Sunday, June 30, 2013
Yesterday morning was a day well spent at the farmers market in my hometown Marietta. Every Saturday and Sunday mornings to the early afternoons all of our local farmers come out to the square and sell their freshest flowers, sprigs of Georgia grown cotton, fruits and vegetables, homemade strawberry coconut popsicles, jumbo shrimp from the coast of Georgia, homemade cajun remoulade and more! Everyone and their grandma is out in their summer sundresses and it's like a zoo of dogs! All kinds of dogs from greyhounds to golden doodles just prancing around while strangers mingle and laugh away.
I was really excited when my mom and I spotted the Georgia grown cotton. This woman brought in the most beautiful cotton ball-like sprigs and they were selling out fast, fast, fast, fast, FAST. So we dashed and bought ourselves a sprig. I had to. How I'll ever take that home on the plane with me, heaven knows, but I will make it happen. There is nothing more southern to me than a sprig of Georgia grown cotton and I also bend over backwards for quaint pieces of home to bring back to Utah with me. I want to buy a acrylic display box large enough to place my sprig of cotton in so it's protected and displayed for all the world to see. I want it to be a symbol of home.
It was the perfect day. For being the last Saturday being home, I was in high spirits. I love the historic homes of Marietta. For Christmas, my parents gave my sisters and I a beautiful table book of the historic homes of Marietta, for Marietta is know as the "Gem City of the South." All I can say is, amen to that. Tomorrow I board the plane back to Utah. I'm throwing a personal pitty party but all is well, because I know that you can have roots, and you can have wings too.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
I don't mean to be dramatic, but it's the honest truth when I say, I get really emotional and somewhat down when I leave home. The thought of having to go elsewhere wondering when the next time I'll be back to the one true place where I belong really bothers me. It overwhelms me with sadness and anxiety.
Most people are romantics. I'd say I'm one of them, but more-so with cities, states and places. Now, that's a strange kind of hopeless romantic, I know. Just when I think it's no longer possible to fall in love with Georgia more than I already am, there I go again falling deeper and deeper. The South is a whole other world down here. I don't mean to toot it's horn, but I will, because I can't help it. America is America, no matter where you live, it's free and beautiful. But I tell ya, there is no place like the South. And though I am bias, because it's my home, I'm telling you the honest truth.
People just don't seem to understand the way of life down here until they truly experience it. Georgia is the one true place where I feel like my true self. I'm not saying I'm not myself elsewhere, but coming home to the South brings this abundance of youthful excitement and wonder. I'm giddy when I'm home. I'm in lighter spirits. I'm uplifted because I see the hospitality. The other day, my parents and I went to our local grocery store and while my mom ran in real quick to grab a few items, my Dad and I stayed in the car. Now, what I saw doesn't happen every single time, but it will happen quite often and it's not strange when it does happen, it's just what we do down here - a bagger working at the grocery store was pushing a womans cart all the way out of the store and to her car and unloaded her grocery bags for her and into her trunk. And the whole walking trip to her car, though short, was filled with chatter and laughter and you knew they didn't even know each other. It just brought a smile to my face and that's when my dad said under his breath, "that's the South for you."
People truly go out of there way down here, to be a friend and no longer a stranger. People smile more, and though we are really slow down here with our drawls and crawls, we take our time because we can. Why rush when you can seize the day? I guess I just get sad to leave home because it's where I belong. The South is where I feel most comfortable, it feels right, I'm content here. I'm sure everyone feels that way with where they have grown up and call home, so I know you understand the feeling.
I have an overwhelming feeling of love for my home. It's hard to put my feelings and thoughts into words and its quite frustrating at times. "Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles played in the car yesterday as my mom and I were driving home from Atlanta and I tried real hard to bundle up all of my emotions, but that song - the sounds of it, the mood and place it takes you, it's everything I feel and hear when I come home or think of Georgia. It's hard to explain and understand, I'm sure. But it's that good ol' fashioned feeling I get. And it brings me back down to earth when I hear it, and it makes me feel at ease and at home. My good friend from North Carolina, her mom always says, "You can have roots and you can have wings." That's a good reminder when you can't always have your way and you find yourself living far from home. Sadly, the selfish person in me doesn't care to have wings. I'd rather just dig deep in my roots. Such is life.
Well, since I have been home, we've done nothing but soaked up the humidity and thunderstorms and yes, tornados, and it's been a thrill! My whole family is back in Georgia. I, of course, am the odd ball out - probably the real one in the family who wishes nothing more but to be in the South for the rest of my life, and of course I am the one out in Utah. My sister and her family moved back home and are about an hour west of Atlanta and my other sister and her family are in the process of moving to Tennessee. So you see, now I'm even more homesick with the thought that everyone is here and I am elsewhere. That sob story is beside the point.
