Tuesday, August 13

Joan's Legacy

From the Gerald & Joan blog:
Ten years ago today, my dear grandma became my guardian angel. Although she has been physically absent from this earth for a third of my life, she has been present in my heart every day for the past ten years. During that last week of summer, I was fortunate to sit by her side before I flew home to start my first semester at the University of Mississippi. Less than 24 hours after my plane landed at Memphis International Airport, I received the dreaded call that she was gone. Three days later, I made the tear-filled journey to Oxford, and I became friends with my next door neighbor, a person from my adopted hometown who shared my history, values and quirks. It is still hard for me to believe they’ll never know each other, because they share so many similar traits. If she could have picked my future husband, she would have chosen Jonathan Hardin.
A decade later, the role she plays in our lives is more apparent than ever. Most obvious is the homegrown business that shares her name. Gerald & Joan has forced us to have conversations about our home, family, and children, and it has also allowed us to spend more time focusing on the areas of life that truly matter.
Next week, we’ll honor Joan’s legacy by putting down roots closer to our families in a home where we’ll add millions of beautiful new memories with the people we love. In the heart of our new home is the studio that she and Jonathan’s grandfather, Gerald, inspired. The studio will officially open for business on Tuesday, September 10, her 80th birthday, and with it comes everything Jonathan and I dreamed of when we first began discussing the idea of Gerald & Joan.
Thank you for your love and prayers today and every day. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received since we launched Gerald & Joan in February, and we’re proud to be starting this next chapter with you.

Wednesday, July 24

Summer in Memphis

Since our house listed at the very beginning of the month, we have had more free time for fun (walks at Shelby Farms, a trip to the peach orchard in Millington), but we've been tied to Memphis with the exception of a one-day trip to Booneville to visit family for Jonathan's birthday.

For people who are always forging ahead, this "in-between" time has been good for us. We aren't looking forward or back...we're just living in our house, enjoying the summer, picking a few tomatoes (that came from seeds from last year's garden), walking Porter, trimming back the roses, cutting the grass and bushes and listening to all of the summer storms.

We know what's ahead...packing, moving, saying goodbye to this house and another chapter of our lives. We're excited about a new chapter, but this little house is very much a part of who we are. Closing that door won't be easy. Tears will be shed. Five and a half years of our lives have gone by since we moved into our home, and they have passed so quickly. I wish we just hit the pause button for a while...

In Gerald & Joan/family news, Chris and Lauren's wedding was featured on the national wedding blog, Rustic Wedding Chic, on Monday. Here's the link on the story. I took a screenshot of the homepage, because it was featured FRONT AND CENTER on Monday (since then it has moved down the slideshow). How awkward am I, by the way? I am the only one looking directly into the camera....what a weirdo!


Tuesday, June 25


Do you believe in signs?

When a lady bug crawls up your leg as you're making one of the biggest decisions of your life, do you take that as a sign? In my childhood homes in Booneville, lady bugs were like a part of the family. During certain times of the year, they were everywhere. In the five and a half years we've lived in this house, I can count the number of lady bugs I've seen inside on one hand. On the rare occasion I do find one, I relocate it to the rose bushes (lady bugs eat aphids, a common rose pest). I haven't seen more than a couple outside either. Maybe the robins eat them? We have tons of robins in our yard. Who knows.

Today we were deep in conversation with our Realtor when I felt something on my leg. Fearing a spider, I brushed it off and then looked down to see a lady bug. Perhaps it's crazy, but I immediately felt better about everything. This lady bug had to be good luck, right?

It certainly felt that way to me, but I guess time will tell. :)

Wednesday, June 19

This week in history...

For some reason, this week plays a big role in my family's history. 

Twenty-one years ago this Saturday, my mother, sister and I boarded a plane bound for Memphis International Airport and a new life in Booneville, Mississippi. My dad stayed in England to sell our house. We didn't know then that our family would never truly reconnect. The house sold and my dad came to the States, but his music industry background was not a good fit for Mississippi or even Nashville. Work took him to New York City, and for the next 20 years, he spent the majority of his time on the road. 

Today, almost 21 years after our family parted ways in a crowded London airport terminal, my parents are officially divorced. There isn't any point in dwelling on the whys (sort of obvious, I suppose) and what ifs, but it seemed fitting to mark this day with a blog post. It's also important to mention that my sister and brother-in-law buy their first house this afternoon, and we will sell our Oxford condo on Friday. 

Ten years ago, the condo was nearing completion. I was moving out of my parents' house in Booneville and heading to Ole Miss. It was the most difficult summer of my life (perhaps even more difficult than the summer of 1992). I was recovering from a painful breakup that wouldn't end, I was in school all summer, I was getting ready to leave home forever and although we didn't know it just yet, my grandma was dying of cancer. I remember our first July 4th in that condo, celebrating our nation's birthday and shooting video of every room to share with my grandma. I'm not sure she ever saw it. Traveling with a videocamera wasn't easy in those early post-2011 days, and those last trips to her bedside in late July and early August were a blur. 

