Sunday, August 25, 2013

life in SD

I am slowly settling in to life in San Diego. I feel so blessed to be in such a cool city with people I love. I got to be here for my goddaughter's swim lesson:

Got the most amazing meat pies and cupcakes at the farmer's market a few blocks from my house:

Went to the Del Mar races with a huge group - so much fun!

And every day I enjoy the most beautiful peachy pink sunsets. Now all I need is my dream job and I will really be a California Girl!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

stayin' alive, stayin' alive, ah ah ah ah stayin' alive!

Yes, I am actually singing that song as I write this! I love plants. I think the difference in a room can absolutely be made with a simple vase of flowers or even a single stem. I don't consider a room "finished" until you add the life of nature and bring the outdoors in. That being said, I seem to kill everything I bring home with me. I am one of the few people who cannot keep an orchid or ficus alive. Now that I am out in Cali, I am grateful to be surrounded by lush gardens that professionals take care of. I also LOVE succulents, and the cottage has tons of different varieties all around. They seem a little hardier and I hope that I can keep them inside, as well.

I am now the proud owner of an orchid, a gorgeous fiddle leaf fig tree, and a bowl of succulents. The bowl was hand crafted by Alex at Pots A Lot Pottery in New Orleans as my going away gift. Isn't it gorgeous? Now let's see which plant lasts the longest!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

in the cottage

So there is lots going on inside the cottage, but I don't want to take complete room pics until I am happy with the whole thing and ready to publish them on my website. I have decided to show snippets here and there of the details that are important to me.

One of my best friends owns an art gallery (lucky me!) and I have gotten to know so much about art because of her and I love all of her artists. She and I are both single without kids so we were together almost every single day of the last five years I spent in New Orleans and she knows me so well - as my going away present she gave me this Heidi Lender photograph. It is my fave, though I love all of Heidi's work. It is a girl in the doorway of a trailer with her dog and shotgun! It makes me think of Mississippi (where I was born and raised) and makes me smile every time I see it.

I put it over my bar cart, which is in the kitchen right when you walk in the front door so it is the first thing you see. Thank you, Leslie, for helping to make my little cottage feel like home!
What do you guys think?


Friday, August 16, 2013

In the hood

I love to look at houses when I am on my evening walk. I will start showing you all some of the great houses in this area - they range from Spanish style adobe to classic California bungalows. I have posted several times on my love of black houses, so my first "In the hood" post is on this amazing black and white cottage. Isn't it gorgeous? The black and white is so sharp against green trees, and is also clean and modern, but cozy. I also really like the kick-out shade awnings on the front windows. What do you think?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

location, location, location

Isn't location everything in real estate? I am so thrilled with my cottage and where it is located. It is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood - so private and safe. You would not even know it was there if you were not looking for it, since it is sandwiched behind the main house and an apartment complex for older residents. Across the street and up a few blocks is a quaint shopping street with cafes and antique stores, and there is an awesome farmer's market on fridays. It is literally five minutes from my best friend, and a shopping center with a Target and other stores, and I can easily get on the interstate and get around. I love to go for long walks in the evening, and the neighborhood is so hilly I get an awesome workout. I think I will stay here for as long as I am in San Diego - it is the perfect place for me!

You can barely see the cottage from the street - that's it back center...

When you go up driveway you only see the front house

Visitors must come down side path to cottage

This is my back garden

I put the fox knocker on the side so I wouldn't mess up the door
Nestled in the hills
Great sunsets and views on my walks

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

the journey ends but the adventure is forever...(part 3)

More border patrols, more cactus (cacti?), more sand....and mom's first In N' Out Burger in Arizona (yum!!), and we were getting close! The foothills entering into California are so crazy I have no pictures. There were so many bridges and windy hills with enormous boulders - we had to focus on the driving. Then as you get outside of San Diego you are absolutely blown away by the monolithic windmills. They are so huge it is difficult to get a good picture of them, and they are absolutely awe inspiring...

They are actually producing so much energy for the area, it is very interesting to read about them. A few more crazy foothills (where you get up to 4000 feet), and then:

Better call those movers that I set up weeks ago to make sure we are all on the same page - yep, they will meet us at the cottage.

