Posts Tagged ‘home’

Love Letters to Old Homes

home sweet home

It’s finally happening: by the end of this month, I’ll be in a new home. I’ll have packed up my cozy little one-bedroom, thrown out or given away old clothes, books and other possessions and carted everything to a new duplex closer to downtown.

It’s all very exciting, coinciding with big changes in my life: the shedding of an old home coincides with expansions of heart and soul and love, all that juicy good stuff. And at the same time: oy vey, so much overwhelming emotion at the same time! On the day I signed the lease, I remember feeling excited and happy. And then I got home, stood in my bedroom and suddenly my face got hot and pressured and I wanted to bawl like crazy. I hadn’t even moved out yet, and already I missed my old home so much. God, I’m such a Cancer, I thought to myself.

Astro-musings aside, I do feel a strong attachment to spaces, and when it come to major transitions like moving, I am a big-ass baby. The physical process drives me crazy, but it’s nothing compared to the emotional process underlying it. What puzzles people is that my current apartment isn’t amazing by any objective sense of the word — it would never end in Design Sponge or whatever decor porn floats your boat. There’s ugly carpeting, it’s old in a “non-vintage” way, and there are no bougie-charming details. It gets way too hot in the summer and for some.odd reason, only one window in each room opens.

And yet I loved it. I loved the light in the morning; after years of dark NYC apartments, I loved waking up to bright, even morning sunshine, which gave the apartment a nice glow even when it was cloudy out. It was small, but quick to warm or cool so it was actually pretty energy-efficient. It was in a convenient location, about five minutes from various family members. And closets! I had plenty of them!

But the love I bore for the place had very little to do with a list of features: it had to do with the way it made me feel, and the shell of warmth, safety and comfort it gave me to feel like myself fully. That’s the great gift of a home: it’s truly where you feel like you can be yourself, where you can embody yourself with the art on your walls, the books on your shelves, the food in your pantry. It’s where you dream and soothe and burrow and nourish and nurture.

home sweet home

Being a longtime New Yorker and accustomed to using a space as a crashpad, I had never felt this before…and now I’m so loathe to disturb and distress that. I never cared so much about the places I lived when I was in NYC, just as long as they weren’t expensive, were located in a convenient location and not far from a subway. I had my domestic “things” — I always made sure I loved my bed — but overall I knew my presence in a home was always going to be temporary and provisional. Now that I know how much energy and wholeness you draw from a home, sometimes I wonder how different my life would’ve been in NYC if I had had a true refuge and sanctuary to rest and regroup from my adventures — would I have made different decisions? Would I have fought harder to stay? I don’t know.

Of course I know my new place will feel lovely and wonderful once I invest time, love and energy; I know homemaking in the deepest sense of the word is a process that can only take place over time. Time gives the space for emotions, history and memories to invest a home with its emotional warmth and (hopefully) happiness. Until then, I can only feel a little sad and melancholy, feeling nostalgia and affection for a place I haven’t quite left yet.

home sweet home

On Bedside Tables

I love pictures of bedside tables — I think there’s something so tender and intimate about seeing what people sleep in close proximity to. I’m not a religious person, now or ever in the past. And though I’ve always had a sense of something larger, grand and immense out there, I’m loathe to call myself spiritual since I don’t have a daily “practice” of anything. (Except maybe hygiene.) But my bedside table has always functioned as a kind of unintentional altar, carving out space for what I treasure and cherish — things I find comforting and remind me of the larger, more eternal matters of my life, which is apt to get mired in lots of ultimately unimportant minutiae.

What’s on your bedside table? Here’s the current state of mine. There’s always reading matter nearby: I like to read fiction in bed, as well as non-leftbrained-centric nonfiction. Being in bed makes me feel relaxed and dreamy, so I don’t want to read anything that takes me out of that zone. (There’s a copy of Lula magazine in that pile somewhere, too — again on the dreamy tip!) I always keep my journal on my bedside table as well. I’m always writing down dreams and love letters to the universe in there. Of course, every altar needs candles, and I have a few. To be completely hippie-ish, I read that it’s nice to have spots of dark red in the bedroom for all kinds of love-and-passion-ish reasons. I figure, what have I got to lose? Plus, these smell like orange blossom, black cherry and rosewood. There’s a tiny candle, too, that has my favorite room scent in all the world: black pepper and bergamot. It’s just so warm and subtly spicy and fills me with contentment when I smell it. It’s important to feel content in bed, you know?

I keep a copy of The Little Prince as well — that book is just so wonderfully open-hearted and good-spirited, and reading it always reminds of the better things in life. Every time I read it, I feel like a better person. There’s a tiny piece of artwork by artist Andrea Anderson that I got from an art show at erstwhile NYC accessories boutique Clarabella, which is now closed. The image has always resonated me, in a High Priestess of the Tarot card deck kind of way — it evokes something about the Divine Feminine for me, and if there’s ever going to be something I’m going to align myself with, it’s that. And the photograph is taken by my friend Megan of the lilies at Monet’s estate, which I keep because it reminds me of her, and it just feels so peaceful and serene.

Oh! And there’s also a tiny little bottle of Lancome Miracle eau de parfum — it reminds me of my mother, and also of the time when my old roommate in San Francisco bought me a bottle in the first few months of me living there. I was struggling to establish myself and joked that it would take a miracle to find steady work. (The whole dot-com bubble bursting was happening at that time.) She, being the kind soul she is, bought me a bottle to lift my spirits, and lo and behold, a few weeks later I found a client that I still have to this day, actually. So I like to keep a tiny bottle of Miracle to remind me of generosity and the universe’s largesse. And finally, there’s a picture of me and my sweetheart, well, because love is transcendent, and where else are you supposed to put bits of transcendence in your house if not unintentional altars? You should never be far from what you love, and I love that these are the first things I see in the morning, and the last things I take in before I wander into dreams and sleep.


Everyone, just a quick note to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to those who bought , linked to it, tweeted, liked and all the other Internet-enabled gestures that people do to support things these day. I truly appreciate it and feel so surprised and humbled by how kind and generous people are! Please keep your eye on the blog this Thursday or Friday, where I have something fun to announce

Hearth and Home

It’s been a loooong winter, and while I’m usually a fan of snow and doing wintry things, I have to admit that snow near the end of March is kind of a bummer. But I suppose it’s made me appreciate my home a bit more since I’ve had to spend more time in it, as well as appreciated the effort that I’ve put in it to make it cozy and homey since I moved in August.


My Life in Pictures: February 2013

February was a short month, but lingering colds for everyone around me and never-ending snow and greyness made it seem so much longer! So my usually cynical self appreciated Valentine’s Day just a bit more, if only for a mid-month riot of red, roses and chocolate.

Preparations for the day: lavender soap wrapped in happy-colored paper and cute ribbon for presents. I was tempted to buy a little craft kit to make a pink stuffed owl for my niece, but I hesitated and then it sold out! So, yes, just left with ribbon for a project for the day. I wrapped it around a bottle of nice Irish whiskey:

My real “craft project”: I printed up lots of my Instagrams and made them into “art.” Framing things makes them art, and that’s my case and I’m sticking to it: