Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Warmth & WINDOWs

With an out of nowhere Beautiful 74 degree day last week, 

I jumped on the G train with my daughter to photograph a little girl that lives in this charming area near Cobble Hill. When the session was done right around 5:30pm the lure of exploration tugged on my heart and the oblivious miles to walk never seem to hinder that desire to explore until I realize how many miles I have walked all day and collapse in exhaustion at home. 

On this day, the destination, would have been lovely if it were one of these open cafes to sit and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine with friends, but today, I just wanted to find my way to Trader Joe's (about 15 blocks away) so I could get a Root Beer that doesn't have corn syrup in it. 

It was such a nice walk, with the warm breeze and the warmth of the sun, evidence of laughter and life before me finally.  The streets once seemingly only a designated highway to find a "warm" retreat, now crowded with vintage wood eclectic tables and chairs, fresh flowers in cute little vases, clinking wine glasses sparkling in the setting sun filled with beautiful whites and reds, opened windows and doors & wonderful aromas of steak cooked to perfection.  

Since we moved here on the 25th of December & landed hitting the ground running, acclimating to a congested northern city in the dead of the winter, while saying good bye to open spaces, green grass, a big back yard, our circle of friends and mentors our church home, short warm winters and the ability to do our own laundry whenever we wish.  

Not that I haven't experienced goodness, nor have I not met warm people, but up until this point, this city seemed to be a bit gray on the outdoors, only warm and inviting if you peer into a cozy cafe or if you enter a fascinating museum or building or train station. Only experiencing people in the outdoors gritting their teeth and burying their heads in their scarves to stay warm as they walked briskly in the direction of relief, to find a warm destination to get a rest from their face freezing in the wind. Walking as fast as possible down the streets, you would see glimpses of life and love in the windows of cafes, where the heat was on, candles were lit on tables and people gathered with their close friends to eat. Such warm atmospheres on the inside.

On this day, I caught a glimpse of what is to come very soon for the outdoors. 
I loved that at this park in Cobble Hill, as soon as the warm sun hit, a balloon clown showed up and started selling balloon animals and a man ( who really shouldn't have been singing) showed up to share his songs with the world who would be willing to listen. 

The Streets became alive. Doors and windows were all flung opened and or just gone altogether. Giving me a small glimpse at what's to come when the weather stays this warm and the trees have all their leaves and the days are long.

In retrospect, there was one other day that I felt this kind of joy about living here, it was the first few weeks of our arrival and I had barely seen any place just yet. My husband finally convinced me to get out to the park which was nice and then we walked down 9th Av to 7th street on a charming big flaky snowy day, passing all these historical brownstones with gas lit lanterns and ornately designed iron railings.

I had never seen something so nostalgically charming. The feeling was like I was being pulled into a vortex of time travel, revisiting the days of old and being given a moment in history. If the streets had windows into another time, it would look similar 86 the razor scooters and roller blades and women wearing leggings. I realized that we were finding our home in a city where people have thrived for 100's of years, and if they thrived, we could too. It was in that moment that it occurred to me I could  let go of all that I have know, all that I knew about this life and how to live it,  opening my heart up a whole new way of living. A new world of possibilities.

Back to this particularly warm sunny day, I looked around and focused on all the life and vibrance, and I welcomed the overwhelming feeling of this could be an amazing experience living here, this could be home.

All that said, I still question when I  will feel like a real New Yorker?  How long will that take? When will I feel like this is home and I will stop feeling like a southern red neck that has been dropped off in the middle of real civilization? Good question.

Hopefully sooner than later. I know I have only been here three months, So I need to have patience. Even though I have had glimpses of vibrancy of life, sometimes I still find myself missing and longing for life like before. I have been warned by many people who barely know me and by really good friends too that in about three years, I  hear,  I will never want to leave this place, I will look back and not recognize who I was when I lived in suburbia or why I liked or wanted any other way of life ever.  Looking forward to that day!

Cobble Hill: Art and Windows
I will revisit this area often, and hopefully begin to share with all of you the style of Brooklyn, individual products etc.  As I discover the city slowly and mostly on foot,  with every turn of a corner is another opportunity to learn, to take in the creativity that is pouring out of the shops here. I have to refrain from photographing everything I see literally.

One thing that fascinates me beyond words is what motivates customers to buy from specific businesses. I have often heard from the etsy market, that GOOD photography sells. Here, in the open street market, I am convinced that the most popular stores are always the ones with the best and most inventive creative window designs (kind of like Anthropologie) .  Each day that I get out and explore, I will share with you all my favorites in each area of Brooklyn and Manhattan depending on where I am spending the day! 


I loved this window.. I'll get the name of the place later ( forgot that) 

These rustic antiques mixed with the products drew me in.. couldn't resist going into this place. Although, when a dress costs more than $500 I walk out fairly quickly. http://www.smithbutler.com/sb/?page_id=9  
Something simplistic and colorful as this, mixed with the old vintage sign letters and for some reason brillo pads boxes,  I had to go in an investigate a bit. http://brooklynrefinery.com/

this knitting store brought the inside out by the addition of this colorful quilt on their bench. And of course, the tent chalkboard always is an eye catcher.

This business is a bit closer to my home, but a fun example of the window design. http://www.slopecellars.com/ 

Style Watch: 
Also, when I am walking I am loving being confronted with my lackadaisical approach to fashion. I am obsessed with looking at what people wear and why? What are the shoe choices and of course, what are the window fashions that tell us what the creative fashionable youth would wear.  Stay tuned for STYLE WATCH each week.