The point is, we've been having a blast. I've been eating like a queen, as I always do when I come home. I dare not step on the scale and I will not stop eating beignets, grits and fried cajun pickles until I leave. You hear?
I took the Zoo to his first Braves game with my whole family and boy was it a night. That was probably one of my favorite nights out of this whole trip being home. There is nothing better than a good ol' southern American summer night at a baseball game with the skyline of Atlanta glittering at you and a warm hug of humidity giving you tender love and care as you down a hot dog. Did I mention I had two hotdogs? So, one of my favorite places to go to in downtown Atlanta near Georgia Tech is a tradition in our city called, "The Varsity." Opening in 1928, The Varsity is a two-story "lunching pad" that is known and loved by all in Georgia. With their famous line while ordering the best chili cheese dogs, naked dogs, a frosted orange and a fried pie, they'll scream at you "What'll ya have!" The Varsity is the worlds largest Drive-In believe it or not and on days of a home football game at the Georgia Tech stadium over 30,000 people come to visit The Varsity. I can't blame them one bit. You seriously take a step back in time when you walk through those doors. The smell of the grease, the commotion and energy, the original tile, chairs and paint bring allows the old days to come back to life. Zeke loved the Varsity, claiming it was one of the best Chili Cheese Dogs he's ever downed. Atta boy Zeke Squad!
Every time I'm home, I always love to touch up on the history of where I grew up. The older I get, the more I realize how much of a history obsessor I am. Especially about specific families and people that made history in Georgia. My mom and I explored the Atlanta History Center being able to go to the Civil War Museum which was unbelievable and we toured The Swan House (which is where I would have had my wedding reception, had the Zoo and I gotten married at home). And we also had the privilege to eat lunch in the Swan Coach House which is a real proper luncheon. My mom use to take me here when I was younger for tea parties. It was sort of comical and took me straight back to "The Help." We were seated in a large room with the most gorgeous crystal chandelier and beautiful pink floral wallpaper and the room was filled to the brim with older women, just chatting away wearing their best dresses. The background noise was nothing but that ol' southern drawl of gossip and we ate nothing but pimento cheese tea sandwiches and I thought to myself, "Where the heck is Miss Hilly and I want my bingo sheet ASAP!"
Later that night, my mom and I went into her garden in our backyard and picked ourselves some home grown basil and lemon balm while the fireflies sparkled throughout the night. That's another thing that makes the South so magical - fireflies. Now you've heard my engagement story concerning the southern fire flies, right? If not, do read up on it here. Have you guys ever been to Disneyland and been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride? If so, remember the part where you are in the swamps and you pass by the restaurant and it's all dark with the live oak trees and the spanish moss is hanging from them and you see lots of glitter twinkling through the trees and in the night sky? Well, those my friends are "fireflies" and they are not exaggerating. That is exactly what it looks like with THAT AMOUNT of them. They are everywhere and it makes this place so magical and whimsical. It's a dream come true down here.
By this time, the Zoo had to fly back to Utah for work which is never fun, but he's a good sport and he's also so kind for letting me stay home an extra week with my parents, since I don't get to come home too often. So last night, my parents and I went on the Roswell Ghost Tour near my house. You can't believe how much history is in the South. There are so many stories to be heard and to tell of. So many people who we should know about. With the Civil War in mind, and all of the devastating history we carry, though we are ashamed of it - it's history no matter what and it should be talked about. The South has the most intriguing stories ever, especially those stories concerning the families who built the plantations here and were forced to leave due to Sherman's March to the Sea. Hearing stories of Confederate soldiers being seen all through town. Visiting Founders Cemetery learning of the slaves who were buried there and also learning that most of the city of Roswell today was built on top of graves. Everything - it's all just so intriguing to me and I can't stop eating it all up. I kind of want to be a historian. Aside from wanting to be a ghost hunter, I think I'd love to be a historic tour guide of the South. I'm just saying.
I've been in my own little world since I've been home and I am not ready to leave it. I'm going to be mature about leaving home this time around and leave home with a heart full of gratitude for even being able to have the means to come back home and knowing that I'll be back as soon as I can. I love this place with my whole entire heart. Aside from my family, the gospel and my friends, nothing means more to me than this place. "Just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind."
Friday, June 28, 2013
A little wild, huh? We've been coming to this island for about 18 years now, and though each of us in the family grow older, we always find our young selves here on this island. This island really brings the kid outta you. I made a video of our trip here on the island in 2010 and that's all so I promised myself I'd do another one this time around. I don't know why I don't make one every year. Somethings gotta change so from here on out, a film of our happy place will be captured every year. Mark my words.
