Too Thrifty Chicks

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1500+ miles, unpacking, and grocery shopping (or, my first week in Memphis)

So….I left D.C. just over a week ago. since then, I’ve unpacked about 20 boxes, assembled bookshelves, shopped at three grocery stores (only one of which I like), made far too many trips to Target, and took a weekend trip to St. Louis to participate in my friend’s beautiful wedding. And somewhere in there, I had time to breathe and realize I might like this city.

Let me be real: I had no expectations. None. Not good. Not bad. Just neutral. I was excited about the job opportunity but since I had only visited Memphis once (and that was for the job interview), I had no idea if I would like the city….and coming from the D.C. area (which I love), I was a little nervous.

So far, so good.image_7

I live in a part of town called Midtown that is going through a lot of changes. I bet once I read up on the city and it’s history, I may find that it is undergoing gentrification like many neighborhoods I’m familiar with in D.C. But from what I know so far, I love it. Bike lanes, good restaurants, Overton Park, and cool little shops like the Square Olive, a store that sells amazing variations of olive oil. It’s also close to a couple yoga and pilates studios that I plan to try.

I am pleasantly surprised with how at home I feel. My godparents stopped by for a visit yesterday on their way back to Texas, and I was so happy to show them my place (which I am happy to show you more of soon) and try a neighborhood restaurant. Maybe more than any other place I’ve lived, I feel like I am more likely to become part of the neighborhood…..which, as someone who does neighborhood research for a living, is an interesting process.

Memphis isn’t a pretty city and who knows if I will love it or hate it long term?  I’m not concerned about that, though. The city has some nice quirks that I am interested in exploring…and I plan to enjoy the process. So, for now, I’m super duper excited about my storage bed being delivered tomorrow and my sofa being delivered on Friday! So far, three DIY projects are pending. I bet you’re ready to see them….I hope so. I’m ready to play in paint! 😉 For now, here are a few snapshots of my apartment as a nearly blank canvas.

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Before I go, big shout out to Ricks, my person-in-crime. She’s here with me helping me get settled and explore the city. I know this process would have been much different without her.

Until next time,

-Reesey

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Forward, Not Forgotten

I took down the photo of me and my big sister who I consider a role model. The picture of my mom wearing a sombrero on her birthday a couple years back. The picture of me pretending to play drums with my mouth wide open because I’m laughing so hard. The black and white picture of me looking dwarfed next to the word “BELIEVE” painted on a wall, and the photo of Ricks and me displaying satisfied, mimosa-induced smiles after her birthday brunch last year. Then finally, the photos of friends-turned-family tacked to a tiny board behind my desk. It is my last day of work, and it is official. I am moving to Memphis for a new job.I am SO glad I don’t share an office or work in a cubicle, because I had a good ol’ cry session this morning.

 

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I have to admit. This is hard. D.C. is the first home that has felt like home; a place where I feel like I could live permanently. And even as I type that, I remember the essence of a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou where she says she doesn’t believe that one can never go home again, because you always carry home with you.

Well, since I can’t carry ALL of the D.C. with me, I’ll carry a few things: memories of late night/early morning conversations, new friends that feel like soul mates, wine-filled nights, tattoos, and bonding. I’ll carry the person I am into a new adventure that will continue to shape the person I’m becoming.

And I’ll remember today when I said to a group of my friends, “I am having a hard day,” and they all responded with loving reassurance (and feigned jealousy of my yet-to-be new friends)…actually, it might not be feigned. I have a whole list of “dos” and “donts” for my new friends…lol….and Keila, who is not a fan of Memphis (and that’s putting it mildly), finally said she will come visit me after months of saying she wouldn’t. Yes, Keila…I have it in writing and now EVERYONE knows you’re coming to Memphis.  Today, I am a little melancholy as I wrap up my time here, but I am happy and at peace with knowing that I live by the words  I surrounded myself with in my office, including these from The Angry Therapist:

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Memphis….another adventure. Join me, yes?

-A.Reese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Farewell 5509

Today Team Too Thrifty handed over the keys to the place that has been our home, 5509 Holmes Run Parkway, to our property manager.

How bittersweet a moment it was.

The relinquishing of those keys marks the official start of our new journeys — Reese to Memphis and me, to parts yet unknown — and an ending of sorts to the journey we’ve been on over the last year and a half together.

But it seemed only right to pause and reflect on what 5509 means to us because it wasn’t just a house to us.  It was so much more.

5509 was the place where we slept most nights, often on our sectional couch after too much wine, so much laughter and not a few tears.20140630-184750-67670289.jpg

5509 was the place where we discovered our love for cooking and did our best James Brown impressions across the kitchen floor. It was the place where we often gathered our friends, but also examined the contents of our hearts. It’s the place where we created this blog, dreamed our biggest dreams so far, and created so many shared memories.

It was our home in every since of the word. But it is our physical home no more.

Today the lights are out at 5509, our beloved sectional has a new home and we are no longer the resident inhabitants of what we used to call home. We are in a grateful place of transition.

As we drove away, we gave thanks for the loving sadness that stains our hearts because we know that it comes from a place of knowing what it is like to have a physical home and to carry the memory of it — the peace of it — in our hearts.

We are forever grateful.

– R&R

 

 

 


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Dear God, I’m Here!

