Your Chance to Get to Know Me a Little Better!
In honor of Thanksgiving, and the fact that this season is more personal than most, I want to tell you a little bit about my story (and about how grateful I am to have made it to this place). If you're the type of person who doesn't like other people or reading about other people or thinking about other people, this is not the blog post for you. And that's A-OK. You do you.
Welp, here I go.
That's me ^^^ up there with my family. I'm a normal looking lady, sometimes. Other times, I haven't showered and look haggard and possibly a little bit like I'm dying (for example, after I gave birth to two babies). And that is also okay. I was beyond blessed to marry a man who really helps me to not think so much about how I look. He's taught me that when you're thinking about yourself so much, you are never going to be a person that is considerate and thoughtful. Plus, true friends don't actually care what you look like. When you're exhausted and on the brink of having a meltdown, I'm pretty sure a true friend wouldn't be like, "Ugh her hair looks like a bird's nest." Even if it does. Actually, that might not be true. A really true and sassy friend like my best friend might say, "Allison, your hair looks like a bird's nest. Let me help you with that." The point is: you can't think about others while your mind is on yourself.
So why am I talking about myself then?? Haha good question. Maybe I shouldn't be. But not only is this business a brand, but it's also hopefully going to be genuine and personal. My friend Emily reminded me that people want to put a face to the name! They want to know your quirks and the things that make you YOU. My initial instinct is to try to put on a sort of facade that makes you think of me as some cool person that has everything together, when in fact, I soooooo do not. It's hard to kick the habit of putting on a face. Facebook (which actually has the word "face" in it) and Instagram sometimes lead you to show off a "curated" story rather than actual reality. That's not to say that your baby is not the perfect baby or that that photogenic meal was not the most delicious thing you've ever eaten - BUT it's not always the full story. AND THAT IS ALSO OKAY. I'm really not trying to get into something here. I just want to explain why this post is happening to you right now. It's just that I feel like I owe you an explanation.
For those of you who have known me outside of the interior design world, you know I'm a weirdo. I'm kind of an offbeat nerd who went off and got married really young (22!) and then also had kids - twins! - when I was still really young (24). Yikes! What a weirdo! What have you done?? But actually, in all honesty, this is what I have always wanted. In many ways, I think God has always wanted me to be a mama. That doesn't mean that it's always easy or even that it comes naturally to me. I believe that on the day that you become a parent, holding your child/children for the first time is the sweetest, most intense feeling that a person can feel. It is bizarre and amazing and wonderful and awesome and nerve-wracking all at the same time. So now, when I meet someone, that's usually the first thing they learn about me.
Yes, they're mine. Yes, they're twins. Two girls. No, they're fraternal. Yes, I'm sure. Laurel has red hair and Rebecca has blonde hair. Yeah, their personalities are actually totally different. It's so fun, but we are pretty tired. Nice to meet you too!
And that's sometimes the limit of peoples' interest. I mean, I guess it's a lot of information to ponder, so I don't blame anybody. However, that is just the last few years of my life. That's a tiny percentage of who I am! What about the rest of me? Do any other moms out there feel the same way? When you become a mom, suddenly, the whole world can seem like it's just "out there." People are elsewhere and I am in here, being a mom. And experiencing the most intense FOMO of all time.
That's part of why I started my decorating business. It goes back farther than that, but my loneliness and need for creative expression were huge motivators. From the time that I could draw, I have loved to make art - but on my own terms. I did a lot of sketching in my own time, but it wasn't until my senior year of high school that I took my first real art class. The art teacher got mad at me for waiting so long. Even when I went to college - at Furman University in South Carolina - I only made art on the side. I didn't think creativity had a place in the main parts of my life. It was just something I did for myself. I became an Education major, thinking that teaching was something that I would really love because I could be around kids and mold the young minds of America!! I quickly learned that I would not actually enjoy being a teacher. But I would like to be an art teacher. But if you want to be an art teacher, you have to have an art degree. So I swapped over to the art major after 2.5 years as an education major, but I would still be able to graduate on time. All the while, my dorm room looked like something out of a magazine because I'm a creative control freak who cares intensely about the appearance of her environment.
Takin' some shots of my roomie for a final portrait painting.