I have never loved a place more besides my home in Georgia. But Hilton Head Island, it's my second home. I've grown up here since age seven, and now the island has seen me through my awkward teenage years, my wild collage years, and now bringing my husband along with me for the ride. Our family has made friends on the island who are true treasures to us, especially our main squeeze, Mr. Pool Bar Jim. He always gives us a warm welcome back to the island every year. "Can't believe you're married now Miss Robbins! I still remember you guys ordering drink as kids!" he'd say.
This vacation is better than Christmas. Not an ounce of presents will make me as happy as I am when I cross over the bridge of marshes and enter the island of palmettos and live oak trees. Nothing else brings me such joy. Nothing. One week out of the year is just not enough time spent on the island. I count my blessings over and over again that my parents bit the bullet, though it didn't take much, to finally buy themselves a home in Hilton Head that will become a heirloom in the family. Now I can really say, that this place is my second home sweet home and nothing else warms my soul.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I know what you're thinking, a load of photos, but photos from film and photos from the Caribbean in 1981 of my parents honeymoon! A couple of weeks ago was my parents 32nd wedding anniversary and to celebrate, we dug up their honeymoon photos only to find that they were in the form of SLIDES. Talk about a major buzz kill... that is until we found the slide projector!
Unfortunately, as cool as the slide projector was, we realized the bulb was burnt out and ancient, and to find a new one we'd have to dig real deep all over the internet, so we quit our crying and bucked up and took the slides to Costco and waited a couple of weeks for them to develop.
The wait was worth it! Are these photographs amazing or what? I love the scenery that my parents captured, and I love these shots of them when they were just babes deep in love and all mushy gooshy. These photos just make me so happy. It's crazy to think that I am currently the age that they are in these photos. They look the exact same to me, with slight different hairstyles and wardrobe.
Good gosh am I ever so giddy over these photos! I can't get over how beautiful they are. As an artist, you know I'm always viewing things in an artistic way, shoot me. But for real, esthetically, these are over the top pleasing! You know how I gush over my favorite photographer from the 50's -70's, Slim Aarons? Well, I must admit, some of these photos remind me of some of his work!
I cannot wait to print these out and frame them for all of the world to see. These are new keepsakes of mine and I love having photos of my parents when they were alone and in love. Photos are so important to me. I know I can be a bit over the top and take a few too many in not so important events or occasions but every moment matters to me. My brain can only remember so much that I have to capture the moment and keep it still, forever. I know sometimes I can drive the Zoo insane with the camera, and I don't blame him, but when I dig up treasures like these and see the fun times my parents had together when they were kids, I am really grateful to have these photos for myself. Thank goodness for these! I just hope the same goes for my future kids that they'll want to share and look at photos of Zeke and I - see how we've had our fun, our adventures, how we've aged. Photos are precious and one of the most valuable things we keep throughout our lives.
Happy 32nd Anniversary to my parents, who've shown me how to love and love the right way. To forget your head, and listen to you heart. To love with humility. I'm so thankful you've chosen each other and have fallen in love. 1981 is a special year, one for the records. I'm thinking we take your 50th anniversary back to the islands of the Caribbean, what-a ya say? I love you two so much. I couldn't think of a more perfect pair.
Monday, June 24, 2013
It's true, my girl Marissa Hicken has now exchanged her last name for Benson and she lives with a boy. We are all fist pumping in the air.
I'm a few weeks behind if you can't tell. I've been flying all over the place and I am just now managing to jot down the past couple of weeks. Im currently home in Georgia for another week hanging with my parents and visiting my sisters and their families. We just got back from our annual family vacation yesterday marking our 18th year stepping foot on our second home - Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The poor Zoo had to fly back to Utah tonight and has to move all our crap outta of the bungalow and into our new townhouse, which I have yet to give it a name. I'm feeling pretty guilty that I am not there to help.
Any hoo. Back to the Bensons. Marissa & Dan tied the knot Friday, June 7 and boy was it a special day and one that goes down into the books of partying. This wedding turned out to be a girls trip with my best friends, as all of our husbands and fiance's couldn't make it to the wedding. Oh, and our favorite, Chadwick, came along which was a bonus! So we took advantage since we all no longer live in the same state anymore and it was more fun than I could ever imagine. I miss my girls. They are some of my favorite people on the planet.