Um, many of you know about the years I had to take care of Smokey the cat that was not mine and how happy I was to get away from her. Look who lives at the cottage: I mistook her for an armadillo...

So I met the wonderful neighbors and we started unpacking the truck while we waited for the movers and then the landlord and her hubby came by so we could talk while we waited for the movers and then the cable/internet guy came by and installed the cable while we waited for the movers and called them and got some excuses and the electrician came and installed my lighting while we waited some more and then the chickens next door came by:

while we waited for the movers and then they would not answer the phone anymore to my calls. DO NOT EVER USE MY MOVERS  IN SAN DIEGO - THEY ARE THE WORST!

By this time it was the end of the day and we could not get another set of movers for the same day, so we called some who promised to be there at 8am. We decided to go to dinner and to run some errands. When we came out after eating to start the car: it would not start!

It was at this point that we started saying, "If it weren't for BAD luck we would have no luck at all!" I will spare you all the details about the mobile mechanic, but if anyone ever breaks down in San Diego anywhere at all, Jose and his daughter will come fix it. 619-339-4863  Se habla espaƱol.

The next day Gorilla Movers came - they are professional and great! We spent the entire day unpacking and setting everything up and we kept asking everyone where we could take our boxes and trash. In NOLA I would have just put them on the curb, but you cannot do that in Cali. We finally figured out that there is an EDCO recycling center literally 2 miles from my cottage. Sounds pretty clean, right? Turns out it is an indoor landfill and you should def get face masks if you go...

I mean MOUNTAINS of garbage with birds and rats running around - a mist comes out from the ceiling to keep down the dust. The workers there do have masks on but we inhaled this mess for ten minutes as we tried to quickly throw the boxes onto the piles...

With our sinuses and lungs permanently damaged, we called it a night. The next day was our last day together and we decided it was finally time to reach the coast we had set out for so long ago. It seemed like months since we had left New Orleans.

We finally reached the Pacific! We spent a gorgeous day in La Jolla together and then my mama had to head back home. I can't believe all we went through to get here. I am so thrilled with the cottage and the weather and this new adventure - please check back in to see what we did with the cottage.
We will never forget this trip - thank you so much, Mama!

Monday, August 12, 2013

the trip continues (part 2)

So after running out of gas we were determined to not get into that predicament again. We had to find the nearest town to buy some cans and fill them with gas. This is what the nearest town had to offer, and I almost convinced mama to stay there just for the experience!

I wanted to have dinner here but Mama would not stop

Have you ever seen a cuter motel??
We bought two cans and filled them with gas - there was a whole process about how we were supposed to ventilate the cans, and we could not put them in the closed, hot truck, so we put them on the seats in my car back on the car carrier. We rolled down the windows on the car and were back on the road!

A little more of this...

And a few more hours of this:

There were tons of dust devils whipping up out in the desert that looked like mini tornadoes and I was dying to see a tumbleweed! Then half the sky suddenly (I mean in minutes) got black and there was a freak rain/sand storm...

Wait, the windows are down on the car! Pull over so I can roll them up! I was caught out in the strongest rain, wind, and sand while my mother laughed helplessly in the cab of the truck. I sprained my ankle jumping off the car carrier and changed my clothes in the truck.

I was never so happy to be done with Texas as we FINALLY pulled into El Paso...El Paso is really side by side (literally joining under the interstate) with Ciudad Juarez, which is a Mexican city. There were huge areas that looked like slums behind a tall fence on one side of the interstate, and then huge, brightly lit signs and commercial properties of El Paso on the other side. On the side that is the US, there is a huge Texas star set into the hillside glowing over the Mexican side:

I'm sure the Mexicans appreciate this
We zipped into New Mexico but there was nothing to see since we couldn't really leave the interstate. We stopped, exhausted for the night.

The next morning we were thrilled to head into Arizona, though we had heard that the Sonoran desert is even worse than the Texas desert. Impossible! we said....

The Arizona sign is the only color you will see for the next ten hours
You thought cacti were interesting to look at...

Until you look at them for ten hours. And then the dunes start...

There are truly times you would think you are in the Sahara - except for the border patrols everywhere and the signs every few miles that say:  Prison Area - Do not pick up hitchhikers.
Holy cats!

