My latest painting is an impressionist landscape of a road nearby my home in Southport, Connecticut. I went looking for inspiration a few days after a snowstorm and saw these two women walking and chatting as they walked along the road next to the elementary school.Continue reading “Impressionist Landscapes in Fairfield County, Connecticut: “While the Kids are at School””
I know that title sounds like clickbait, but hear me out!
Have you ever heard of Freecycle or Buy Nothing Project? Each are worldwide organizations created in order to waste reduction within your local community. Some people call these types of communities a “gift economy.” It’s all about sharing your unwanted used items (or, you know, the ones you planned on using, but didn’t) with your neighbors. Instead of donating the items you no longer need or want to Goodwill, you’re giving directly to a neighbor or someone in your town, with the possibility that you’ll receive something else you want or need for free as well. Continue reading “A Simple Trick to Get Free Stuff, Declutter, and Make New Local Connections”
There’s a lot of imagery that defines this strange, restless, panicked time. Major monuments, tourist destinations and airports without crowds. People queuing outside with gloved hands on their shopping carts, face masks covering their nose and mouth, waiting their turn to shop in Trader Joe’s. Masks on face after face. That look of fear as someone is walking on the same side of the road in the opposite direction as another and they don’t know how they’ll keep six feet as they near.
Those are the images of social distancing. I realize that the imagery is far more grim in the hospitals, but those experiences are not mine to share.
It’s not because things are looking better. Our corrupt federal government is awarding 80% of coronavirus stimulus money to millionaires, rather than struggling Americans. The Trump administration is handing out $55 million allocated for PPE to a bankrupt business with no employees or equipment to make such items. Trump is taking advantage of this time to share more intimate conversations with Putin. He’s discouraging democracy by spreading mistruth about voting by mail and taking a page out of a dictator handbook while forgetting about the American Constitution while claiming to have ‘total authority.’
The home front has its challenges as well. We’ve been baking bread and eating non-perishables for weeks as we make our groceries stretch as far as they can. With this stretching, though, last week we found ourselves stressing. My husband and I were bickering about what our tween was eating almost every day. Catching him sneaking snacks became a really big deal. We were forgetting that being extra safe was a choice, not a sentence.
On top of that, a tween doing what a tween does: complain. A toddler doing what toddlers do: tantrum.
If you’re thinking, ‘where’s the hope in that?!’ I get it. I think it’s primarily that we’re settling into routine, and that we had a lot of sunshine this past week. It’s a few hours my husband’s blocked off from meetings during my toddler’s nap time so I’ve gotten alone time walking around my town–time to BREATHE that I hadn’t had quite enough of before. It’s back to being a collaborative couple, looking for ways to take care of one another. More time playing catch & frisbee outside, more hands in the dirt gardening, more sword fights with sticks against the little guy. It’s getting a brand new book in the mail after suffering through a couple of low-quality thrifted ones I never got around to reading before (I see now why). Those little moments I decided I would seek out in my last post about the quarantine.
Sometimes those little moments of light are ignited by messages of hope I’ve seen on my walks, or people have shared on our county’s rainbow hunt Facebook page. Little reminders of the beauty after the storm. Sometimes it’s seeing a fully bloomed tree, a splash of color that reminds me that nothing lasts forever.
These are the images I want to focus on. Individual people and families taking time out to uplift a stranger in a time of crisis and despair. A reminder that even if our government is failing us, the American people are still good hearted and deserving. That we’re surrounded by heroes, big, small, willing and many who didn’t sign up for this, but are fighting anyway.
Times are hard, but the best I can do right now is to share a bit of the beauty, gratitude and kindness that I’ve come across during these times.
One of the hardest things about returning to blogging is that I have SO many pictures, reference notes, and experiences to share that I don’t know what to pick!
I decided to install a random picker app, put a few ideas on there, and let it help. I use Tiny Decisions.
There’s no affiliation, but the name did help me decide which app to download 😉
Today I’m going to talk about one of the painting classes I took last winter.
I loved this house well and I had so much fun making it ours, adding my personal style everywhere. The following pictures don’t fully reflect my personal style, because these were the listing photos for the house just prior to us buying it (sight unseen!) and after my friend Ky and I pulled up our bootstraps and prepared the house for showings.
If you haven’t sold a home before, you probably don’t know: you don’t just take pictures of how you’re living in it. You’re going to want to do quite a few things before you put it up.
Prepping a House for the Market
- Take down personal items. Photography especially–you want the potential buyer to picture themselves there, not you.
- Remove all clutter. Your kitchen counters should be devoid of appliances, your fireplace mantle shouldn’t have any tchochkes.
- Take a LOT of furniture out. Open up the space as much as you can.
- Take the books out of the shelves and style them instead. Creating space even on your furniture opens up the room to the eye. It’s like magic.
- The more you move out of site, the better. Use the garage or the basement, if you have one, to put these items away. If not, rent a short-term storage unit.
As mentioned in our moving announcement, our house sold in three days! We had an offer and a back up offer quicker than we could have imagined.
The Home Tour, Before and After
These are photos that we had listed online of our house when it was on the market in 2015 when we bought it, and months ago when we listed it.
SUPPOSEDLY, it’s still fall until December 21. Supposedly. The weather outside is frightful and the Christmas decor is delightful here in New England, so it’s easy to forget. But when the leaves were just beginning to change color, Tobias had a day off for Yom Kippur & we took advantage by heading over to Castle Hill Farm in Newtown, with our dog Laser in tow.
Yesterday we had huge wind gusts come in through our coastal town here in Connecticut, and it wiped away much of the beautiful fall leaves I’ve been admiring over the last seven weeks. Last week the foliage was certainly at its peak when I took Laser for a trail run that, at far too many times, became a hike as I tried to maintain my heart rate while climbing some steep elevations.
This was the second time I’d been to Collis P. Huntington State Park. Last time was while I was training for my trip to Machu Picchu (That I still haven’t written about!) and I got the most lost I’ve ever been on a trail. Laser and I were out for hours. No complaints from that guy. Continue reading “Hiking with Dogs in Fairfield County: Huntington State Park”
It wasn’t long after moving to Connecticut that I began discovering things that are quintessentially New England: calling liquor stores “package stores,” seeing a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, and having a preference for what style of chowdah or lobstah roll you like, to name a few. I soon looked forward to Autumn, for not only leaf peepin’, but also apple picking.
Last Sunday, on the first weekend after the Autumnal Equinox, we headed out to Silverman’s Farm. (Along with what seemed to be everyone else for miles.) No doubt, this is the perfect place to head to on a date or with a family when you get that first hint of fall weather. Continue reading “Apple Picking in Fairfield County, Connecticut”
Last year, I read an article in The New York Times about NatGeo’s 2012 adventurer of the year, Alastair Humphreys and The Virtue of Microadventures. At the time, it struck me. It’s a lesson that took me too long to grasp: in pursuit of living a big, adventurous life, you don’t always have to go far from home.
Connecticut is perfect for microadventures. As I mentioned in my post about how settling in to CT, there is an abundance of open space areas to wander through & break away. On a run one day, I stumbled upon Mill Hill Open Space.