Macro Monday

An afternoon spent in Howell Park in Atlantic Beach, crawling on the ground with a camera.  Fun.

Howell Park was crawling with Girl Scouts, so when I heard their event was being held there on a Sunday afternoon…I knew what I’d be doing while she was doing her Brownie thing.

I had a fine time trying to get some good macro shots.  I did indeed crawl about on the ground, hoping that I would not not crawl upon some dog’s business. On my shoe is one thing; that was bad enough.  On my shirt?  I couldn’t bear it!  So I was very careful because I was off the beaten path, and that’s where people usually  turn the other way if they’re inclined to do so, and Howell Park is a nice park for dog walking.  (It’s not a dog park; we do have a few of those  here at the beach.)  Why am I talking about dogs?  Oh yes.  I’m still traumatized from last Sunday’s misstep and so when I was crawling on the ground looking for spiders and weeds and azalea blooms, I also tried to be aware of my surroundings.

I felt a little guilty when one of the moms came to pick up her child and saw me with my camera.

“Did you get a lot of good pictures of the girls?” she asked brightly.

Actually, I didn’t take a single one of them.  It wasn’t my day’s mission.  I was having my own field trip, thanks very much.

Oh there were so many great opportunities that just missed the mark by this much.  Even these…but I post anyway because it’s all about the practice and besides, it gives me hope.

(click on this one as large as you can to really see the spider. he’s amazing.)

My Sunrise

I’m just not a morning person.

But whenever I’m up and going in the morning I’m glad of it.  Unless I’m so tired from a late night that I can’t hardly move my tongue, to even speak.  I’m nocturnal by nature.  I’ve been lectured, chastised, and purposefully embarrassed by others for my late-night habits.

My children are not late for school.  I’m quite capable getting them there earlier than they need to be, even if I’d rather sleep.  I love to sleep.  But nighttime seems to give me a sort of serenity and focus that I love.  Even as a kid, I loved to be outside late at night.  We’d camp in our backyard on summer nights, a friend and I.  We’d tiptoe away from the tent at two or three in the morning, walk around the block, and just marvel at how utterly free we felt when there was no one awake but us, out there on the sidewalk.  It was magical. We planned our future escapes, when we would be sixteen, with licenses to drive. We’d planned to take my parents’ car and tour the state for several weeks during the summer.  We were callow enough to believe we could do this, that somehow, our parents would consent, let alone do without their own car for several weeks.  I can still remember that feeling of possibility that is only bourne in the night.    Night is still magical for me, and even now,  my some of my nighttime plans do  feel fantastical in the harsh light daytime reality.  But still.  It’s what I do, this sort of thinking,  and some of the night’s private plans have grown into something worthwhile.

I won’t be diminished because I’m a night person.

I often volunteer for the morning drive shift to school because as much as it’s sometimes a visceral effort to pull myself from delicious slumber and now that it’s still dark again, in the mornings,  oh, my pillow just wants me as much as I want it.  Once I’m awake and ambulatory and have gotten myself into the car, I’m doing all right.  I deposit the kids at school (and still, after all these years, so glad to have those grade school years behind me) and then, it’s just me and my thoughts again.  The same as it was just a few hours earlier…when it was night.

And I like it.

I don’t want to get to the gym and push myself through a hard core work out, though.  Not at 8:00am, which for many, isn’t even early, but I’m a slow starter.  I like my workouts late in the day as it suits my energy level and body rhythm.  A happy morning for me means latte, reading, writing, and taking a few photos, usually and unfortunately with only iPhone on hand. I observe.  And I see that  most of the world loves its mornings.

This morning I watched a hang-glider soar over the beach.  He or she must have felt euphoric, soaring at sunrise.

Mornings are lovely too, and magical when you can watch the sun come out of the ocean.

They’re magical when you’re leaving early for a day trip to somewhere like my favorite spring, on a humid summer morning.  Or on a bigger trip, one involving an airplane.  They’re magical when you take a red-eye flight from the west coast heading east and the plane goes silent, all slumped oddly, shoved into such small spaces but managing to doze nonetheless.  It’s magical to wake up and debark into a busy airport with serious business travelers clutching coffees and Wall Street Journals and USA Todays and laptops.  I entered the airplane  in full night-mode, and walked off three and a half hours later into a throng of people moving about with serious purpose.