So then, I got to immerse myself in the things that I am truly passionate about, but I got credit for it! I did a concentration in painting, which I had never even done before, and I learned a ton. I am so grateful for my time as an art major. I started thinking that maybe I wanted to be a portrait painter. Or maybe a floral designer. Or maybe both?? But as time went on, I was even more confused about what I wanted. I got engaged the summer after my junior year, graduated, got married and moved to St. Louis with my new husband still with no clue about what I was going to do to make a living. So I got a nanny job - familiar territory. I had been a babysitter for just about every child that lived near me growing up. Fun fact: I was a nanny for boy/girl twins. I really enjoyed that, but I still wanted my own kiddos. So when Teddy and I both felt ready, we tried and got pregnant immediately. I had some pretty intense morning sickness for a few weeks after we found out, plus some bleeding that sent me to the hospital where we discovered that we were expecting two babies! Whoop whoop! It was shocking, to say the least, but we were pretty excited. It was a very complicated pregnancy and I spent a lot of time in the hospital trying not to have them early. Plus I had to be on bedrest and take a million pills and I had cholestasis which made most of my body really itchy which is unbelievably unpleasant. Crossing my fingers that this all just happened because I was having twins. Anyways, they were born all on their own one month early - a day before I was scheduled to be induced - and they were perfect and squishy and healthy and wonderful.
Here they are a little bit bigger. When they were four months old, we discovered that Rebecca had a grapefruit sized tumor in her abdomen. She was unable to go to the bathroom for a few days and we just thought she was constipated or not drinking enough water. When we finally discovered the cause, everything started to move very quickly. She underwent an intense surgery to remove it and as a mom, it was really hard imagining my perfect baby girl on the operating table. In the end, everything was benign and she's fine now, but I still feel that I should mention it because we learned a lot during that experience. The Lord was with us every step of the way, and we feel so blessed to have had such an amazing medical system to take her to. As a couple, we grew closer together and as Christians, we learned to trust God in those scary moments. I wanted to mention this whole thing because suffering is not supposed to be a secret. Suffering together is part of what makes us a community.
And here they are now! They are almost two and are constantly testing my patience, but they are so cute and fun. Every moment with them is a treasure. Watching something that you helped create run around and grow up is remarkable.
Now that they are so big, I am really starting to feel the need for something else to focus on. Do you know what I mean? My brain has been so focused on babies and cleaning up after babies for such a long time that I've been neglecting my other interests! I was happy to do it, because they are so wonderful. But now it's time to do something for myself. I want to use my creative and organized brain to do creative and organizational things. I put a lot of that energy into our house when we first moved in, and then the nursery when we were expecting. Then I put that energy into endlessly organizing and reorganizing the toys. And always, I put that energy into every last corner of the house. Like I said, I am obsessive about my atmosphere. I am learning to let go of the toys and dishes that are always in my line of sight; but, if I have the energy to make my bed and make sure the bathroom stays clean, I'm going to do it. It was my crazy, hilarious college friend Max who actually initiated this whole thing. I've always loved taking care of my own home. That has always been true. I used to move all of the furniture around in my bedroom by myself for fun. But when my friend Max and his girlfriend were sitting in my living room and he just said something along the lines of "You're good at this, you should do this for other people," something finally clicked. He probably included at least three 80's movies references, but you get the gist. It was the only job that had ever sounded truly perfect for me and all of a sudden, I wanted to do it so badly.
So after lots of learning, and working, here I am. I am really loving what I do. I love to help people make their home beautiful, because I know how important it is to me and I know how impactful it can be. When you love the way that your home makes you feel, you are probably more likely to be more fully yourself. That sounds weird, and I get it. But I think you probably know what I mean. Do you know the feeling that you get when you are staying with a friend, and you don't feel that you can fully settle in? It's like that. If your home doesn't feel like home, you're never going to let yourself settle in completely. This post is about letting you get to know me a little bit better, and not a marketing ploy, so please don't take it that way. I'd also love to get to know you better, so please feel welcome to comment on posts and ask me questions and give me constructive criticism! You can email me too, but I'd love this blog to be our own little community where we can share a love for design and pretty things and other fun stuff. I hope to hear from you, and thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate each and every one of you. Especially because writing in a vulnerable way is extremely difficult for me! Anyways, thank you thank you thank you. And please enjoy this Thanksgiving! It's a wonderful time of year and we could all use a little family, friends, and thankfulness. And turkey.
And for good measure, one more pictures of bebes.