on more than one occasion walked home from the piano lounge across the street after a shared bottle – er, let’s be honest, bottles – of Audelyn Wine.
I loved – do love – my home. Still, like every great romance, there were times that I found it hard to connect. I didn’t always give my home the quality time it required. I spent – do spend – a lot of time with friends, in their own homes, binging shows on their couches, making dinner in their kitchens. I’ve wondering if I’ve doing home-ownership wrong. But now, I don’t think so. Connecting and sharing time, space and a meal with people that I love is one of my favorite things. I decided to allow myself that.
That, though, does afford some sacrifice. My own groceries often spoil before I’m home to eat them them (I’ve had to stop buying riced cauliflower; if you miss expiration by one day, one swift swing of the fridge door will fill the house with a fowl stench). My laundry sometimes piles up more than I’d like. And if I’m balancing a heavy load at work, along with relationships, home is sometimes only a place where I crawl into an unmade bed for a few hours. And that’s ok. It’s always been a soft spot to land, a place that embraces me as I need it. It’s forgiving.
But just like that, here we are. At the end.
I put my home on the market this month.
The other day, a photographer dissected my home with a wide-angle lens. My home – with its weird, eclectic-ness that mimics my brain – is on the internet, gaining more and more clicks every day. Everyone can see the fridge I wallpapered with Instagram photographs circa 2016. My crazy plant lady room. The not-so-perfect gallery walls. Stacks of books and journals. The little spot on the wall dedicated to a dear friend and the art she created before the melanoma took her. It’s all right there in plain sight. I’m told this home feels comfortable and warm and is filled with love. And that’s true, that’s all intentional. Still, it’s been unexpectedly vulnerable for me, in an odd way that the girl who blogged her life for a decade feels a little … exposed.
Three years ago, I was terrified to commit to this space. What if my bank account doesn’t agree with my decision? What if a pipe decides it wants to burst and flood every room? What if a tree blows over and crashes through my bedroom? Or what if the tenants I inherited for a few days get angry and rip out every single door, cabinet, pipe and fixture just because they’re upset I’m moving in to their man cave and filling it with candles and plants? (That really was a valid concern).
Those feels and fears are back again, but only in faint whispers this time. And this time, there’s excitement in the movement, in knowing there’s some momentum. There’s peace in the prayers – in smart planning, too. It does help that I have a miracle worker of a realtor/life planner/financial planner/friend. You have to hold my hand, I told her. Can you explain the big picture again, I’ve had to ask. And she does.
That. That makes all the difference.
Now, we have our eyes open for the next thing. My next home. One to fill with plants and art and dear friends. I don’t know where or what it will be just yet, but we’re close. And as bittersweet as it is to let go of this first home of mine, I know that next one and all of the others to follow are more adventures waiting, more chances to grow and more opportunities to create home.
It’s been a while, friends, and quite a lot has happened:
My sweet Sara pup, whose soft eyes and lioness mane grace so many camping and paddling photos in this space, passed away this past January at the age of 14. She was — still is — my heart. I miss her terribly.
I told you before I bought a new home. I did, and now I am uprooting again and playing the real estate game. It’s fun. Exciting. It gives me that feeling of momentum, things are stirring. A real estate photographer took pictures in my home yesterday, and it feels like one of the most exposed and vulnerable things I have ever done. It is weird.
I fell in love with macrame. I love others’ finished projects more because I’m not that great. I did make a macrame shelf during the Super Bowl, and it gets a lot of compliments.
I went blonde. And now I’m trying to fix that mess.
I gave up Starbucks. 97 percent of the time.
I stuck mostly to iPhone photography and used my DSLR, like, once.
I thought about coming back here to share my words and get my thoughts out, though I was never able to get that far. There has been a lot of thinking and working and sidetrack-being. I find myself craving – needing – a place for words and thoughts. I do hope I keep finding that release here.
I’ve read and listened to a lot of books. I’m recently obsessed with “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware. It is a mix of incredible life advice with some of the most poignant and touching outlooks/writing I’ve read in a while. It hit me where I needed it as I scrubbed cabinets.
I’ve learned God puts people in your path when you need them. And it’s amazing and soulful one of my favorite things.
A momma bird had babies in a nest on my balcony three years in a row. I watched the babies finally flutter, flutter, flutter their wings for the first time this week. Now, they’re gone. I hope the next owner lets them come back a fourth year.
There were some things I would skip next time. Bad wine. Losing touch. Saying that thing. Not painting my cabinets. Going out with that guy. Skipping drinks to work later. Not taking that weekend trip. Spending that much at Marshalls/Hobby Lobby. Strappy sandals that make your ankles bleed. Bubblegum ice cream. Fondu meats.
There’s been learning – a whole lot of it.
I’m excited to come share some these things with you. I do hope you are still here and willing to stick around.
My jaw is dropped at the fact that tomorrow is the last day of July 2018. I’m sure yours is hanging to your chest, too, because that’s the response I get from just about everyone when the topic of time comes up. It all just flies. I haven’t been here, in this little blogging world of a space, all year. How is that? Do Instagram captions and work emails take up all the extra words and typing power? It’s possible, I suppose.
This time, I think I’ll be back for good. Not because I have to. But because I want to. Because it’s calming. Because I had two choices when I walked through my door tonight: To turn on my own laptop and blog or my work laptop and wrap up projects from today so that I feel better tomorrow. Today, the latter finally lost.
2018 has be a whew! sort of year. I’ll probably touch on some of it in later blog posts. I want to share all the happy moments so they inspire you and remind you that there is good even when we’re not so sure where. And to remind me, too.
Friends, how are these last drifting days of summer treating you? Have you walked barefoot in grass so much that it seems the whites of your feet are stained greet? Have you binged on more Netflix — or homemade ice cream — than you can handle? Have you sat outside long after the sun has faded, talking with your people whose beautiful faces are lit by those strung lights you almost didn’t hang? I hope so. I really hope so.
Summer, for me, has meant letting my toes soak in rivers and lakes and hot tubs so long that they get soft and wrinkly. It means floating out to where the people aren’t and picking sweet blackberries while balancing on stand-up paddle boards. It’s been lily pads and conversations with friends and pretending I’m Huck Finn.
Thank you, Andrea, for being my paddle sista. I love knowing that if I call you, you’ll come to the lake and hop on the back of my board just for the sake of paddling out to see a pretty sunset.
My dad’s garden sprouted pumpkins he’s never planted, even though he’s had a garden in this same spot for over a decade.One of my best friends saw two of her beautiful daughters get married this year. I’m so glad I’ve been able to be a part of it.Working girls out for lunch. This was Kelli’s first day back from maternity leave. Because, coffee.Movie night with some of my favorite youngsters:
I have a Sacramento thrifting route. This is just one of the stops:Former coworkers got married last month, and it was a great excuse to get the newsroom family together again.Bananas were turning brown, so I made banana bread. Of course.Pups and plant love:My friend was out of town for a few days, so her kiddos and I made her a banner – “Welcome Home Sunflower” – and got her sunflowers.