6 months in America

It's been over six months since my last post -- six wonderful, exciting and fulfilling months. Up until a few weeks ago, I didn't even have my primary computer (my much-loved and ever-aging 27" iMac) in the house yet. I won't claim that I've spent the last six months "unplugged" by any stretch of the imagination, but they certainly were less-wired and for that I feel very thankful.

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During the height of our blog popularity -- from mid-2011 to mid-2012 when we averaged about 6,500 unique visitors a day -- I found myself in a constant state of experiencing life through the lens of "how am I going to blog about this?" It's a strange existence to be thinking about how you are going to present an experience to an audience when you should actually be experiencing it for yourself. I'm not complaining, just simply stating out loud that it's an interesting way to live.

Our regular blogging worked for us. It gave me an outlet for my writing and a place to share our experiences. The blog also helped connect us to future friends and to future clients. Lots of winning there that outweighed the negatives.

This time last year, however, as we began to seriously consider returning back to the U.S., I found myself less interested in the responsibility of blogging. Once we made the official decision to move back, I wanted to fully and, to be honest, selfishly, experience my last few months in Italy. I wanted to eat gelato without taking a photo. I wanted to stop on the Ponte Vecchio to take a photo because I wanted it, and not because I needed a photo for tomorrow's post. I wanted to absorb everything I possible could during those months.

Then, a funny thing happened. When we got back to the U.S. I found myself feeling that same yearning for privacy and personal experience and decided to take a break from blogging. It's been a relief and rejuvenating. It's also allowed me to focus whole-heartedly on setting up our new life here in Chapel Hill, NC.

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I've been reading blogs for the better part of a decade. I've been in that position before of following someone for years and then suddenly…poof…they disappear from the internet. I know that they aren't bound to me in any way, but it still feels like losing a friend without any explanation, in a weird way. It's not my intention to leave readers of this blog in that way, but I do have to tell you that our time apart has made my heart grow a little fonder.

I'm not sure what shape or form this blog will take as we go forward, but I do want to thank those of you that still come (a surprisingly large number of people) looking through the archives and, perhaps, hoping for a new update. I recognize that the experience my husband and I had from 2011 - 2014 was unique to say the least and that, yes, we were even "living the dream." Italy was a huge piece of that dream for a very long time and Florence is weaved into the fabric of my being at this point. But, to  be honest, I feel more so now than ever that I'm still living the dream. Life changes and dreams evolve along with it.

So, let's play catch-up. What's new in your lives?

 

 

The Family Portrait Project

In 2011, I had a family portrait painted by Inslee Haynes. It was the first time that I'd ever sprung for a custom portrait of any sort and I totally fell in love with it! After that experience, I decided have a family portrait made each year.

In 2012, I found My Little Buffalo, a graphic design firm out of Portland. The style was so quirky and fun. For 2013, I had an artist on Etsy make it. I'm not going to link to her because I found her really slow and uncommunicative, but I still really like the final product, so I'm happy in that respect. 

I think getting portraits done is a really fun way to capture our little family as it changes. Photography is amazing (photos from Paris coming soon!), but there is something so cute and special about these.  I love that we can change the artistic style up each year, too.

Here is the 2013 family portrait...

Here's 2012:

And, finally, a flashback to 2011:

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An update from our neck of the woods

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Long time, no blog. Things have been busy around Casa Hash. There are lots of exciting new things on the horizon -- work! life! everything in between! -- and the blog has become a bit neglected. 'Tis the life of an online marketing consultant and designer. Honestly, after a long day sitting in front of my computer the last thing that I typically want to do is...sit in front of my computer...more.

I'll be back with general life updates soon, but one thing I do want to prep you for is that I'm totally redesigning/rethinking my online blogging life. Between business and personal endeavors I think we have like five different sites out in the world right now. I'm designing and developing a new site that will merge everything in to one (thank the Lord!) and will therefore be easier to manage and update.

I tell you this because if you're a casual visitor and you type in our blog address in a month or two you will most likely be redirected to something that looks different. So, don't be surprised.

Update: if you see this message it means you're on the new blog...yay!

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving On Saturday we had a fun Thanksgiving party at our house. It was potluck-style (everyone brought a few dishes), the amazing turkey was ordered from a local rosticceria, and lots of vino was consumed. It was an fantastic, no-stress day.

I've been thinking a lot about these littles families that we expats create for ourselves abroad. When I looked at the group of 15 people we had the pleasure of sharing our Thanksgiving with, I saw a table full of people that were either very far from home or the loving partners of people very far from home. It's a lot of work no matter which category you fall into and I feel fortunate to be surrounded by people that make the distance from "home" a little easier.

This year hasn't been the easiest, but as I sat at that table full of great people I was reminded just how lucky we are to call each and every one of these people our friends. They have and continue to enrich our lives in wonderful ways.

This year, I am thankful for my Florence family. 

 

Life...a year ago.

4eace30ba9dd38d01ce945a5aec36c67 55da0c10c1b970d281b605eac9e5bcd6 This past week I joined the 21st century and got an iPhone. OK, so technically I already owned an iPhone, but it was from 2007. Seriously, tell me someone else that you know that has owned the same phone for 6 years. I kept waiting for the dang thing to die, but it never did. Finally, we decided to get new phones in Casa Hash so that we could properly photo and video Livia's entire childhood :-)

Now that I have a phone that actually gets internet outside of the house, I'm getting back in to Instagram -- I  forgot how much I like it. The photos above are pulled from last August and September. It's fun to think about how full of anticipation and excitement we were to meet Livia. As we come up on her 1st birthday, it's hard to believe it's been nearly 12 months since the moment of her big arrival.