This time last year I had a lot of questions and no answers. I was in a grey place in a romantic relationship….that place where you’re technically broken up, but you’re still going back and forth about whether you did the right thing or if you can do something to make it work. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish my PhD. I was tired and directionless. I was feeling envious toward people who were gaining clarity in ways I was not–even though I was doing all the “right” things to get the direction I needed. My National Science Foundation grant funding for my research had ended, but thankfully I got a research job doing something interesting. I was trying to listen to the universe, but I was also very afraid of taking a wrong step.

Fast forward to 2014. I spent my birthday in Johannesburg, South Africa which was amazingly awesome…one of the best birthdays ever (we will have to do a post about the trip at some point). The next day, January 3rd, my sister told me via Facebook that my grandmother, one of the people who raised me, died. We had three days left in our trip, so I locked away the grief until I got home. But even when I returned, I felt not only my grief, but my (perceived and real) isolation from family. In March, our church did a Lenten fast called, “Surprise Me, God!” And oh was I surprised. In six weeks’ time, my car was broken into,  my laptop was stolen, I needed $1000 worth of repairs to my car, and I ended up in the Emergency Room.

March 30th was a Sunday. That morning, I decided I was going to go to church, even if I didn’t feel like it. On the way to church, a good friend texted me and asked if there was anything she could pray for. I responded, “pray that I can be still and know.” Got to church and the text for that day’s sermon was Psalm 46:1-11, which includes the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” That, for me, was confirmation that though I had had a tumultuous twelve months, and 2014 was off to a rocky start, I was going to be ok. I just had to chill.

The next day I decided three things: 1) I didn’t really want a postdoctoral position I had applied for, even though it was a good fit on paper, 2) I was willing and ready to leave D.C. and 3) I was ready for (and needed) change. Around 4pm that same day, I got a call from the Dean at Rhodes College inviting me to participate in a Skype interview for a job that I thought I wasn’t competitive for, since I hadn’t heard anything in months. To make a long story short, I did the Skype interview, was invited to an on campus interview, and was offered the job in a span of about 2.5 weeks.

I accepted the job and it’s official: I’m moving to Memphis, y’all!

This post is not intended to be a “life was awful but now it’s good” kind of post. Actually, it’s a “life is always happening…good or bad and you have to roll with it” post. Sometimes crazy shit happens in succession and you cannot believe what is happening in your life. Sometimes good stuff is happening and you feel like, “man, I’m finally living.” But that’s not true. What I have learned over the past year is that you’re always living. Life is always happening. It doesn’t start or stop because something good or bad happens. Life is in all the details. In some ways, I am very excited about this move to Memphis. In other ways, I am pensive. Yet, even though it’s a major change, this year has taught me many things, one of them being that no matter how big or small the change is, I’ll be ok….because life is always changing. Always. I might cry, cuss, scream, smile, laugh, etc. at all the things that are happening, but that’s what we’re supposed to do, isn’t it? It reminds us that we’re present in everything. I look back to a year ago, and I can hardly believe where I am now. But as Miss Celie said as she left one life to start another, “Dear God, I’m here!”

Stay tuned, y’all. I have many stories to tell about trying to figure out this move on a budget….and I KNOW y’all wanna hear about my new place! 🙂

-Reese

P.S.-If you know any cool people in Memphis, introduce me!


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Roommate Chronicles: Too Thrifty Chicks Move in Together

Everything happens for a reason. When Ricks mentioned she needed a roommate on the very same day I told my partner that I was thinking about looking for a roommate, everything clicked….like within a span of two days. We share similar values, interests, and work ethics (and not to mention we do a lot of stuff together), so why not try it? Too Thrifty Chicks have taken on another adventure: Merging two households into one.

If you know either of us personally, then you probably know that we are both really hard workers who wait until we feel inspired to do most things [read: we’re procrastinators]. I lived alone, which means I had acquired a lot of stuff that needed to be packed in a three day period. Though I was super excited about us living together, I was not excited about packing. Luckily, Ricks came over one night to help me get the ball rolling.

After our lovely Thanksgiving adventures in Philly, the real work began. Let me pause for a second and say this: I have the best partner a girl could ever ask for. He used his vacation to come to town to help me move. That’s love!

Anyway, he and I packed the U-haul (don’t be fooled. This smiley girl has muscles) and moved my life from one side of the DMV to the other.

Packing chaos. These pics don’t do it justice. I have a lot of stuff!

Turning a house into a home. It’s getting there.

When we got all my stuff into the new place, I was completely overwhelmed by the thought of unpacking it all. Ricks kept reminding me to think about one thing at a time (I think she knew I was on the verge of taking a nap to avoid the madness). We spent the day unpacking dishes, setting up bookcases, sorting through stuff to give away. By 7pm, we were exhausted. I don’t think anyone wanted to touch another box or reusable bag. But, all our hard work paid off. At the end of that first day, we had the semblance of a home with visions of how to make it reflect both of our styles and spirits.

Our living room and the art that we need to hang

Our living room and the art that we need to hang

Dining room and kitchen. We don't have much cabinet or counter space so we repurposed wire shelving to hold our cookbooks, spices, crockpot, and rice cooker.

Dining room and kitchen. We don’t have much cabinet or counter space so we repurposed wire shelving to hold our cookbooks, spices, crockpot, and rice cooker.

We’ve been roomies for about a week now, and we’ve already shared Chipotle twice, three bottles of wines, and many laughs as we made it rain on a video game. I’d say our roommate adventures are off to a great start. I’m so grateful that things always work out as they should.  In this season of thanksgiving, I am reminded that life is so much better when lived in community with others. Looking forward to laughing, living, and creating.

Stay tuned for updates on our DIY projects!