At the beach, people are moving with serious purpose too. Casting their lines into the water from the pier.  Surfing before work.  Biking.  Exercise walking.  Jogging stroller jogging.  Hang gliding.

It’s nice to be awake in the mornings too.  

I can even force myself to get to a gym class if I know I simply cannot attend a night class but then I can’t enjoy the slow cooker approach to morning.  The nature of my work allows me this sort of flexibility, which has its benefits as well as challenges.

Living at the beach makes all this morning even better. It’s good to read near the beach…and write…and see the sun come up when it’s still in its golden moments, next to the iconic Jax Beach Pier.

Macro Monday: Caterpillars Are Not Slow

They like to crawl along, is all I’m saying.

It can make it challenging to get a good image of this Eastern Tent caterpillar when you’re climbing with a camera and tripod into the middle of a clump of Pampas grass, and that pretty little bug keeps moving.  If you’re from the north and don’t know what a clump of Pampas grass is: it’s tall (taller than I am), thick, spikey, grows in clumps. Some stalks have fluffy white plumes.  It’s difficult to plant a tripod inside a large clump of Pampas when the bug is, naturally, deep within the plant.

Imagine  trying to keep the bug in the viewfinder, the tripod steady, the settings just right, and capture a great image when you’r constantly having to keep moving to keep pace with a crawling caterpillar.

I’m not going to tell you how many pictures I took of this caterpillar.  Having pored over the images for a good long time, and not finding any family interest in them, I’m wondering:  is this boring to look at?

I love going out alone with the camera and tripod, to see what I can shoot.  Today, clearly, it was all about the caterpillar.  When I first saw one, he was deep within the clump of the Pampas grass.  So picture me, seriously, trying to get inside this clump (although the neighbor’s Pampas was not as lovely as this).  It’s dense and pokes and leaves resides from the white plumes and grassy stalks all over a girl.

They aren’t meant for going into.  But the neighbor said I could.  So in my pursuit of the very moving caterpillar, thinking I’d hit macro pay dirt,  I kept at it, repositioning myself and the tripod in every way you could imagine…but still that thing kept moving.  Then the breeze would come along and the grass would sway; it just wasn’t an easy thing to pull off.

Then I smelled something vile; that unmistakable scent that wafts upward when someone else’s dog crap has been smushed into the sole of your workout shoe, with all its groves and cushioned spots.  Thanks, people.  Most of you don’t mind walking around carrying your dog’s crap in a bag, but some of you still think it’s okay to let it squat maybe in an area you don’t think people will be walking.  Sure, it was an out of the way place, but still.  YOU LET YOUR DOG DO ITS THING AND YOU DID NOT PICK IT UP.

With all the diligent dog-walkers around here who gladly carry their pet’s poop in a bag, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve also had to quickly veer away to avoid a clump of business on the side of the road.  Not so lucky on this day.  But I soldiered on.

Finally, I called it quits and started to walk home, when I spotted another caterpillar in a different location so I started to work on the shot when a neighbor passed by and chatted with me for a few, and when I tried to find him again, he was gone.  So I resumed my stinky walk home.  But I felt something in my hair.  Once.  Twice.  Again.  I reached up…and brought down another caterpillar!  So I put him on my vest and told him, “I’m going to take you someplace nice.  Someplace at my eye level; where the lowering sun will create a lovely golden backdrop for your persimmon-colored, tiger-like, furry little body with your many clinging legs and a definite face.”  So he rode along with me, clinging to my black fleece vest until I found a lovely place to set him down on.  He was calm, this caterpillar, not as busy as the other.  He did not seem to want to debark from my finger, onto the green, new leaf – probably, I now realize – because it wasn’t a food item.  Maybe it’s obvious to everyone but me… I don’t know much about larval insects; I just thought he had pretty colors, some nice fur and was good contrast when placed onto something green!  He wasn’t much happy there so when I finally moved him over to the neighbor’s rose bush, you could see his little face start munching right away.

So, that’s my caterpillar story.  Considering I couldn’t get a single family member to look at my pictures, I’m not sure what to think…but I do have a few favorites, and here they are.  For what it’s worth.

Riverside Arts Market

After a few months’ hiatus, the Riverside Arts Market is back. The farmer’s market carried on without interruption; the Arts Market debuted its 2011 season on March 5 under the Fuller Warren Bridge, with a great view of downtown Jacksonville, on the St. John’s River.

It was great.  I watched people watching art and was on an inspiration mission.  The street is inspiring.

