Chasing Dreams

“Your OCD is showing!” a neighbor yelled to me on her daily stroll past my home. She’d caught me looking a little neurotic I’m sure, painting the freshly patched windowsills no one will ever notice. She couldn’t have known that this was just one task of many I had been ticking off in anticipation of selling the house that has been slowly wearing me down since I moved in. I was painting with purpose, damn it. But she called it. So this is how people see me, I thought. Determined, frenzied and maybe, just a little crazy. As if on cue, things I’d heard and held came to mind:

“Brooke, you only have one speed.” – Mom

“Your body has been in survival mode, and it shows.” – Doctor

“My counselor and I were talking about how I can’t sit still, and I thought of you!” – Friend

The things that people say, stick with us. And because we operate differently and see the world through our own unique lens, they can be very different from what we tell ourselves. I don’t like how I feel when I hear these things. And while these same words contain some good, it is my nature to focus instead on the negative aspects. Either way, these observations are not how I want to be seen, how I wish to be remembered or how I really want to live. On the other hand – these comments also stick:

“You may be on your own, but you are enough.” – Friend

“Be careful what you ask for. You usually get it.” – Family/Architect

“Man. When you decide to do something, you really go for it.” – Contractor who is now like family

Those words are positive and empowering, but the attributes they implicate can have a negative side. A day spent at the local ER with massive chest pains was an eye-opener and even more confirmation that life needed to be less stressful…immediately. As I sat next to an overdose patient waiting for my EKG results, I wondered if my attempt to embody Wonder Woman would end tragically in the crowded waiting room while my children sat at home expecting my return. Certainly, I didn’t intentionally wind up here anymore than my new friend Drunk Tank Tammy. Had I been completely ignoring my health, as I do with all my other needs? I knew I wasn’t blameless (cue voices again). Looking at Tammy, I realized she probably had a lot more fun getting here than I, and yet here we both were. Annoying.

Fortunately, my screens came back clean as a whistle, but it didn’t make the symptoms or experience any less real or less frightening. I had been forced to wonder if my kids would know how much I loved them. If I’d spent enough quality time with them, and I worried that they may have doubts about how important they were to me. Sadness, fear and insecurities flooded in and I was left thinking that they’d grow up questioning if I’d put them first.

That was my “aha moment” sitting right there in a row of nasty vinyl seats under horrible fluorescent lighting, I diagnosed my own illness and solidified my resolution to be DONE with the insane pace of my overachieving ass. It’s time for me to find purpose not in the pace, but in some peace. I realized I have been not only distracted, but exhausted by all the to-dos, bills and project management swirling around in my head.

Time for a simpler lifestyle so I can Namastayathome. I needed a home for my boys that is less project and more playtime, where living life is the focus and I could envision waving off the boys out the kitchen window as they hopped on their school buses.

I am done with trying to be all, have it all, do it all. Despite what “modern wisdom” tells us or whatever pop culture is pushing now, you cannot “do it all”. Something nearly always suffers. Something else has to give way and you never feel like you’re measuring up in all departments of life. Killing it at work, are you? P.S. Your family wants you home more. Celebrities succeed – but only with a team of nannies, housekeepers and chefs assisting them. Overly ambitious single moms just end up in ERs with episodes of angina. Take it from me, the dream of “doing it all” usually ends up more like a nightmare, if you’re doing it right.

Our lives don’t always end up looking like we envisioned them. Relationships fail, people come in and out of your life and plans go to shit sometimes. The home I loved and invested so much time, effort and money in, ended up not serving our family’s needs so well, but it will be perfect for another family. I was struggling to make it all work, suffering as a result and so did all the people around me, by default. Dreams can be as big as a house or as small as a gesture. I bought a dress for a special occasion that never came. That’s the trouble. I was trying to make life do what I wanted, and life had other plans.

So on my 43rd birthday, I celebrated the victory of being done. Done with our home renovation, done with chasing dreams that don’t want to be caught and done with the daily marathon I’ve been running. I had pictures taken to list our home for sale as a gift to myself. It ended up being a very happy birthday, surrounded by friends I can lean on. I’m very content with all of it. I’m 43 and happy to live another day. I find myself wondering…how’s Tammy doing?

P.S. I wore the dress that hung in my closet for two years for no reason at all except to mark the occasion and new beginnings. Seems like reason enough.

You can have your grapes and eat them too

According to “Kitsch” is defined as: something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste. As clean and classic as I’ve tried to keep my home, I haven’t been able to completely escape the kitsch. I admit to loving the mid-century crazes of owls and grapes.

In a very early post of mine,

I complained about the price of some mid-century modern accessories. More specifically, glass grapes. Having become a shop owner and attempting to start a business of my own based around all things mid-century modern I have become keenly aware of the time, research, effort and GAS it takes to find these sought-after treasures. I better understand now why some items I see are so very expensive. Readers, I stand corrected. (That’s not to say there aren’t complete rip-off artists out there in the MCM world…because there are. It’s up to you to decide for yourself what something is worth to you.)