Marissa looked stunning and Dan was just flat out love struck. The ceremony was touching, the reception was perfect with it's little touches of Marissa and the dancing was freaking off the chain! Don't get me wrong, I danced at my wedding... but I didn't get as down as I normally do seeing as how I had a whoppin' wedding dress on. But this night, it was nothing but a yellow wool pencil skirt, bare feet and not a care in the world. Beads of sweat were dripping, music was roaring, it was the Great freaking Gatsby I tell ya!
Us girls were so worn out that night, but I couldn't manage to go to bed too early as of course I had to top the night off with telling the slumber party some ghost stories which led to 4 am before we knew it. I felt like I was in collage again (well technically, and sadly, I still am) but you know, living the collage life. It's a life that I am okay without right now, but at times a little dosage of it here and there really keeps you feeling young. I just adore my girlfriends. We could not be happier for Dan and Marissa. It was a special weekend. I can't wait to greet the Bensen's as my neighbors when I get back to Utah. It's about freaking time they are married! Congrats to the two California dream boats! We love you!
Monday, June 24, 2013
Majority of people have a list of places to travel to around the world. I'm one of those people but along with that list, I have a list of hotels I want to visit and explore and swoon over. I have a fetish for hotels and resorts. Miami Beach is the jackpot of hotels with their Old Hollywood Regency style and their appropriate overload of Art Deco architecture.
A couple of weeks ago, I jetted off to California for one of my best friends wedding and during the weekend my gal pals and I explored the ritzy and glam city of Beverly Hills. Was I swooning? More than you could imagine with a little bit of drool on my lower lip.
For the first time ever, I walked down Rodeo Drive, and made the most important pit stop to one of my favorite hotels ever, The Beverly Hills Hotel. It was everything that I had imagined it to be. I was not disappointed one bit. It was how it looked in all the photos but more glamorous in the flesh. I couldn't help but continually be giddy as I walked down the halls that Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor once roamed.
I live in the past. My parents both agree to this. I envision things today, as how they were back in the day. That was the prime time of things. I wasn't even there to live through those days but oh how I appreciate them, the lifestyle, the art and craft behind every building, every car, every toy. So to visit these places and hotels that continually live in the past gives me a rush and I live for it.
I was living in a dream, and a dreamworld I live in. Im happy to say, when in Beverly Hills I get a glimpse of the 50's and 60's. Thank the heavens above for that!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
From the very start, I've always dreamed and imagined getting married at home in the South. I had the plantation I'd have the reception at picked out and everything. Though life is not perfect, and majority of things play out as you wouldn't have them imagined to be, I got married in September of 2012 in Utah. I managed to make the night feel southern with details that reminded me of home through florals and greenery, the location and especially my dress.
I won't go over my story again with my mom and I, if you've read it you know and understand the history. If you haven't read it, feel free to look back on my post regarding the personal story behind my wedding dress. "To Catch a Thief" Wedding Dress story here!
Just like any girl getting married, the dress is everything. For me it was everything and more. It was the cherry to top off my coca cola but it was missing one thing. The location. It was a sad realization that I wouldn't be getting married in Georgia. But I knew not all was lost. My great friend and photographer, Alex Steele was so gracious to fly to Georgia and photograph the story of my wedding dress, including my mom in majority of the pictures and the plantations and homes in my hometown. It was everything I had imagined my wedding to be and though I do not regret a thing that occurred on September 8, 2012, this photo shoot completed everything.
These photographs are so special to me and to my mother. These photos capture more than just a dress but the love and passion behind it. Where I come from, what my mom and I did while growing up, everything. I can't wait to have these photos for the rest of my life as keepsakes and heirlooms. Most of all, I can't wait to share these with my future children.
More photos to come in a couple of weeks. And thank you, thank you my dearest Alex for flying down
South and working your magic for me and making something true to my heart come to life.
Monday, June 10, 2013
There is nothing I love more then spending time with my Aunt's kids. They allow me to become that inner child that I am. Secretly, I love nothing more than playing outside, running through sprinklers, and just being young at heart.
My Aunt and her husband went to California for about five days and the Zoo and I stayed with the kids and we had the times of our lives. Nights were spent eating snacks, watching movies, telling ghost stories, night jumping on the trampoline. Afternoons were spent swimming, running through sprinklers, racing in the backyard, creating our own sidewalk chalk, eating snow cones. And mornings were spent sleeping in, chatting in the kitchen and singing on the bar stools.
There is a sense of freedom you feel when you're with kids and young teenagers. I know I am technically still young, but they just make me feel like a child again with a wild sense of adventure and a reason to be naive and silly. We had such a good time and I enjoy these moments with my family. I cherish them. So happy to have spent my start of the summer with my cousins whom I adore and love to the moon and back!
Cheers to childhood, summer and aimless amounts of fun.