On the last day of February 2016, I closed on my first home: a little one-bedroom condo in the Gold Coast. I remember everything about that day. How the blue ink swirled across page after page. How cold it was. How my mom and I sat on the floor of the empty living room, talking about paint colors and countertops.
It’s been almost two years since that day, and I can’t really believe how quickly the time has passed. My home has seen me grow up, host and entertain, cook (read: try to cook), laugh until I cry, cry until I laugh. My home has helped me gain independence. My home has kept me warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
I truly treasure this place, and today, I want to share some memories and moments that stand out in my mind.
— Eating a burrito bowl in my unfinished kitchen on the night I moved in
— Exchanging gifts and sipping glasses of wine with my mom, aunt and cousin before a celebratory birthday dinner at the Pump Room (which is now Booth One)
— Learning the name and coffee preferences of the doorman (Leonard loves a good vanilla frappé)
— Walking home from River North in the warm air after my first date with Andrew
— Laying by the pool with my cousins before an adventure-filled Chicago day
— Many talks & catch-ups with friends, sometimes serious & sometimes lighthearted
— Laughing my butt off when Sarah accidentally preheated an oven full of cleaning supplies
— Setting up my new media cabinet and microwave with Andrew on our fourth date (yes, I counted our dates, & it was arguably one of the best dates because he brought Chipotle over in the middle of the workday)
— Playing Frank Sinatra while I make dinner at night & bossa nova while I write in the morning (the latter of which I am doing at this very moment)
— Waking up in the middle of the night (probably anxious over a buyer or seller transaction) & noticing the quiet calm of my neighborhood
— Co-working on the patio with Sarah on balmy summer evenings (usually, there was rosé)
— Inviting my girlfriends over to decorate my Christmas tree on the first day of November
— Hosting Bible studies (& pacing nervously around my place beforehand)
— Throwing Andrew a birthday party for two & setting the table with Courtney the night before
— Crying my eyes out on the couch after a not-so-wonderful Christmas dinner
— Drinking wine & eating popcorn with my dear friends at MSC MAG production nights
I could write this list forever. What I really love most about my home is coming back to it. Barbara Barry, a celebrated interior designer, wrote this about her home in Beverly Hills: “While walking up to my house, a sense of contentment washes over me, contentment that comes from seeing the roses, smelling the orange trees, and being home. The experience of a place is everything to me, and I am so grateful.”
I don’t quite have a house with fresh flowers in my yard (one day!), but I certainly feel that same sense of contentment when I turn the key into my door. I’ll kick my shoes off in the entryway and drop my purse on the acrylic stool at the kitchen island. If it’s the end of the day, I will change into my pajamas and light a candle or two. All at once, I am home, safe and sound and perfectly content.