...be sure to wear some flowers in your hair...
I'm outta here my pretties! Headed WEST, back to the old apartment on 955 Burnett Street in San Francisco. I'm so excited I can't even stand it. We haven't been back since we lived there 15 years ago and truth be told, it was such a short stint that some days it feels more like a dream than reality.
...for those who come to San Francisco...
I'll be back with photos and inspiration from Carmel to San Francisco, my honey bear in tow.
It's not everyday the hubs and I get away, just the two of us. We can reminisce about the last time we cruised this magnificent coast, top down, with the whole world out in front of us.
Mike and I circa 1996
And to cap it off, it's my birthday weekend. Oh how I love birthdays! ...summertime will be a love-in there
Jenny from the rock
*black and white image of girl bolting out of town via Pinterest
I've been trying for months to organize all my photos and mementos and came across this post card you sent me in college. I cherish it and will admit, most days feel pretty emerald, all thanks to you, Dad and the rest of the village that raised me. I sent it to Jackie and the response was instant, "you're there, mom was right!" But then the days come where I just really want my Mom and nothing else matters.
This week is tough. No hiding it. Every year I try to navigate the storm better but its inevitable. I was out running the other day thinking it's happening, I'm going dark. The clouds are overhead and I can start to feel the sadness and the feeling sorry for myself. I hate the feeling sorry part. Tough rocks Jen! There are far worse off. Meanwhile Mike's trying so hard to be the perfect husband and that just makes me want to cry more. I miss you! As life goes rambling by, the ups, the downs, the drama, I sit and think DAMN I would love to know what Mom is thinking right now. You always knew just what to say and that was that - end of story.
Mom and Aunt Kathy in Grandma's dining room circa 1969.
I'm sorry I forgot to wear the long white gloves on my wedding day. I cannot believe Jackie and I both missed that. You practically made us wear them to Prom to be "just like Jackie O." I still wonder where my baptismal gown is. I would of loved it for Jack and Sophia but its ok. They can start a new one for their children. Shortly after you passed, Aunt Kathy sent me a book entitled Motherless Daughters and I remember reading how it "helps to start new traditions" although easier said than done when you were the centerpiece of all of them. I hung on to the pages in that book like I was hanging on for my life.
Here's to Mom being a good Catholic...surprise you're pregnant with number three!
My goodness you were talented. Growing up I remember thinking my Mom can do ANYTHING! I wish I had half your magic but honestly I'm just happy I had you. You made us feel so special, always doing things for us in your own extremely creative and unique way. When we went away to state competition and all the parents were asked to make special pillow cases, yours was so far and away, that I felt sorry for everyone else. I can remember teachers stopping me in the hallway on the first day of school to admire this year's "jumper" you'd sewn for me. Even the cupcakes you brought to class were the bomb. The best-looking orange frosted "pumpkins" with their m and m eyes, candy corn nose and licorice lace mouths or the pink frosted valentine ones with the perfect (not a red sugar sprinkle out of place) hearts from a homemade stencil you'd cut from cardboard. I tried those. Not so easy! Everything you touched was instant gold. I have fond memories of people saying, "we know whose daughter you are" whenever I did anything remotely artistic and I'd just smile not yet realizing the magnitude of just how lucky I was to have a Mom like you.
Panty hose? Really? And that's just the start...
Dad is due down here in a few days and its hard for him still. He cries a lot Mom. Must be where I get it from. Especially when he sees Jack and Sophia cutting it up, loving each other. Jack has the cry bug too. He said to me one night, bawling, barely able to catch his breath, "I hate that I'm so emotional." Sweet baby. It's because you have a beautiful heart Jack.
Poor guy cried his little heart out last week when he heard his best bud is moving out of state. We just sat there on the stairs, rocking back and forth and I thought of all the times I laid my head on your lap and you'd stroke my hair until I finally calmed down. Thank you for that. I felt so safe.
Not our best hair days ;-)
Honestly Mom, I'm in denial about Jack and Sophia never knowing their Grandmother. I try not to let my mind go there. I need to do a better job of telling them more about you and I need to do a better job myself! There is so much I do not know still. The more I find out, the more in awe I am of your journey and how you handled it all. It truly is a story of love and triumph.
We just love you Mom. We miss the enormous presence you had in our lives. We miss your cooking, your voice, your smell. I can count on one hand the number of times I've dreamed about you and woke up SO HAPPY because I heard your voice again! On a good day, I'll open up your Tatiana powder puff and treat myself to your scent. It still smells like you after all these years! I daydream, if given the chance to eat one more meal, what would it be? Right now I'm really craving your chop suey. I polled the fam...