This girl wandered from textile booth to textile booth, sporting a handmade bag of her own.

I stopped at every photographer’s booth to see how my work  holds up to theirs.  It was fun to see that yes, if I wanted, I think I could have an exhibition too.  While I’m not at the top of my game yet  ( neither are many of them), who cares?  Aren’t we always striving? It was fun to talk shop with a few photographers there.

There was the requisite street performer, whose  act I’ve witnessed before.   This man gets himself tied into a straightjacket and wound up with chains by random audience members. Then he’s hauled to the top of a pole, upside down, and sets a time limit for himself to break free, adding to the suspense of his performance.  He’s got the crowd-banter down pat.  I’ve watched him do this three times.  He always gets out, of course, and the crowd loves it.   He always says something like, “This is what happens when a guy loses his job at Goldman Sachs,” meaning, now he earns tip money from doing his act at RAM.  I’m a sucker for the backstory; next time I’m going to ask him. I also wonder what he does make in tips, too.  What do you think?  Too personal a question?

This enthralled child watches him as he’s tied, chained,  and strung up, seemingly helpless.  But this dude is anything but helpless.  He manages by sheer force of core strength and practiced skill, to wriggle his way free.

Then there was the food.  Arts market fare ranges from meat-on-a-stick, which had the longest line, to the juiciest turkey burger I’ve ever tasted.  Ever.  I guess you know what I ate; this is what I photographed:

This musician stood alone and played beautifully.  I took several pictures of him.  I grabbed a card from the table nearby, thinking it was his, and that I’d email the photos to him.  Regrettably it wasn’t;  now he’ll never see them.   All these performers really make the ambiance; without them, the outdoor art and farmer’s market just wouldn’t be complete.

Then there were the people with the large snakes.  Curling around the neck of this girl, who quite loved her pet.  She encouraged everyone to approach him, and touch him, which freaked out some of the kids but I figured if she let the thing wind itself around her body, touching him would be no problem.  I realize this seems absurd to snake lovers, but I don’t know snakes.  They are enigmas to me. I’m not fond of  long limbless reptile that have no eyelids, a short tail, and jaws that are  capable of considerable extension.  Still, this snake seemed friendly enough and its handler, a serene young woman.

I touched him.  Many of the kids were tentative but intrigued.

The snake’s body was warm and smooth.  His skin was beautiful.  The next morning in church,  I saw a woman wearing shoes that could have been made from this snake’s twin brother!   Yikes.  Snakeskin shoes. That gave me a start.

The Riverside Arts Market is really great for people of all ages.  Whether your interest is produce or art; oddities or music,  wandering about under the bridge with the local community in a weekly gathering of artists and farmers and performers is something special.  It’s just right: neither too small, nor overwhelming in size.

It’s all about the community-minded people, their creativity, their local farm-to-you produce, and fun.

One of my very favorite parts of the Riverside Arts Market is the Imagination Squared art project.  The link will take you to its Facebook Page but basically, here’s the deal:  for $36 you get two wooden squares and the chance to have your artwork displayed (and maybe, sold!) at RAM.  The squares are the canvas for your imagination and creativity. Get your artist on and go for it.  I’ve seen many squares on display and the coolest part is that anyone can get involved.  Some of the square are obviously made by seasoned artists, others by those with a love for art.  Either way, your work will get four weeks on display and whether it sells or not (heck, maybe you’ll just create one for yourself and another to give as a gift…), isn’t so much the point of the project. It’s the community involvement, and giving a platform for the artist in everyone a chance to be showcased.

Don’t even ask me why I didn’t take a few pics of  my favorite display!  I’m captivated by the concept and inspired to try something myself. It might come out looking like kindergarten artwork but who knows?  I feel a collage brewing…

See? Even the beachlifer loves life on the street.  I definitely give the Riverside Arts Market a ‘must do’ on your list of activities close to home.  Diversity is the catalyst to inspiration. Get out and come explore next weekend – at RAM.

Macro Monday

I learned something today. I was informed that fairies eat pollen. Like, for their food. There are many kinds of fairies; I cannot keep up with all of them. But the family fairy expert was delighted to see I’d photographed fairy food.

I Can Hear The Waves From My Pillow

I can hear the waves from my pillow
(double click for a 30 second audio of the wave-sounds at night, at 1,300 feet from the beach)

I can hear the waves from my pillow most nights. It’s the time of year when I sometimes leave the windows open for fresh, clean air and the sound of waves soothe as I fall into sleep.