Even though you have done nothing wrong you get nervous when pulled over by a border patrol. We had to go through three checkpoints. At the first one we were so nervous I am sure we looked guilty of something! The first question they ask is, "Are you both citizens?" My mama was so scared she just looked at me. Yes, yes is the answer, mama!

The second question is, "What is in the truck?" For a second you wonder, do I have illegals in the truck? Might I be smuggling drugs and not know it? I held up my map and we both mumbled something about moving cross country. I am sure they thought we were idiots.

We got a call from my uncle and when we told him about the gas cans we were transporting, he made us stop and empty them into the truck. We took them out of my car and opened them up and they hissed and spurted! We had not ventilated them at all and were pulling them in 120 heat in the desert! Any friction at all could have sparked a fireball - we were delirious at this point, laughing that we could have been pulling a fiery car carrier behind us through the desert!

to be continued...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

holy cats! (part 1)

I put off writing this post for so long because, frankly, it is exhausting just thinking about it. I was going to write out the entire adventure in detail - my cross country move, aka Julia and Liz's Cross Country Debacle 2013 - in one post, but in the interests of saving my sanity and your time, I am going to let the pics do most of the talking and split it up into a few posts.

I thought when I decided to move that I might be able to hire and train a replacement at Interior Designs, but since the owner lives in North Carolina, she decided it was time to close - after 25 years of business. So I had about two weeks to completely shut down a retail store. I am proud to say that I sold almost every single item and emptied out the entire store in those two weeks. There were many clients and friends that were out of town and will be shocked when they discover that we have closed; in fact it is still a shock to me, as well.

Interior Designs, Inc. closed after 25 years - surreal

I worked through Saturday, the 27th. That evening we went down the street for a goodbye cocktail party, and the next day my mom came in for the big move. I thought I had everything so nicely packed that it would be a simple matter for movers to load us up and get out of town. I was wrong. 

16 foot truck plus car carrier = a hot mess
Even with our help, the movers took several hours to load up the truck. Then we had to go back to the truck rental place so they could help us attach the car carrier. This picture does not adequately show how long this travel arrangement was. Driving a 16 foot truck with a car carrier attached is not easy, my friends. It feels like an 18 wheeler! We were not able to leave Nola until 4pm on Monday and the goal was to reach El Paso by midnight. We could only pull straight off the interstate into truck stops - we could not go anywhere that involved turns or reversing! Needless to say, we were emotionally and physically drained that night.

Tuesday we embarked on the trip across the Texas desert. I will say this about Texas. There is a star on every single building and riding along the border with Mexico is not fun. If you are in a regular car at least the speed limit is 80 mph. But a huge truck will not get over 65. So Tuesday was 14 hours of this:

                                        and this...      

                                     and this...

We had decided to start looking for a truck stop or gas station every time the truck was on half a tank. So when we reached Ozona, TX, we still had more than half a tank and did not stop. For some reason we did not get the memo that Ozona, TX is the ABSOLUTE LAST CHANCE FOR GAS FOR HUNDREDS OF MILES. Another hour with absolutely nothing in sight and we started to worry. 

We were writing a journal notebook of our trip so we would always remember how it went. At this point in the journal I wrote: "Can't find gas station. 1/4 tank left @ 2pm. 767 miles into trip. No cell service." We were putting notes in the notebook so that our loved ones would know what we had done if we had to leave the truck! We were trying desperately to call and text people when we had a spot of cell service, but then we were on empty and there was no cell service at all and nothing in sight. We were making jokes about me dragging my mom across the desert on a moving blanket, but it was truly not funny. Then I decided that if we totally ran out I would unhitch the car and try to go on in it to look for gas. Only later did we realize that my small car would not have made it to the next stop either.

Finally, ahead there was a rest stop. There was no gas or phone or anything there, but there was a place to park the truck and a bathroom, so we pulled off the interstate. There was a little old man sitting there in a tan work outfit. I asked him where the next gas was, and he said, "in the trunk of my car." We almost died from happiness! He charged us $30 for five gallons of gas, and that got us to the next gas station. I truly believe this man was an angel sent to save us.

to be continued...