Dad: "lasagna, swiss steak and mashed potatoes, fell apart with a fork! And her oven fried chicken"
Jackie: "Thanksgiving dinner. Her turkey was the best! The gravy, stuffing and cauliflower casserole. Best meal ever!!! Oh and my fav the mash potatoes!!!!"
Jimmy: "lasagna with meatloaf running a close second"
Even my friends will chime in and ask me to make your Asian chicken wings or botanas. I think I'm going to have to make both this week. I'm starving right now thinking about it.
You know looking back and comparing today's life to then, our family didn't have much and that is the beauty. You managed a charmed childhood with very little and there in lies the magic of motherhood. I still to this day cannot get Jack and Sophia's Christmas stockings half as exciting as ours were growing up (the stockings were my favorite part!). Thank you for staying up all night to give us those magical mornings. Making us wait at the top of the stairs until your "movie" camera was ready with that big bright light. We could not see a thing running down! Thank you for coloring Easter eggs with us every year, hiding them in the best spots and our baskets overflowing. Easter was another time of year I'd get to model a new skirt you made for me to wear to Church. My favorite was the pink floral because it had a good spin to it, nice and big when I did a twirl. Birthday parties in the backyard on a blanket were always good enough for me!
Olivia Newton-John. My hero.
In short Mom, you are my hero and always will be. To me, this day will always be about you. Happy Mother's Day my sweet angel Mom in heaven!!!
Love your daughter,
p.s. Thanks for the name. I love it! Soph does too!
I recently found this picture of my childhood bedroom and wanted to share for several different reasons.
For starters, are you kidding me with my sponge paint border experiment in turquoise and mauve? Kills me! Though I gotta hand it to Mom and Dad for allowing me to express myself. Lucky for them their bedroom was downstairs, out of sight, out of mind I guess.
Secondly, the sole purpose of taking this picture was a shot of my new bike that I saved all summer lifeguarding for. At that point in my totally-broke-college-kid life, it was the nicest and most valuable thing I owned.
Thirdly, the purpose of this short and sweet post. If you look very closely in the right of the antique dresser's mirror, you'll see this...
A gift from my 8th grade catechism teacher. My sweet niece Jadie bug had her First Communion last weekend and it had me thinking about growing up in the Catholic Church and how special First Communion and Confirmation were.
You've already heard the story of Mom insisting we wear the ring of daisies on our head instead of the veil and how DREADFUL this reality was until I decided just go with it Crum- your Sister did it, you can do it.
I remember getting cards stuffed with twenties, the dining room table covered in lace, a huge cake and this "totally awesome" canopy bed for my dollhouse love Grandma and Grandpa that I have saved for Sophia. Banner day on Sheeks Boulevard.
Back to the card. I've been carrying it around in my wallet for twenty plus years and to this day I read it often when I'm feeling down and need a reminder of my purpose on this wild and wonderful journey. I think everyone can appreciate the message regardless of your beliefs.
I asked God for strength that I might achieve I was made weak, that I might learn to obey I asked for health, that I might do great things, I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have men's praise. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life. I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything that I hoped for. I am among all men, most richly blessed!
I wonder if my catechism teacher, Mrs. Grabowski, had any idea that some of us would still be carrying them around today.
I said to myself, if I survived this week, I would write it all down, go back and perhaps be amazed right? It's Friday morning as I type this and all I can say is Mama's TIRED. Busy weeks can be daunting. But at the same time very satisfying knowing you crammed as much life into five days as you possibly could. I definitely gave it my best shot and thought why not put it to pictures.
I love mail because you never know when a surprise might show up like beautiful old pictures and newspaper articles of your Angel Mother via your Aunt Judy. Thank you Aunt Judy! XOXO.
So when I came across the above photo, in a magazine ad of all places, I couldn't believe how much it looked like our Sophia. Even funnier, I texted it to my husband and he was like "What a beautiful picture of you and your Mom, did your Aunt send this?" Hah. I wish it were me or Soph.
Kicked things off Monday staging a client's home for their big party today. We rearranged with a lot of pieces they already had and added a pair of these new shiny mirrors from Lowe's. I love how they bring some bling to the space and at $85 a piece.
The below photo is the leather sofa that sat lonely in their playroom. All the pillows gathered here were scattered about the house (living room, guest bedroom, closet) and brought together for a winning combo. The trunk was the old coffee table, just a wee bit big for the space, so we swapped it with a smaller table that wasn't getting a lot of play in a far corner. This is my favorite thing about designing, using what you already have in new ways.