So much of the time it’s too humid for me to keep the window open; or too cold. But on those nights in Spring and Fall and even Winter when it’s not? Oooh, it’s so worth it.

Awesome House – My Favorite Colors

So this was my inspiration house for the colors I yearned for in my own home.

I drove past this house for weeks. It’s on Beach Avenue, a unique and prominent street, where the oceanfront homes are situated in Atlantic Beach. This house is on the opposite side of the ocean. It’s almost like a promenade, Beach Avenue, with cars moving only one way, and lots of bikers, skaters, joggers, trikes, baby strollers, power walkers, dog walkers – you name it – ambling up and down this street.

Beach Avenue has the most interesting houses lining both sides of the street. Many of the oceanfront homes are set away from the street; their garages with carriage houses at street’s edge and often used as rentals. Anyway, it’s a really interesting street and very unique. It’s fun to travel it (slowly; it’s the ONLY way to go) to gaze at what people are building, renovating, or selling here.

This house grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. When I entered its swinging, slatted door and was up on its side porch, knocking on the owner’s door, it had a whole different feel than I experienced, looking at it from the street. It was even better, more charming than I’d imagined.

I was invited into the house when I asked about the paint colors. I wanted a tour (of course!) but how rude of me! I didn’t know these people! (No, I didn’t ask.) They were nice enough to fetch the data from the paint cans and the name and number of their color consultant while I craned my neck to see what I could from the foyer. The interior suited me. A more modern esthetic.

I love this house, still.

I love the ambiance of Beach Avenue. If you’re ever in Atlantic Beach, you must drive it, starting right in town, from the resort One Ocean, heading north on Beach Avenue and go all the way to 20th Street, where it ends. It’s two miles long. It wends its way about, and you’ll be treated to an eclectic view of homes of various price points; some still in their original humble beginnings and others, obvious tear-downs replaced by Majestic Mansions.

Either way, it’s total immersion in Atlantic Beach oceanfront living.

Now that I look at this house out of context, I wonder if it will speak to you like it does to me. But whatever. I’m bringing you a glimpse of houses I love. And I love this one.

Skater Boys

Atlantic Beach has had its own skate park – Oceanside Rotary Skate Park – for several years.  I love watching the kids –  only boys, during the times I’ve been there – skate that concrete bowl.
I was there to watch and  practice photography on    this day.  Unfortunately for the kids, they thought I  was someone… that perhaps they’d be featured in a  magazine, or even just The Beaches Leader? So, fellas, here’s your moment of stardom.  Right  here, on this little known local blog:  Atlantic  Beachlife.  And if I’m going to keep practicing my art,  you keep practicing yours.  Swooshing that bowl and  getting air… well,  I was impressed.   But I was a little worried for the kid whose helmet was largely useless; its chin strap was so loose that had he fallen on his head that helmet would’ve slid around, or maybe even off.  I worry for you.  Closed head injuries = no fun.  So keep it real, and wear the head gear.  And look for the merchants around town who can get you a helmet that’ll fit you properly, cause let’s face it, your heads are going to grow! Okay, enough with the lecture; on to the pictures.
A Sunday afternoon at the skate park.  Their bodies swirling and looping around and around and UP and off.  Fun.

