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Nighttime in New York

Inspiration. Where does it come from? 

That depends on you. Right now, life is too full. I am grasping at inspiration like a drowning victim reaching for air. Buried beneath a barrage of deadlines and yet still able to find hours to waste online. Craving a moment of beauty, no matter how insignificant. Reaching for hope.

Brooklyn Bridge walk to clear your mind!

Inspiration is for those that are alert, tuned in and ready to catch it when it comes, for it is fleeting. 

Inspiration is the glimmer in that homeless man’s eyes when you’ve just given him your gloves. Inspiration is a moment by the fire, laughing with friends. Inspiration is quiet and reflective, when you are worried about the well-being of your people. Inspiration is the grief that makes us carry on, in spite of ourselves.

Fountain in New York City!

Seek that which inspires you. Maybe it is the comfort of the holidays or your family. Maybe it is solace in your work or a walk in the woods. Maybe it is just curled up with a book. Pay attention, because as the philosopher Hannah Arendt says, “it is our duty to understand” and through inspiration comes understanding.

Love and friendship!

© Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise 2016.

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

Last weekend, in less than 24 hours, I drove down to Lynchburg and back again. My friend Margo and I were on a mission to clean the house and get it ready for sale. She had no idea what she was in for!

 The Pearl Street House.

The Pearl Street House.

Stuart and I bought this house 7 years ago, thinking it was our place to settle down, forever.

In the way of “best laid plans of mice and men,” it did not work out. The job was not a good fit for Stuart and it was clear that it was time to head home to Maryland. This was sad in many ways as it meant the end of Stuart’s career as a helicopter pilot. We said goodbye to the type of friends that are all too rare. As I think of it now, it brings tears to my eyes: I loved Lynchburg,Virginia and I loved what Stuart had become, through his commitment and dedication to serving those in need.

From the Top of the Stairs.

From the Top of the Stairs.

The house was the one piece of Lynchburg we still had. It made me feel as if I still had a foot in that town.

The Living Room.

The Living Room.

It was comforting to think of it standing on the hill, a stalwart since 1880. A house with so much character and history that I felt I was doing a service to society just by owning it. It was an adventure from the start, and the children even discovered a secret passage.

Just one of many fireplaces.

Just one of many fireplaces.

An old chandelier.

An old chandelier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The real estate market is brutal and we will take our lumps once again.

View to the porch through a dirty window.

View to the porch through a dirty window.

But at the same time it will free me. Selling that house will free me to be in the now, to fully appreciate my current surroundings and to let the roots run deep. Our home is in Maryland. We have family, friends and space to run. We have a community here. I will never forget Lynchburg or the people I love there. That house has been standing on Diamond Hill since 1880, and the past seven years have only been a brief part of that long history.

Saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye.

It is time to say goodbye and let the next chapter in this home’s history begin.

 © copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

 

 

Urban Landscapes

Photography is now accessible for the average Joe. I know this is not a kosher idea, and the idea of creating art with your phone is foreign to some, but you can capture cool images with your phone. (Photographers, please send your hate mail to mariam@simplyturquoise.com) Then frame them and hang them on the wall. Or better yet….

A Frozen Fountain.

A Frozen Fountain.

Order them from Costco, printed on canvas! A genius idea!

Purple Bike and Coffee Bags.

Purple Bike and Coffee Bags.

 The edges of the photo will wrap around the edges of the canvas and create the frame.

Bust in a Shop WIndow.

Bust in a Shop WIndow.

This is the beginning of the Simply Turquoise: Urban Landscapes series.

Crates

Crates

Everyday urban scenes, everyday art, for your home. If you are too lazy to take your own photos, or you do not want to see the smiling mugs of your family on the wall, you can now purchase any of these urban landscapes here at Simply Turquoise. Don’t say I don’t have a mind for business! This is it! The beginning of the Simply Turquoise Art Dynasty.

Abandoned House.

Abandoned House.

Actually, I am thrilled to make available some of my favorite images from my time blogging to the public. Even if “the public” in this case is just my mother, I am still thrilled. Each landscape tells a story and each image is unique.

Lynchburg Doors.

Lynchburg Doors.

Capturing the people around you, or the places you’ve been or want to go, will add a layer of excitement to the decor in your house. Your house will be filled with movement, action and stories, bringing your walls to life. And if you can’t wait, message me. I accept love mail in addition to hate mail, and money in all forms.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

#Window Shopping

On a recent trip to Lynchburg, Virginia, I was able to spend some time just strolling around town with Prima. One advantage of having an older child is you can occasionally pretend they are adults. They are good company that way, when the mood strikes.