Ring the school bell and its off to pick up my chickens. Grab some decent drive thru (yeah right) and walk to piano lessons. Exhausted from moving furniture all morning, I manage a solid 20 minute cat nap and wait for the marks to wear off my cheek and arm before heading to Family Science Night because "Its terrific to be scientific".
Tuesday was booked solid for a "shop with Jen" day I offer. We found all kinds of treasures including these vintage hat stands. I thought these would make great objects d'art in a Thomas O'Brien kind of way.
I can't stop thinking about this banged up shelf and picture it mixed with fancy glass. I love mixing old and new, rusty with shiny, etc.
Back home for more piano then off to baseball where my son's team lost a heartbreaker and I sat there thinking how is it possible that little arm can throw such heat? One more errand to the grocery store and timber into bed.
Woke up on hump day to the harsh reality that it was a wash and blow out my hair day a.k.a actually brush it. Tisk, tisk. I was headed down to the Atlanta Decorative Arts Building, commonly known as ADAC, to hear the great Charlotte Moss and Suzanne Kasler speak. My lid had to be looking good.
WOW is all I can say about these two stars. There is something about sitting captivated, listening to two very wise, successful and adorable women speak that makes you think I LOVE MY JOB.
Charlotte Moss is fierce and all about breaking the rules. Our kinda gal. Her presentation was full of wonderful quotes from icons including Coco Chanel and Diana Vreeland (yes I totally dig that the famous editor of Vogue and queen of style shares the same last name as Mom, surely somehow we must be related ;-)).
In my notes I wrote down, "find old manual typewriter" from the two minute video Charlotte showed us HERE. Why? For that great clicking sound, the font and impression it makes on paper and the wonderful memories I have of my Grandmother sitting at her electric IBM typing out death certificates for the family business funeral home that I would run downtown to file at the City County Building in Detroit. Thank you Grandma for trusting me to do that and giving me the experience of seeing downtown daily life! Detroit was never a hustle and bustle place after five but during the work day it was like catching a small glimpse of what big city life is like.
"People that have style, have it and it pervades every single aspect of their life"
- Charlotte Moss
I also made a note to read Diana Vreeland's column "Why Don't You?" for Vogue and one more quote Mom and I swore by...
"Don't confuse the money with the style is the point I'm trying to make. You know and I know money doesn't make style"
- Charlotte Moss
Suzanne Kasler was THE sweetest, most soft spoken, totally wanna hug woman. She made you feel so alive about your passion to create. "As a designer you get to create those things...you get to make those decisions...your home is your canvas, your laboratory".
Suzanne took us on a tour of her home, you can see in its entirety HERE, and told us where and why she did things, put things, bought things. It was mega interesting for us designer folks. Her mantra is a home should feel collected, not decorated and to buy what you love. You will find a place for it, promise!
I so enjoyed her story about the stone pool building in this picture, that houses the pool equipment (lucky you equipment). Everyone said it was a bad idea, don't do it and I took comfort in knowing that even the GREAT Suzanne Kasler has to deal with people trying to talk her out of her own ideas. But she stuck to her guns and said its everyone's favorite thing about the back yard. Stick. to. your. guns.
In between we popped into some beautiful showrooms including Jerry Pair. A girl can dream gorgeous! And came across this sweet thing in another. I am so ready for a dog.
Also spotted a great looking pair of rubies! Love that heel.
Then it was back home by two to pick up those chickens again and get ready for my Red Handed Style/Stella Dot/let's treat ourselves party which is always a blessing. Lots of exciting things going on with my friends right now, particularly a wedding coming up next month. Yeah!
I picked up this I'll-go-anywhere number for $15 small ones and paired it with a "vintage" stella and dot necklace.
The big seller were these gorgeous earrings you can buy HERE.
Thursday I hit the pavement to sweat out the toxins and then treated myself to a much needed hair cut and mani/pedi (I have to get the name of this OPI color I'm coveting bc I wanna paint a room this color). Couldn't put off my dirty kitchen any longer and stood there with a big ole question mark on what's for dinner.
Friday morning work was back on as I packed the truck and make a run through the Queen of Hearts for some items on the hit list. A lot caught my eye, some of it HERE. Spent an hour visiting and styling a client's house and head back to pick up the kids feeling a little like Fred Flintstone sliding down his dinosaur at quittin time. Cheers to the freakin weekend, I'll drink to that yeah, yeah.
All in all, it was a full one! I still need to deliver directories to every single home in my hood and volunteered thinking its a good lesson for my children to see Mama doing her part. I have vivid memories of Mom taking me door to door to petition signatures for the local water supply when I was very young and its always stuck with me. I grew to appreciate it more and more.
Here's to crossing the finish line and happy derby cinco de mayo day! Don't forget to rock that big hat!