More to that point, the process of decorating my living room in mid-century style is now complete and I’ve moved on to what we’ll call the “den.” It’s the room that we actually live in: the one that’s most often covered in my son’s dinosaurs and super heroes. When clean, it was an “okay” space; it was missing something. I figured out what that something was when watching an episode of my favorite show on t.v. right now, New Girl. If you haven’t seen it, you should. The star of the show is the ever quirky and adorable Zooey Deschanel who is surrounded by an equally bizarre but charming cast.

New Girl - Grape Inspiration
New Girl – Grape Inspiration

Do you see them? Are those lucite grapes not PERFECT in all their blue glory? They were taunting me…making an appearance in episode after episode. I had to have them. They matched my “scheme” and accent pillows….but where would I find them? Answer:, where everything is.

Ta -Daaaaaaa!!!!!!My very own bodacious bunch of blue lucite grapes.
Ta -Daaaaaaa!!!!!!After swallowing my pride and forking over $25 plus shipping of my hard-earned cash, I had my very own bodacious bunch of blue lucite grapes. 


So, after all my lecturing about how much things should cost, I will admit to my hypocrisy. For some things, I’m willing to stretch the budget just a bit; even if it is “kitsch.”  If you want them bad enough you can have your grapes and eat them too.

Boutique Showcase: Palm Springs, CA

If you’re lucky enough to get to Palm Springs, California, you can’t miss N. Palm Canyon Drive, in the heart of the city. The best part of Palm Springs for you Modernist junkies is that the city itself and it’s architecture is almost frozen in time. Palm Springs was built up in the 50’s and 60’s during the height of the mid-century modern movement. It’s a place famous for it’s “Desert Modernism” architecture that has been so well preserved for all of us to enjoy today. Even the old town shops that originated in the 1930’s still remain as mini-museums open to the public.  What IS new in Palm Springs are many of the mid-century modern and modern boutiques that line N. Palm Canyon Drive. Distinctivehome PS (Palm Springs) is just one of them.

This store was absolute eye candy. All of my favorite colors came together and I was left paralyzed.
This store was absolute eye candy. All of my favorite colors came together and I was defenseless to their powers

Shout out to Frenchie lovers.

I need this book….and that suit.

077 078 079

This should be a lesson to you all: Mid-Century Modern does NOT have to look OLD. In fact, I found this store to be very reasonably priced. If your decor is in desperate need of a pop of color or fabulous wall art, head over to distinctivehomePS. You will not be disappointed.

Other notable shops to look for on N. Palm Canyon Drive:


20 First Vintage & Modern

A la Mod

Vintage Oasis

Happy Shopping!

Palm Springs, CA – Mid-Century Modern Mecca

I thought I’d found my happy place…until I arrived in Palm Springs, California. There is no place on earth quite like it. Palm Springs has one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture anywhere. The yearly offered Modernism Week is a one-of-a-kind celebration of these beautiful buildings and homes. It’s remarkable to think that so many of them have been preserved and restored so that they can be revered even today.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, William Cody and William Krisel are just a few of the incredible minds and hands that helped shape this gorgeous community. You cannot drive anywhere in Palm Springs without witnessing the simplicity and beauty of mid-century modern design.
Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, William Holden and Steve McQueen called Palm Springs home at one point.
Next year, I fully intend on doing the Modernism Week right by attending the walking tours, bus tours and home tours. I’ll be saving up and have something to look forward to. However, if you’re on a budget like our family was this time around, you can take what I call the poor man’s tour any time of the year.
When you drive into Palm Springs, you can’t miss the gorgeous Tramway Gas Station built in 1965 by Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers, which now serves as the city’s visitor center.
Pick up a “Map of Modern Palm Springs” for $5 and you will hold in your hand a detailed treasure map that features addresses and building history for all the modern points of interest in the city, which are too many to tackle in one day. For you nerd bomber Apple lovers, you can download the app at directly on to your Apple device.

Tramway Gas Station
Tramway Gas Station

Here are just a few pictures we took on our self-guided tour:

She's not mid-century....but she's an icon of the time, and therefore, must be included.
She’s not mid-century….but she’s an icon of the time, and therefore, must be included.

According to the artist, this is what she was sporting underneath….what do you think?

Palm Springs features it’s own walk of fame complete with stars not unlike Hollywood.

Sinatra residence which features a beautiful amoeba-shaped pool just on the other side of this view.

Not a famous person’s house, but merely an example of what is standard in the area as far as design.


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"Armed Response" gave us a giggle. In other words, "All you crazy Modernists have driven us nuts. Get too close and we'll put a cap in ya."
“Armed Response” gave us a giggle. In other words, “All you crazy Modernists have driven us nuts. Get too close and we’ll put a cap in ya.”

There is certainly no shortage of MCM to fill your cup. It’s definitely a new favorite spot for me. Now to manage a weekend away….now that I’ve seen it, I have to get back!

Next week, I’ll feature just one of the many mid-century modern/modish boutiques on Palm Canyon Drive. The shops alone are worth a trip…