Today, I love this spring outfit and unfortunately for my faith, I keep a constant level of Covet of all the cute things I see in the windows!! Repenting daily, If I could buy a few things this year, it would be at this store called Goldy & Mac on 7th Ave in Brooklyn. http://goldyandmac.com/


I realize these outfits are made just for the window, very artistic, but not for me thanks
Michael Kors 

A few teens on a field trip: 

Some Man Style for you:

More men's fashion as seen on the streets of NYC to come!

Real Estate:

As you walk down the streets of Brooklyn, every mile or so there is a realtor's office that advertises new apartments or houses for sale. Today I want to share with all of you hungry to move here some great deals... this is the market here. I am really not sure, but I haven't seen very many houses for sale that consist of more than one room for less than 1.5 or a near 2 mil in Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens.  If you want to rent a 2 br here, be prepared to pay 4,000 a month.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A whole new world.

Brooklyn, through the eyes of a newbie: 
So, be real with me, you've always wanted to live in Brooklyn or NYC haven't you? Remember those dreams? OR some of you DID live here or in Manhattan when you 20 something! You met your husband/wife here and now you've moved somewhere in the suburbs to a house on a quiet out-of-the-way cul-de-sac. Your house is cute, you love sipping on beers on Saturday nights on your back porch with your best friends next door? Barbecuing while you watch your kids jump on the trampoline together.  All the while, memories of brooklyn haunt you, and somewhere in your heart you miss it don't you? You were done, you were too old so you traded the life here for space. If you stayed wouldn't have the yard or garage to work in. 

How would you raise your kids in Brooklyn or NYC? Who could do that? Now you have to drive to get to civilization now that you are in the burbs? But you're okay with that now, now that you're old right? You don't need all that hassel of taking your laundry to a Mat and lugging your groceries up four flights of stairs and running up and down stairs on your commute. Good news, you don't have to live here to see this city again...

Now, you get to be here every week if you like, just by following our journey! I will bring this city to life for you right from your living room, how's that for awesome?

I'm telling you, there is something about this place and I need to find all that it has to offer and what it is that God has for us here. Lets discover what that is together as I learn to love it here through the lens of my camera and through the people I meet, food we discover, art we find and the community here in PS. 

Today, I decided 4 things. 
1: "take each day as it comes." Papaw
2: "put one foot in front of the other and take one breath at a time,    then discover what I encounter." a paraphrased quote I heard somewhere
3: Focus on the beauty right around me, never letting the negative or Ugly or the past get in the way. my own thoughts. 

So today I walked from Union to Third and back up to 7th just to see what I would see. This was the first thing that struck my eye. Someone took the time to make this crazy wall structure around a tree. from far away it looked dilapidated and ugly, but if you zoomed in, you could see the artists vision of beauty. 

This street was gorgeous, love the brownstones, and this guy made me giggle, his hair flopped up and down as he jogged. 

I love some of the details that people put into their homes. Some, I love not-so-much
Like these details, hello... anyone home? Who thinks this is a great design combo and enhances the hood and value of the home? blahk. I am sure those railings cost a fortune and the awnings and door, but wowzers. 

cute garden, but this empty space is worth over a mil and a half. I love green spaces, but If I were Annie, I am just saying. 

Will be revisiting this business that I happend upon. A Niche market business that is doing well here. Seems to have a strong story and heart behind their business. Can't wait to find out more. 
I love brownstone doors.. love all the architectural elements and the spring additions!!!  
I see lots of style, and yes, each day I blog I will have a style watch comparison, so watch out for it! What do you think? a, b or c?  

Hello beautiful cathedral right down the street. 

It is places like Sweet Melissa's that draw me in. I am always fascinated with certain businesses and why some are so inviting and some are cold and non-welcoming at first glance.  Just the colors, the window display design, the flowers, the chalk board.. the wood door, all make me want to go in and see what's inside. 

Loved the inviting store front and would love to know more about Sweet Melissa's 
Inside a mural.. very cute. Must be of the original store front on Court Street. 

Another amazing business. Imagine, it has been in business for over a 100 years, and potentially in the same location? not sure. But this business store window design was rather vintage and stately.  

As I am walking around the city, it is inevitable that I accidentally eavesdrop on other people's conversations.   

this is what I am hearing... people are either wanting more money, needing more things, grieving a loss, pissed off at a roommate or boyfriend, hating a neighbor, sorrowful for a loss, & oblivious too into shopping. There is almost always a common thread... that each conversation that I hear has something to do with either money or getting more things, more prestige, power, better position etc. 

I haven't heard anyone's conversations where the person sounds completely satisfied right where they are. (I know that they're are those of you out there, so no judgment from me about it, it is just what I have heard so far). 

I did pass a woman by the other day, she lived on one of those dreamy do die for brownstone streets, she walked out on her stoop to just smell her lovely flowers that were immaculately kept in perfect design and harmony. As I passed her by, two thoughts occurred to me, first, I thought to myself, ooooh, she looks happy. She's woman in her late 50's, living in one of the most beautiful homes yet, did not appear to have plastic surgery and or any hair dies or such. Not sure she even had on make up. She let her hair turn gray and wiry, yet she was wearing fine linen garments and seemed to float when she walked toward her flowers. I peered into her beautifully sophisticated and simplistic home and I did feel just a tinge of envy. How do you get there, floating in Linen I thought.  
It happens so quickly. Those thoughts, the covet ones.  But this is a subject for another day. Am I content right where I am? Putting one foot in front of the other, waiting on God's best for me? To be continued.