I've been in love with autumn ever since I can remember. I loved going back to school, and had the biggest butterflies in my stomach every year - but I loved dressing for school in the fall, and seeing where my desk was going to sit and how my teacher was going to put my name on my desk that year. I loved organizing the little nook in my desk that fit all of my folders, pencil boxes, notebooks, etc., but I remember that I couldn't ever figure out the best place for my ruler. I rarely ever used it...but it seemed important, and it was a requirement year after year. I usually would just tuck it along one of the sides of the nook - but that felt wrong and so it just kind of moved all around the nook. I'm sure you all really, really cared about all of that. But, I ate it all up. I remember the graphic turtlenecks that my mom would dress me in. Sometimes, they were hand-me-downs from my older brother but that still suited me just fine. I remember I had this orange plaid jumper that I wore in school pictures one year and it felt.so.right. 

There were hayrides and pumpkin patches and themed days at school. There were hand-stamped turkey shirts and crafts and cold afternoons and it was all even better at home. We'd go to school one day, and come home to find cobwebs stretched from the chandelier to the banister. There'd be pumpkins and vintage decor and once we decided what we wanted to be for Halloween...my mom would make it happen for us. Halloween morning was always a treat, but the fun would last for months. Over the years, one thing that hasn't changed is that the day before Thanksgiving is always spent in the kitchen with my mom in preparation for the following day. We listen to music and whip up dressings and pies and casseroles until the whole house is warm and smells like heaven. 

There is so much comfort in this season, and my love for it goes far beyond my memories of school and the way that my mom would decorate the house. It's deep-rooted and it feels almost tangible, and as far as I know, it's always been there.

I'm currently making a list of the things that I'd love to accomplish this week. Included in the list: buying stationery to start writing letters, and blogging my autumn 2018 bucket list. What would YOU like to see/read/hear about? 

5 Things.

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1. Happy June 1st! June and July are both such happy months. They always make me think about forever ago, when our family moved into a new house, which happened right around the time that Florence got a Target. My mom stocked up on their summery dishes, tablecloths, cups, ice molds, skewers, picnic gear, and anything else that struck her fancy. She came home with bags of polkadot cups and plates and cups with fruit all over them, and it was so much fun to dig through them all. We had a big 4th of July party during those early years, and those summer memories at home with my mom just stamped these two months with a big stamp that says "FUN", and then a smaller stamp that's a picture of a watermelon. 

2. Today is my first "off day" at home in quite a while and I have big plans for it. I feel like a lot of things have been put on hold lately, and May was a very eventful month with a lot of traveling. June seems like it's going to move a lot slower, so I'm preparing for that today by knocking the biggest things off of my to-do list, gathering up the books that I've been wanting to read, and making lists of what I want to accomplish because it seems like that's the only way I can actually do it all. My method: write it down, make it feel tangible, and then tackle it. 

3. Our neighborhood has a community garden that I somehow had no idea about! My life has been changed by these heaving peach trees. I'm torn, because I want to take everyone to this precious garden, but I also want all the peaches for myself. What a pickle. No matter what, though, I'm going to harvest a bunch today for a pie.

4. We are having my younger brother stay with us for part of next week. This means that my home will smell like ketchup and sweaty men for a few days, there will be Mario figurines scattered around, and I need to start buying groceries NOW so that I'm prepared by the time he gets here. Despite the ketchup smell, I cannot wait. I miss him all of the time. Trey said the other day that I'm a very stable, sane person, but then if you remind me that I have a family that I don't get to see as often as I'd like, I go off my rails, down a gravel road, into a ditch and burst into tears. He's right. This happens. I'm a monster.

5. Confession: It's a struggle for me to be as open and honest on here since I announced this space publicly. It's so much easier for me to just make it about art and mood boards and to show you the latest Madewell pieces that I love. So, bear with me as I learn how to bare my soul to all of you.

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Home, Home

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I went to Florence last weekend for a visit that lifted me up and left me feeling a million times better. It's always hard to go home, because I know that I won't want to leave when my visit is over - especially during the holidays. I've always been a homebody, meaning that so much of my years were spent right at home. My mom and I would have "spa nights" together while all of my friends were at the movies or out getting ice cream. She and I would order our favorite salads, put on face masks, and curl up on the couch with movies that are now woven into every fiber of my being. This is why I can quote Notting Hill, You've Got Mail, Chocolat, Sabrina, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, One Fine Day, Two Weeks Notice, Pretty Woman, French Kiss, and many other 80's and 90's chick flicks backwards and forwards. We would bake together, and she and I would decorate for holidays as a team. At the very beginning of October, she would let me bring out the Halloween decorations, and I'd string faux spiderwebs down the banister. I'd bring out her vintage Santa collection, and arrange them just so for Christmas. We never missed decorating the Christmas tree together as a family. But, time passed, college happened, I moved away, my brother moved out, he traveled the world, and things slipped through the cracks. Now, she gets a tree whenever she has a chance, and we hope we are able to come help her decorate it. These are the bitter things about being home. I remember all of the things that I miss out on, and I know that I'm never around for things to be like they were.

But, the sweet things about being home are the new memories that we make. My dad moved into a new, beautiful house that is perfect for them. My mom and I make lists of everything we want to accomplish, and are doing a pretty good job so far of checking things off of it. My brother bought a house that I know is going to be a perfect home base for all of his travels to come to an end.

I've found that I'm making new, sweet memories every time I drive through the city of Florence and remember this parking lot where all of my friends piled in the back of Hope's SUV. I pass the spot where I had my first kiss, and the park where I would take Jon to throw rocks in the river. I take the back roads that I would drive in high school, just for fun. I pass the church that used to be the movie theater where I met my first boyfriend. I pass the coffee shop that I've been going to since before it was Rivertown, near the park where I once saw a stranger wait with a red rose for someone who never showed up. I pass the cemetery where I attended a policeman's funeral. I pass the park where I rode a tandem bicycle with my friend Samantha. I pass County Rd. 42, where I said something funny, which resulted in Hope making me a cd of songs, with my quote written in Sharpie as the album art. I pass the store where my mom used to buy soy milk for Jon, because all other milk made him sick. I pass the fairgrounds where I first saw my Wybie - my pup that my dad and stepmother have made their pup *grumble grumble*. I pass the clothing shop where my mom and I would get those little mini cheesecake bites during the Christmas parade. I remember feeling so fancy next to her, with her lipstick, and her wool coat, and her perfume floating along with her. I pass the ballpark where we would watch Andy play little league baseball. I pass the gas station where my dad met me after I walked up on my mom's house after someone had just broken in. I was panicking and I couldn't find my mom, but my dad rushed over to save the day. Oh, and my mom was at ballroom dance lessons the whole time *grumble grumble*. I pass Stagg's, where my dad and I would get hamburgers when I worked in the chemical plant with him that summer. I pass the place where he and I bought my steel-toed boots, and I remember thinking that I felt so badass, and that the old men in the shop couldn't handle my badassery. I pass the Indian Mound, that I visited once, and the restaurant that used to be Tourway, that I went to countless times. I pass Trowbridges, the ice-cream shop that I would walk to with my grandmother when I was very small, and then later as an adult with all of my friends. I still remember the pansies that were planted all around her apartment complex, and pansies always make me think of her. I have memories tied into every inch of my lovely hometown, and when I go home, they flood my heart and send me swimming.

Seeing things through a new, matured lens makes me want to hug my younger self, even if I'm sometimes embarrassed for her. I want to hug all of these memories close and never let them go.