After our first year of marriage, the hubby and I decided to move across the country to Northern California from New York. Since that time, we have unintentionally zig-zagged across the country and have moved about 10 times within a span of 17 years. Moving that many times might sound crazy to some people and truthfully, I felt like a nomad on many occasions. During that time, though, I have learned invaluable lessons about myself and other cultures that I otherwise would not have ever experienced outside my little circle of friends and acquaintances had I stayed put in my little square block on Long Island, NY. So, for that, I'm grateful. Those experiences helped me grow as a person and revealed some of my weaknesses but also helped me determine what it is, in life, I really like and don't like. With that said, however, all those moves were never easy. Although I've enjoyed certain aspects about the different areas/places that I've lived in, none of them have ever felt like "home." I found that not being able to relate or connect to my surroundings, while driving in a new city or state, is one the most unsettling feelings of complete detachment. Those feelings would often be followed by deep feelings of loneliness and mild to severe breakdowns more times that I'd like to admit. Yeah, I'm definitely not one of those people who say that "home is where you lay your hat."
The adjusting period alone; starting with finding your place in a new city or state and then making friends (which in some cities takes a lot longer than others) is challenging. Add to that, trying to find good restaurants to eat, great wine bars (the important stuff), good grocery stores, and service providers; skilled cobblers, dry cleaners that won't damage your clothes, hair salons that can blow dry this hair of mine without me having to sell a body part...leaving me looking like a chihuahua that accidentally got its paws stuck in an electric outlet. Then there is also the problem of locating eyebrow threading places and where to get beautiful flowers that are alive and fresh at a reasonable price, which is more stressful than you'd ever think. Truly, the list can go on and on. It's one of those things that, unless you experience it, you won't understand completely. Nevertheless, one of the things that has always helped me get acclimated in any new city much quicker is first and foremost finding favorite restaurant spots for breakfast, brunch, and great cocktails with the vibe that makes me feel at home. Ultimately, though, what really brings me comfort (besides having my hubby) is obviously where I end up at the end of each day which is the apartment where I unwind and lay my head. Making that space feel homey has always been a priority for me. The key to making a place feel homey are the touches that I put into it - hanging photos of familiar places, spaces, and faces on the wall including framed cards from good friends - these never fail to add that touch of warmth. I find working with my hands on DIY projects is an important part of the process of feeling somewhat stable. Our home, no matter where it may be, always conveys the story of who we are, what we love, where we've been, and most importantly, reflects our warm and hospitable personality.
In 2013, the year we relocated to the west coast for business and other responsibilities, I somehow found myself very busy with an extensive amount of diy projects as soon as we moved into the apartment. I suspect it was subconsciously an intentional way to keep my mind occupied averting the feelings of homesickness. Truly, adding those touches to the space though sure made it feel comfortable, which contributed a great deal to getting adjusted much quicker. It goes to show that simple projects can make a big impact, adding a touch of luxury to the home without having to spend a boat load of money. Due to time constraints I never got around to sharing some of those simple projects on the blog. The photos just have been sitting in my desktop picture folder. So here they are. Hope this post motivates you to tackle some of your diy's on your to-do list.
Silver Plate Chalk Board...
This plate had seen better days and needed a new lease on life, so I re-purposed it as an inspiration chalk board for great affirmative monthly quotes by my refrigerator in our kitchen now.
Ikea Lamp and Planter Makeover...
I view most Ikea items as a blank canvas with great potential to be fabulously chic. For example, the lamp and planter below felt a tad dull to me. But after a few coats of paint later and some added accessories, they shine brighter than ever and are now much more updated and polished looking.
The Eiffel Tower before and after...
A souvenir from when we stayed at the Paris hotel, I definitely didn't think that Eiffel tower represented the city of light as it should. I decided to cover it in gold naturally, which now stands out a lot chicer on my office shelf.