Wandering Winter Park

I recently spent a really lovely afternoon in Winter Park, Florida. January, 70 degrees.   How I do love winter in Florida. I far prefer hanging out in Winter Park on a mild January Sunday afternoon to jostling crowds in the Magic Kingdom.   How I do really not like  Disney World. Did you know you can hop the Amtrack in Jacksonville and two and half hours and $23 later you can get off here? You’ll debark into Central Park, a beautiful city park, spacious, with trees, a sidewalk that runs the perimeter, some sculptures, and a fountain. People step out , alone, or with friends or family, and what  a fabulous space they have, to enjoy  Winter Park life.  Even if you’re not going round the shops or dining in one of their restaurants or cafes, this town is pretty much another epitome of local, and it’s no wonder I’m drawn to it. The fabricated happiness of Disney versus a slow wander in a place like Winter Park? Do you really have to ask? I know that Disney has its charms and is pretty much amazing and delights millions of people. I’m just not drawn to it. And the planned community, adjacent to Disney…known, at least in its earlier years as Disney’s town, called Celebration? Pardon me if you live there or have loved ones who do. But I could personally never buy a home in planned development that named itself Celebration, which was a co-branding move on the part of the developers. It’s a planned urban development with a manufactured  town at its center. It’s certainly not the first planned development with town, but because it was at least initially marketed as Disney’s town, it particularly grates on me. It’s the opposite of a place like Winter Park, and so many of the neighborhoods of Jacksonville; places that have their own,  distinctive flair. A vibe that doesn’t ride the coattails of Mickey. It’s just that I’d rather spend my time in places that are authentic, rather than standing in line to go on rides and spend money on their brand of this and that. Yes, I’ve been there. Taken the kids there a couple of times. And truthfully, they’d have rather been screaming on a Disney ride than being dragged along while I rhapsodize about the charm of this central Florida town, and taking photos of train tracks and sculptures and park benches and street signs and people walking.  Yeah, I get it: boring.  But if you fancy yourself a documentarist, it’s kind of a fun way to pass the time. Particularly when it’s January, and 70 degrees, and a lazy Sunday, with no responsibilities but to return to my luxury hotel to watch the Golden Globes on the flat screen from a big bed with clean, white sheets. So, nice.

Below is a fountain, obviously; in the center was a sculpture of a woman playing the harp.

Oh dear.  Have I become my mother?  An afternoon like this would have been unbearable as a kid.  My own would have found the entire afternoon as excruciating as I find standing in line at Disney.  Fortunately for us both, they weren’t along for my ride, on this day.

With only iPhone to record the day, I happily wandered the park,  and watched Winter Park do Sunday afternoon. Some shopped and dined. Others spent some leisurely time in the park; alone, reading on the grass; or with the family, little kids skating or waddling about the grass (not complaining! still too young to think that train tracks and a fountain’s spray are not thrilling), lured by the spray of the water fountain. The sculpture, a small trailer, constructed of a transparent mesh wire, featured a compact domestic interior. It’s a curious thing for first-timers to see; a trailer? In the park? So you walk over and peer inside and see this charming rendition of a vacation trailer one would pull on the back of a car, except it’s not really meant for use – it’s art. I loved it.  I was enchanted.  Here are some pictures:

I know you can see how much I loved this park, this town.

My House

A year ago we repainted our house. We are close to the ocean so the house takes a salty beating. We survived ten years with a slapdash paint job done under the wire of a closing date, the cost split between buyer ( us ) and seller ( them ). The painter sprayed on a coat and called it good. It was fine. I chose the color and was happy with it. But ten years wears on wood and and color; it’s doubtful that any previous owners had had to deal with serious wood rot, so we gulped, got out the checkbook, and took it on.

The neighborhood is built of similar style homes but none are the same. Many are a sort of California contemporary architectural style. Every house is different, and the lots are an extension of Hanna Park, our land neighbor to the north. Lots of trees, live oaks and palms and bays; the tree canopy prized by Atlantic Beach and most of the people who live here. We used to have a real tree fanatic who rented the home across the street. When a neighbor had in the tree service to do some pruning and maybe took down a dead tree, I remember her literally blasting from her house, screeching at the homeowner that he wasn’t to remove any of those trees. She was always a bit eccentric. It’s ironic, and a little sad, that the new owner of that home just this week had every one of those trees taken off her property, making her house resemble an unfortunate tract home. I know that one or two needed to come down (they were dead) but to denude the landscape seemed harsh.  That house needed its trees to dress it up a bit.  I might not be a tree-hugger in the true sense of the word, but I’m definitely a lover of nature and trees and unspoiled beauty… and now?  Well, that plain house stands there, all by its lonesome.  Yes, I love our trees.

Back to my story.  So, the only fun part of this spendy but necessary home repair was going to be the color change of our home. I spent months looking at color on others’ homes. I yearned for a dramatic change, yet it had to be congruent with the style of the home and our surroundings. I wanted detail and contrast and a modern look overall. I found one home in our vicinity whose color scheme I admired. After weeks of driving past the house I finally went to the door and talked with the owners about it. My children were appalled that I had the audacity to make such an inquiry. Gee, I’d have been flattered to have someone stop to compliment my home, and they were. They told me their story of how they finally decided on the color combinations I so admired and gave me the name and number of the woman who helped them choose it. She does it for a living and is paid handsomely for her services. Choosing color is really the key to an overall good or ‘meh’ look so I had no problem hiring her. I’d had similar help with the color palette on the interior of my last two homes and it was money well spent.

