back to design

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I’ve been a bit secretive and quiet on social lately, but I can finally share some news with you! A few months ago, I took on a very exciting interior design project – a dream job. Many of you may not be familiar with my design work, as I don’t share that aspect of my life here as much, but I’m hoping to change that. I’ve been in the business for 20 (gasp) years now and branched out on my own in 2007. It’s been a wild ten years of entrepreneurship, with many ebbs and flows, but I’m so very grateful to be making a living doing what I love. This project came along at just the right moment, as the kids have finally reached their school years, and I have a bit more time on my hands (emphasis on a bit). Designing an entire home, especially one as grand as this, is a challenge that I readily embrace, and look forward to sharing with you.

Having lived in Pennsylvania for seven years now, I’ve become deeply enamored with the history, art, and architecture of this region. I’ve walked in Wyeth’s footsteps, toured historic homes, and attended quite a few preservation fairs. Designing a stone farmhouse has been on my interiors bucket list longer than I can remember, and this home checks that box in a big way. Adding to my delight is the fact that I had the honor of helping my (amazing) clients select the Okie-inspired home. As a designer and proud Pennsylvanian, I have a great admiration for architect Brognard Okie’s work, and this home was meticulously designed and built to capture the spirit and character of his renowned properties. I can’t wait to infuse this incredible space with a modern edge, while respecting and maintaining it’s historic charm. More to come!

our kindergarteners

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Marie and Henry started (half-day) kindergarten this week…I’m still in shock. They are on the fresh side of five and have literally been by my side for five years straight – this is a huge new chapter for all of us. It’s the end of an era, which is hard to accept, and hurts my heart a bit…I think any mama can relate to that. In order to help us all prepare for the transition, we commemorated the occasion with a photo shoot the day before school started. I set my sights on a bus lot near our home: no gate, no “keep away” signage…it was begging to be featured on a blog! For the record, the doors were open: we didn’t touch or enter one (that’s unlawful). Ironically, the kids will be car riders this year, but their fascination with buses and willingness to humor me made for some pretty great photo opportunities. Not to mention, a certain little lady had her very first haircut, and it was a major one! A photo shoot was practically (hashtag) obligatory.

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bon weekend

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“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

Benjamin Franklin

The day after I shared this image on Instagram of an everyday mantra in our home, the disgusting white supremacist rally and subsequent attack in Charlottesville happened. It rendered me speechless to be honest, and left me feeling a bit hopeless. Then I saw this tweet from Mark Ruffalo on Twitter and realized…I’m not doing enough. I’m not doing enough to resist this presidency. I’m not doing enough to resist hate, and assist love. A few days later many bloggers were able to articulate their thoughts so eloquently, which I’ve linked to below, as well as some direct action links. I’m checking my privilege, educating my children, and channeling my rage into action (and not just sheetcaking). Silence is approval.

BON WEEKEND

this tee supports the splc

thoughts on white supremacy

bedtime stories about race + social justice

balancing silence + action and creating safe spaces

summer in the poconos

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kids

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We spent our summer vacation at our favorite local lake (and house)…it was our fourth year at Lake Naomi! I get emotional looking back at previous years – I seriously cannot believe Henry + Marie are five. I unplugged as much as possible, and rarely checked social media. That ‘s a tall order for most of us these days, but for me especially since it’s partly what I do for a living. The time off was so refreshing, and our days were filled with fun and memory making. Things I don’t want to forget about this year include (but are not limited to): watching the kids as they bravely navigated the pool during swim lessons, eating fresh blueberries on the beach, family kayaking, rainy day monopoly + movie night, sandy showers, bunny spotting, long lazy afternoons, and a lantern-lit date night. It was family quality time at it’s seasonal best.

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lake reflections

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I had a lot of time to reflect during our vacation, and had an epiphany (or two, or three). It’s amazing how much clarity can come from a digital detox – I highly recommend it. While I had amazing quality time with my husband and children, I also felt compelled to process some deeply emotional issues that I’ve been internalizing for years. Oddly enough, as much peace as I find at the lake, I also find pain….allow me to explain. I spent time every summer from birth until I was thirteen at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, with my extended family. As I was an only child, my Mom (very smartly) planned many family vacations and gatherings so that I would be close with my two cousins. We were very much like siblings – we fought like it, loved like it. I took my first steps holding their hands on the beach there. It was a sacred place for our entire (small) family, and where many of my most beautiful memories were made. I miss Lake Winnipesaukee, and I deeply miss that time of family unity. Much has changed since then, and it causes me a lot of pain at times.

I haven’t been there in twenty-four years (with the exception of a brief visit in 2006). And yet, my memories of it are as vivid as ever. I can still hear the sound of the water gently lapping onto the shore, the wailing of loons (one of the most hauntingly beautiful sounds in the world, in my opinion), and even the wobbly ceiling fan that I was sure would decapitate me every night as I slept. I can still feel the silky wet sand between my toes, smell the horses that were down the road on the walk to get ice cream, and see the storms that would move so quickly across the lake. Every detail about it is cemented into my mind, because it was always a place of peace for me during a time in my life that was ever-changing, challenging, and at times, destructive. I’ll refrain from digging deeper on that subject in this post, but let’s just say my childhood was like a roller coaster – with high highs, and low lows. The lake became an escape for me…a respite from the chaos.

We moved quite a bit for my father’s career (military and beyond), and there were only two places in the world that felt like home to me –  my grandparents home, and the lake. One was taken from me physically (when my grandfather passed and his house was sold), and the other metaphorically (I haven’t been invited, and have even been denied a stay, when I asked begged to visit after Henry and Marie were born). I wanted (and want) so badly to introduce my children to a place I hold so dear. It’s not mine, but it has ownership of my heart, as if it was. I’ve struggled with that greatly – to understand it’s hold on me, and also what “home” means to me. How can latitudes and longitudes carry so much weight? Without getting into complicated family details, I’ve become estranged with my extended family, partly due to the denied access. In fact, it’s quite possibly become tainted for me because of the turmoil…it’s hard to say for sure without visiting.

I discovered Lake Naomi (in the Poconos) thanks to my friend Chanee in 2013, and immediately felt an odd sense of familiarity there. While very different from Lake Winni, there are enough similarities to make me feel comfortable, and (mostly) at ease. This was our fourth year vacationing there (more on that soon), and we’ve made many treasured memories…I’m so grateful for it. It almost fills the void in my heart, and yet sadly, falls short. I feel like it will always be competing with my first love, and it will never quite live up to it. I’m hopeful that someday, the family will come back together. Someday, I might be able to share that important part of my past, with my husband and children. Until then, I will continue to reflect on the possibility of reconciliation—with my past, my family, and most importantly, with myself.