Archive of ‘Life’ category

New York City

10557373_720595188008097_2029964732994957630_nSince late summer is the slow season for us, it is also the perfect time for one last getaway before the busy holidays. New York City is one of my favorite places on Earth, but we didn’t want to bring the children until we were long out of the strollers and nap time years. We put a ton of planning into the trip, not just because we wanted to show the kids a great time, but because for the first time we decided to leave the shop open with my sister at the helm. photo 2(13)

We went to The Blue Man Group, took a double-decker bus tour of the city, had a special night out at Nobu, and visited tons of museums.

Lilly was a huge fan of the police horses and we had to stop at each one for her to meet them. Nate’s favorite moment was at Blue Man, when a jello mold was catapulted into the audience, hitting me square in the chest before rolling into his lap. We had ‘poncho seats’, which I would highly suggest if you’re seeing the show with 4(10)

An exciting part of our trip was getting the chance to see many of the wonderful people we work with but never met in person.

First we visited the Food 52 offices. Their test kitchen is something out my best Pinterest dreams. Farmhouse sink, reclaimed wood shelving, and a beautiful assortment of vintage kitchenware. photo 2(10)

Next we visited Martha Stewart’s headquarters in Chelsea. Taking up an entire city block with a massive rooftop deck overlooking the river, the offices are vast and white and remarkable. There are glass rooms filled with props, story boards for future issues of her publications, kitchen sets for filming any number of cooking segments, and friendly faces at every turn.

Our last meeting was at Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn. We spent the better part of the day there, having lunch (called ‘Eatsy’), meeting with several departments, and touring the offices. The kids went off with staff member Adrienne to see how many dogs they could find in the office (final tally was eight!). photo 2(3)  During our tour, we passed by CEO Chad Dickerson’s office and were told that the wood used to make the walls was reclaimed from the sub-flooring of Thomas Edison’s office. I was blown away and asked Ryan to snap a picture of me in front of the wood. Just as he was about to take the picture, I glanced over my shoulder to see Chad looking back at me from his computer. Ryan took the picture and I laugh every time I see how red my face was! Later the kids told me that when they were dog hunting he waved at them every time they went past. I was so impressed by how down to earth everyone was. threearm Now we are back in Richmond, preparing for the upcoming holiday season. School starts in just a few short weeks and then time will shift into fast forward until we break for Christmas week. Nate and Lilly are already asking when we are going back to New York, and while I haven’t made any promises, I can’t help but think how much they’d love to see the city lit up for Christmas. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Forever House

IMG_5655  A blank slate is an intimidating thing. After more than two months of living in our new home (dubbed “the forever house” by our oft-moved children), it is still devoid of personality. All of our past homes were older, with previous owners who left a piece of their style through painted walls or interesting fixtures. Our last house even had constellations of glowing stars throughout the entrance foyer, striped walls in Nate’s room and polka-dot floors in Lilly’s room. It had… personality. In our new house, we are the first owners and after the last eight weeks, I am so sick of builder’s beige that I could scream. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut when you need to change everything, where do you start? I have a slew of Pinterest boards with dainty entry-table arrangements and thoughtfully composed coffee-table vignettes. But why bother with the details when there aren’t even curtains on the windows? There are boards full of paint colors (dove grey, silvery sands, pops of fuchsia), but we aren’t supposed to paint for the first year (to allow for patching nail pops as the house settles). I sold or gave away so much furniture and decor in the spirit of starting fresh here, but now everything feels a little too fresh and I’m desperate to put my mark on the space. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI want to switch out every light fixture and hang art on every wall. I want to extend the back deck and plant several raised garden beds. I want colors on the walls, soft rugs on the floors, bookcases stuffed with my favorite texts and tables heavy with beloved family snapshots in shiny silver frames. I want to do so much that I froze up and did virtually nothing. Armed with the determination to begin and inspiration boards a-plenty, I’m ready to make our forever house a forever home.

Camping, Emergency Bangs and Washington DC

milkandhoneyvoiceA couple of weeks ago Ryan and I got an email from Etsy, asking if we would be interested in traveling to Washington DC to meet with the US Trade Ambassador and the Department of Commerce to discuss some of the challenges we face as a small business exporting globally. The part of me who still feels like a 12-year-old girl cannot believe I just typed that sentence. (Side note: is it just me or do all adults have a sneaking suspicion that everyone around them is a ‘real’ grown up but they are still pretty much the same person they were in 3rd grade, only with more responsibilities and better clothes?) Anyway, back to our trip. We obviously jumped at the chance, not only because it’s an enormous honor, but because we really have some legitimate issues to bring to the table and knew our voice, no matter how small, could join with others and make an impact.

The weekend before DC, Ryan was competing in the Ragnar relay race in the mountains of West Virginia. We brought the whole family and camped out. We decided not to tell the kids about the charging station at the event and declared it a technology-free weekend. This needs to happen more. I don’t think you have to hike into the woods to do it, though the scenery was a welcome distraction to the beeps and buzzes of our family’s combined devices (three ipads, two televisions, two smart phones, three computers, various Nintendo ds games and a wii). The silence was heavenly.

Our home away from technology.

Our home away from technology.

Then it rained. And rained. And rained. It rained so hard they put the race on hold for a few hours because the trails were getting washed out. We all took cover in the dining tent and still got drenched from the wind pushing the rain under the tent. And we still had a blast:

No technology meant no makeup too!

The rain eventually passed and the race resumed, but the temperature had dropped considerably. So much so that I changed into long yoga pants and a hooded sweatshirt for the rest of the weekend. So much so that I didn’t think about how sunny it was, only how cold I felt. So much so that I ended up with a second degree burn on my face. Ugh. When I woke up Monday morning my eyes were swollen nearly shut and my skin looked very, very angry at me. I have worn sunscreen religiously since I was 16 years old. Winter, summer, rain or shine. And the one time I forget to use it I get burned to the point of being unrecognizable a mere THREE DAYS before I am due to speak to the US Trade Ambassador and the Department of Commerce!! Double ugh.

After two days of intense aloe therapy, a hearty antihistamine regimen and considerable peeling, I felt normal enough to venture out of the house without scaring small children and I bee-lined to my favorite salon. Project Emergency Bangs commenced. It was the only way we could think to cover the remaining burns on my forehead, and by the time we set out for DC, I was pink, swollen and now sporting the same bangs I had in kindergarten. They’ve grown on me (no pun intended), and now that the swelling has gone away and the pink has settled into a bit of a tan (which I refuse to enjoy- the only tan I want is from a bottle!), I actually quite like them and think I may keep them around for a while. IMG_1709

I’m not sure how much to say about the meetings themselves, because I know that our Etsy contact Althea is planning to discuss them and don’t want to say anything prematurely. I will say that it was awesome to meet other Etsy shop owners in person and the group they gathered for this trip was amazing. Ambassador Froman couldn’t have been nicer and we could tell he genuinely cared about our concerns and challenges. At the Department of Commerce we saw just how far-reaching our shops are when one of the women we met with realized she owned a state-shaped cutting board from the very seller sitting at the table.

I had a brief moment of an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other when I saw these cool coffee mugs

I had a brief moment of an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other when I saw these cool coffee mugs

It was a great day and showed us just how much the people at Etsy care about their sellers and how far they’ll go to protect our interests, whether we are a hugely busy shop or a brand new seller shipping their first order to Germany (if a seller like that is reading this- be sure the invoice is on the inside AND the outside of the package!!).

So happy to have met these people!

So happy to have met these people!

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