You know you’re getting older when your dream car becomes a Volvo XC70 and if you came across a pile of moolah you’d buy a front load washer and dryer set. But, I wasn’t always like this–so mapped out. Well, I was in how I grew up, as that was quite controlled with the path mostly laid, but once I broke out of my parents’ house the compass sort of went off kilter for a while.
I think this happens to a lot of children brought up in strict households once they leave home. They go buck effing wild. I’m incredibly thankful that, for me, this occurred pre-internet and youtube boom–but still, I know there are pictures floating around that would make it impossible for me to run for political office (if that was an aspiration of mine, which thankfully, it is not). Most are tame, maybe in the realm of Girls Gone Wild and whatnot, but cringe-worthy nonetheless.
It’s a period in my life that I’m not particularly proud of–about a six-year span (roughly 18 to 23ish). I sort of wish I could forget (parts of it, ironically, are very fuzzy), but I know those moments made me who I am today–the whole me. Never in my life have I been so off course and confused than I was during those years. In short, I was lost. September marks the start of many college freshmen settling into campus life, and potentially the start of the wander off the laid path.
The word diva has gotten a bad rap. Maybe it’s from the press getting their hands on Mariah Carey’s tour rider or some D-list reality “star” traveling with a 10 + entourage complete with an assistant and a hair extension team. All I know is you generally don’t want to be called one.
But, this was not always the case. The origins of the word come from the Latin word for goddess, or the feminine of god. See, no bad connotation there.
Twin sisters Izzy and Coco are divas, but of the best kind … of the surf. I’ve been a fan of their company, Surf Diva for years and every so often I’ll email my sisters with pleas of heading to one of its two locales for a full week of surfing–with outlets in Costa Rica and California, honestly, it’s hard to choose…
As you read this, I’m packing for a trip to Santa Cruz with my sisters, where I’m hoping surfing is in order. Until then, an interview with the Surf Divas themselves will have to suffice–we talk fashion, fitness, family, and the surf culture.
What’s one of the most remodeled rooms in a house and the space that most families gravitate towards? No huge surprise here, the kitchen is the winner, winner, chicken dinner.
From the sleekest barware around, to the ultimate java junkie’s espresso machine splurge, to cooking items for the kiddos – my wish list roundup for the latest and greatest well-stocked dream kitchen.
I first visited Charleston as a freshman in college, to visit my first love, my then boyfriend who attended The Citadel, or as it’s formally called–The Military College of South Carolina. And while he’s an amazing person whom I’d predict now is a doting father and husband (if I had to guess … but I honestly have no idea where or how he currently is) the best thing out of that relationship was my introduction Charleston. Well, that and my first taste of Russian teacakes during the holiday season (courtesy of his mother). I was charmed by both, even then.
Charleston has it all including history–(um, hola Civil and Revolutionary Wars) and because of it, there’s a strong “across the pond” vibe going on–great boutiques, award-winning chefs taking local and Southern cuisine to a whole new level, and an integral, yet gorgeous harbor currently the nation’s fourth busiest container port. Celebrities love it too– Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe chose Charleston as their wedding location (hmm maybe not such a good example). My friend, travel and food writer extraordinaire Hope, says (I’m paraphrasing) that it’s the snootier version of New Orleans, and I think that’s a fair observation.
But, even so, I’ve always been more than a bit smitten with the city, much like that first boyfriend you always seem to go back to (no matter how immature and ridiculous things get). Though a side note, on this last visit, I noticed even Charleston cannot escape the housing market–there were loads of for-sale signs. One of the reasons I like Charleston so much is because of all of its old buildings (especially when compared to where I live in Atlanta), so, I was sad to see a lot of tearing down of old properties and building new this time around, which is never a good thing. But, this isn’t a piece on the economy or property development, it’s an article on traveling to one of the best little big cities in the South–the pop on Charleston.
When we visited Vancouver earlier this summer there was a chatty store owner talking to my mom, sister and I while we were shopping. She couldn’t fully comprehend how my sister could live in Maryland (she’s since moved to California), my mom in Kansas, and me in Georgia. None of it made sense to her. She kept asking why we didn’t live near each other–we all sort of struggled with an answer, but the easiest one was because of work. Which is true, but only partly.
There is something to be said about small towns. A quaint Main Street with boutiques, a past rich in history, where everyone knows your story. Leavenworth, Kansas, for me, is that place. Although we moved around quite a bit growing up, Leavenworth is (and likely will always be) home. It’s where my parents chose to set roots–where I attended school off of a military post for the first time, where I graduated high school, where friends I have known the longest live, and where my mother still is (with my brother and his family not too far either).
One of the oldest themes in everything from movies to music is the idea of leaving home. You know, putting the past town behind and starting fresh, in a new city. I did that. I left home almost a decade ago at 23 and haven’t returned much besides holiday visits and the occasional baby shower, hometown wedding, or milestone birthday celebration. I left my small town in Kansas in my rear view mirror for a job, which I’ve since also put in the rear view.
And while I look at my Leavenworth with fondness, I do feel a teeter-totter emotion of extreme complacency when I visit. When I go home I see the small town sadness and a desperation that is just not present in my life in Atlanta. Once I arrived here, I quickly came to the realization that I was a very small fish in a very large pond, especially compared to where I came from. I was nervous, scared shitless, excited and totally unprepared for the whirlwind of a life I would have here, those first few years.