She came over and I liked her instantly. We drove around the neighborhood so she could get a feel for it, and I pointed out homes whose colors I both liked, and detested. There was one home that was painted a sort of yellow/gold and I liked it. My husband didn’t, but I really did. It captured the ‘dramatic’ element I wanted of the change, yet when I took her past that home, her reaction was as negative as my husband’s was. I felt disappointed because I was sure that this house looked good. When she nixed it, I took the idea off the table and we went in a different direction.

She advised a darker color than we’d had and held up large swatches to illustrate. It played nicely off the brick and the roof. My husband liked it. I got paint sample of it, and another, lighter shade.

Both were nice, but I felt the darker would be the more dramatic of the two. Since this paint job was costing a fortune and it had to last several years, I wanted something different. We chose the green I longed for as the accent color on our doors, and in the railings of the deck. The deck floor we actually painted a certain, custom hue of black. That was the one point where I dithered over the color after it’d been rolled on: it wasn’t enough of a contrast from the brown of the house. See, once the house was painted, the color appeared rather…plain, rather…brown. It lacked the punch I’d been yearning for. The whole ‘deck accent’ now REALLY had to work; there had to be contrast there, and it wasn’t until the deck floor was painted black that the house came together for me: brown house, green doors and deck railings (visible on only one elevation of the house), and the black deck floor. That part I liked. That side of the house did have the punch I wanted.  

But the overall look of the house? It didn’t. It just…didn’t. I didn’t love it.

Can I tell you how disappointed I am by the outcome? It’s not that I didn’t like it, exactly, because I did. I can’t put my finger on it…but it missed my mark. It just did. I do love the black and green deck and I agree that the color of the house blends nicely with the roof, the brick accent and the neighborhood. But I wanted the house to sing, and it doesn’t sing. The colorist recommended orange/red accent colors in accessories for that *punch* of color. When I painted a large terra cotta pot in the color she advised, I hated it, and changed it to a lovely orange that I do like, but now I’m thinking I just ought to paint all the accent pieces in the green I love so much. Green and black have saved the house, to me. Our Adirondack chairs are black and they just meld into the background so that they really aren’t discernible from the street, which is fine. But perhaps using that green on the chairs would liven things up a bit.

We had workers at the house for several weeks, making repairs, fixing the wood rot, enlarging a side deck and creating a nicer outdoor shower enclosure, and finally, painting. And in a year’s time, only one single person has commented on the house. (She said she liked it a lot, and I believe her, as it was unsolicited;  initiated by her when I ran into her at Publix.) But not another word from anyone! I shared carpool duties with two other families: not a word. Nothing. The neighbors were mum on the topic. But more than that, I am underwhelmed. Disappointed that my one chance to create something really pleasing to me fell short of my dream.  The train has left the station and with it, my only opportunity for an eye-catching house.  I don’t care what other people think…heck, I liked (and still do) that yellow/gold house one street over and partially regret not throwing caution to the wind and going with my first instinct.  But then I’d have been copying them and that’s not cool, either.

I guess I could have written this post in an entirely different voice, using far fewer words, and increasing the chances that anyone, including my husband, would even read it.  It would go like this:

Last year I painted my house after many years of dreaming about it.  I searched for an inspiration color, and found it.  I found a color consultant I hired to help me choose the colors.  I was dissuaded from my gut instinct by the husband and the color consultant and now have a house in a color I don’t love.  I have to live with this choice for a very long time.  I like two things about the colors of my house: the accent colors, which can really only be used sparingly due to the architecture of the home.  So I will find accessories to paint to create the color contrast and *punch* I was longing for from this project. Color me disappointed and lesson learned (again.  Why so many lessons learned, I wonder?): I know what looks good.  Collaborate with others but don’t be so quick to toss away your instincts even if the odds are against you.

I went with ‘safe’ because it was a big investment.  It’s okay.  I still love my house, even if no one else does.  Frankly, aside from the yellow/gold house, and my Beach Avenue inspiration house, there isn’t a single house around here whose color choices I admire.  So perhaps my friends and neighbors muteness on the subject speaks more to their lack of taste than it does to mine.  Hmm?

(The fact that I don’t have a single photo of my home exterior in its entirety is telling.  But rest assured, I do love my home overall, for a variety of reasons and design styles.  It’s not beachy; it’s eclectic.  In a good way.)