Living with a mini-tyrant (baby), who tries to rule the roost, we both feel the need to occasionally escape and engage in some therapy. In this case it was fantasy-retail therapy, which is almost as good as plain-old retail therapy.

I ♥ this window display!

I ♥ this window display!

The baby, a naturally advanced and highly-intelligent little individual, has mastered the art of the tantrum, at 18 months.

Urban Merchant display

Notice the little bird cage light fixture!

We needed an outing, and on this excursion, we even found some new friends: Meet Margo. She was a little camera shy.

Margo.

Meet Margo.

These little downtown areas are a great way to find inspiration. Away from box stores, you can stop in artsy shops, or just draw inspiration from their edgy and unique window displays. It is this show of creativity that lures you inside and tries to separate you from your money. For me, this is living on the edge.

Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia.

Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia.

To save you the suspense, they did get a little of my money. I can’t wait to show you the cool light fixture I bought for the office. But right now, I think I hear a tantrum coming on…. Until next time my dear readers, if I am still sane.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Make Yourself at Home

Drumroll please…. 

Introducing Fellow Coastie, Ultimate Frisbee player, and friend, Bill Putnam. He takes incredible pictures and agreed to write a post for me. He is one of those people you feel a little bit jealous of, always jet-setting around and just enjoying life to the fullest. This post is pure blog candy.

And Now….

Hello fellow Simply Turquoise readers! I’m thrilled to contribute to one of my favorite spots to come when I want to sit down with a cup of tea, coffee, glass of wine or pint of beer and find another idea for making friends feel at home in the places and spaces I live in.

This is, after all, what Simply Turquoise is for me. Mariam is someone who seemingly knows no strangers and always has the right advice for making a space more welcoming. Perhaps that is why she was interested in having me share with you some words and photos from a city I recently visited again but have been to several times: Charleston, South Carolina.  It is a place where I’ve never felt like a stranger or visitor, a place where just walking around you feel invited down every street, around every corner, and into each café, restaurant, or store front.

Charleston, South Carolina

City Street in Charleston, South Carolina.

This essay won’t be a history lesson on Charleston. I’m not that well read. It’s old and new, it’s Southern yet somehow cosmopolitan, and it’s coastal and colonial. Most of all, to me Charleston whispers “hospitality”.  If you’re a regular reader of Simply Turquoise you’ll remember perhaps that Mariam has written about a symbol of hospitality, the pineapple. You’ll find it throughout this city: from bed post finials to flags on storefronts, and even as a fountain found down on the waterfront near Charleston’s own French Quarter (yes the city even has a slight ’Nawlins feel to it in places).

Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, South Carolina.

Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, South Carolina.

I’m not Southern by birth unless you use the Mason-Dixon as your line of demarcation for that. Born in Fairfax, Virginia and raised in Northern Virginia, those residents typically like to call themselves D.C. suburbanites. But my time in the Coast Guard has taken me all over, and it is how I came to be introduced to Charleston. So I’m a reluctantly adopted southerner, granted probationary belonging by my grandparents’ being North Carolinians, my love of sweet tea, and my ability to use the word “reckon” comfortably and in proper context.

Charleston, South Carolina cobblestones.

Charleston, South Carolina cobblestones.

It’s difficult to feel out of place in Charleston, unless you don’t like comfort-able.  You can wander seamlessly from the university district of the College of Charleston, where I tried mightily to sell my son on when he was shopping for schools and where there is that hip, edgy and creative personality everywhere between Coming and King Streets. Then as you cross south over Wentworth and find yourself on King in a shopping district mixed with high-end antique stores and the usual suspects of clothiers littered in all the new “town center” type developments you find everywhere, but which even here seem to have a unique charm, to the extent that’s possible.

Cemetery gates.

Cemetery gates.

One of the city’s nicknames is the “Holy City”. As you wander the streets around South of Broad you’ll see many church spires and wrought iron gates around cemeteries, with seemingly as many Spanish moss covered trees as headstones, all giving testimony to this well-earned moniker. And in keeping with the underlying theme of Charleston, even these places are not the cold intimidating off limits site of only those righteous or known enough to enter, they have their gates and doors open, inviting the passerby to come stay for a while.

Charleston Church Spire.

Charleston Church Spire.

And stay for a while is exactly what I want to do each time I visit this exquisitely contented city. There are still so many doors to explore and menus to try. Who knows, perhaps the name Putnam will fit as comfortably as Calhoun and Pinckney and I might also spend my day trying to decide which bronze door knocker looks best on one of the marigold-colored row houses, with pine grove green shutters and door. Or perhaps I already do fit in…that is after all how this city wants you to feel.

© copyright Bill Putnam and Mariam d’Eustachio 2012.