pretty is as pretty does

Flowers are my church, I’ve decided. Don’t mistake me, I like non-flowering plants a lot, but flowers? Their beauty inspires.

A week ago I mentioned to one of my Chicago friends that the camellia trees in the backyard of my old house in Jackson, Mississippi, should be blooming by now. Yesterday I found these beauties at Garfield Park Conservatory.

Pretty is as pretty does.

grief is like an ocean

Grief, I’ve found, is like an ocean. A cold one. It lashes at your ankles to remind you that it’s painful. Sometimes it feels like waves. You’d like to contain it, but you can’t. It’s a darn ocean.

One of my dearest friends passed away yesterday, and holy bananas, my grief is pretty raw. Her passing wasn’t unexpected and I thought I was prepared, but how can anyone be, really.

As a hospice care professional told me many years ago, dying is an active process. And so is grief.

moving is

Moving is an intriguing, in-between kind of journey. I spent yesterday packing up my belongings and somehow my lovely, much loved home is now a property.

A structure with painted walls, hardwood floors, appliances, lighting, and mechanical systems. Also pipes and faucets. But the feel of my now house? All the cute is packed up for a different place and hopefully brighter days–fingers and toes crossed.

the idiosyncratic architecture of belhaven

If real estate sparks your interest (it sure does mine), Jackson, Mississippi’s #Belhaven neighborhood is an endless trove of Southern architecture where no two houses are the same, as far as I can tell. Sidewalks start and stop, for no reason I’m able to summon. And the houses are so wonderfully different.

There is this stately Spanish Eclectic beauty on Gillespie Street.

Belhaven 1

And this bungalow a little further down Gillespie.

Belhaven 2

This traditional home on Manship is nestled in leafy spaces.

Belhaven 3

And then this Neoclassival Revival property–Kennington’s Mansion on Carlisle–boasts a broad, grassy lawn.

Belhaven 4

If you’re thinking about calling Belhaven home, be advised that Belhaven is a historic district and subject to design guidelines, which you can access here.

clean, vacuum, polish, repeat

I shared previously that my house in #Belhaven is for sale, and–Captain Obvious statement of the century–selling your house is quite an undertaking. My broker recently had the photos redone, and I love how they turned out.

House 1

House 3

House 2

I’ve tidied the house from top to bottom enough times that I’ve arrived at a cleaning formula. Cleaning this house (3 bedrooms, 2 baths) takes approximately 5 hours and involves cleaning, vacuuming, and polishing. Through trial and error, I have found these products work best:

– Scouring stick (you can use the scouring stick on tubs as well as ceramic tile)
– Comet
– Windex (cleaning glass with Windex makes a cool squeaking sound)
– Stainless steel polish
– Bona brand tile cleaner and hardwood floor polish

(The Bona brand is kind of spendy but really worth it.)

the landmark structure paper models of wurlington bros. press

I have some pretty cool friends. A friend from my Gustavus days is Matt Bergstrom who grew up in Minneapolis but calls Chicago home. Matt is wonderfully creative. And amazingly artistic–with paper. Years ago he began creating intricate paper models of landmark structures in Chicago, New York, and other cities.

There is Faneuil Hall.

Wurlington Bros. Press Paper models Faneuil Hall

The Lake Point Tower.

Wurlington Bros. Press Paper models Lake Point Tower Chicago Illinois

A collection of Lake Michigan lighthouses.

Wurlington Bros. Press Paper models Chicago Illinois Lake Michigan Lighthouses

And even a collection of Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains.

Wurlington Bros. Press Paper models Chicago Illinois Chicago Transit Authority trains

You can order postcards at the Wurlington Bros. Press website and build these items on your own. Fun stuff! Detailed step-by-step instructions included.

i’ll follow you

Instagram is a fun adventure if you love great photos, storytelling, and photos that tell a great story. You can follow me on Instagram if you wish, but here are some of my favorite follows:

  • Nick Ulivieri is The Chi Photo Guy, a commercial photographer who I learned about in 2016 when I was living at 15th and Blue Island in the Near West neighborhood of Chicago. Nick captures dramatic weather systems better than any photographer I know. He also branched out to frame Chicago’s built environment and landmarks. Fun fact: I met Nick in the elevator of my condo building, a 12-story 1920s warehouse that was converted into condos in 2006. He used to shoot photos of sprawling train tracks with downtown Chicago as a backdrop from one of my neighbor’s decks.
  • The Forgotten South–Kelly Gomez photographs buildings and places throughout the South that time has forgotten, and she is a master storyteller. Her photos are just as interesting as the accompanying descriptions. Since 2010, Gomez has traversed places all over the South. She also maintains a blog, which you can access here if you’re not on Insta.
  • Oh Happy Day–You wouldn’t guess an online party and lifestyle website could generate such joy, but their photos are pure sunshine. Jordan Ferney is OHD’s founder and Chief Happy Officer (c’mon, LOVE this job title). You can find Oh Happy Day on Facebook and Pinterest if those networks suit your fancy.

Happy following, you all/y’all!