Before we knew it, she was gone. Two days later, I moved to Oxford. Within a matter of hours (literally), my next door neighbor would come into my life and change things forever. We had an instant connection, although we were only neighbors and friends for the first few months. During that first week, he installed a peephole in my door (a very neighborly thing to do) and met nine-month-old Oliver for the first time. That condo is filled with memories from our first three years of togetherness, just like our current house is filled with our last five years of memories. Isn't it funny how memories are connected with a place? Now we're getting ready to let them go all in the same month. Jonathan said something recently that stuck with me. We're growing up and saying goodbye to childhood. We're putting much of our past to bed, and we're gearing up for the next chapter.  

Goodbye, childhood.

Here are a few photos of the condo. It's filled with my sister's furniture here, except for the bookshelf, which Jonathan put together for me, and the dining room rug, which often had Ollie hairballs on it. 

Despite a very sad beginning, we had a wonderful life there together. We will never forget it.

Monday, June 10

Moving into Summer...

You know that moment when everything clicks? That has happened for us this year. 

Sometimes a little free time is all you need to be able to see the light. 

For us, that means getting our cottage ready for sale...After five-plus years of loving life in our happy little house in East Memphis, we're ready to pack up and head to the suburbs. 

I never thought I'd leave this house or the city willingly, but I'm excited to be so much closer to our families. I'm ready for this next chapter. The timing feels right. 

To ready our house for sale, we've been putting in a little elbow grease...mainly the sanding and painting varieties. It's a good thing I enjoy painting.

We've also been enjoying lots of rain storms...

as well as lots of popcorn...


Grizzlies games...

And Paul McCartney too. What a great show...probably the best I've ever seen.

 Porter has been spending a lot of time outside of the sunroom, which has been his room since we got him as a puppy almost five years ago. Originally he left the sunroom because he was scared of thunderstorms. Now he hears thunderstorms when no one else does. Any excuse to leave the sunroom, I guess. 

This is what happened when we told him to go back to the sunroom...

I've also been thinking about my business and what I want it to look like by the end of the year...

I'm looking forward to having a dedicated studio in our new house. 

Oliver is not a fan of packing, but he does like the boxes...

See what I mean? No thunder, and he's all up in my business. 

And I'm loving every minute of it.

Thursday, May 16

Why I Grind

In November 2011, Jonathan and I became Grizzlies season ticket holders. While I liked the idea of going to some games, I was not thrilled that I would be going to that many games, and I was quite sure I'd be bowing out to allow Jonathan to take family or friends at least some of the time. Twenty games is a lot for someone who has never watched basketball. 

But boy was I wrong. 

The Memphis Grizzlies won me over after a single game. It wasn't just that they played well...they played with heart. I saw something in "my" team that I desperately needed in my life. The 2011-12 season carried me through some very difficult days, and I was devastated (it sounds silly, but it's true) when the season ended with a home loss to the LA Clippers. Over the summer, players moved around, and the team was sold. We wondered if we'd feel the same about the Grizzlies in 2012-13 and if the team would have the same heart that inspired us so deeply.

In October, Jonathan and I flew to LA to watch the Grizzlies open the season at Staples Center versus the Clippers. The game was a disaster, and we were suddenly really worried about the season. Fortunately, the Grizzlies turned things around after that first game, and they started winning....a lot. About that time, we started trading players again. The bombshell was the trade of Rudy Gay, our star player. While there were many people who cheered this move, there were many die-hard Grizz fans who were sad to see Rudy go. Well, at least until he said he wouldn't miss anything about Memphis. 


It turns out that Memphis didn't need Rudy. We would come together and pull off our most successful season in franchise history. We would then go down 0-2 before beating the LA Clippers four straight games to silence our 2011-12 demons. Next up was Oklahoma City, the team that beat us in seven games during the second round of the playoffs in 2010-11. After giving away Game 1 in OKC, we came back and won another four straight games. The clincher was last night in OKC. Whew, what a way to close out the series. 

Our team is now headed to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. This is a huge moment for our team, both collectively and individually, and for our city. The national media is (sort of) talking about us for the first time, and while we're still underdogs, people are finally starting to see our heart and take us seriously. We're proud Memphians and Grizz fans.

In all of this, we're not renewing our season tickets next year. As much as we love our team and the games, our lives (and budget) has changed, and we can no longer spend the time or the money on season tickets. Despite this, we remain die-hard Grizzlies fans and will tune in to every game. We love our team. We love their heart, their grit and their grind. 

We are so proud to have watched them rise from the ashes of last season, and we can't wait to see what happens next.

We believe in Memphis and the Grizzlies. 

Tuesday, May 7

Seasons of life

A friend sent these thoughts to me today, and they resonated with me so much that I wanted to share them here. As we travel along on our personal journeys, it's easy to get frustrated when we don't feel like we're making the progress we should. According to Joel and Victoria, the key is not to lose ground or stop trying. As long as we're working as hard as we can and staying focused on what's important, we'll get there. Regardless of where we are in life, those words can definitely inspire. I know they've inspired me!

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
God has set up seasons in our lives. It’s easy to get frustrated when our dreams aren’t coming to pass on our timetable, but every season is not harvest season. There are plowing seasons. There are planting seasons. There are watering seasons. Sure, we would love for every season to be a time of increase left and right, good breaks here and there. But without the other seasons, we wouldn’t be prepared. For example, it’s during the plowing seasons that God brings issues to light that we need to deal with. He’s getting us prepared for promotion.
If you’re not making as much progress as you would like, the key is to not lose any ground. Don’t go backwards. Hold your position. Keep a good attitude and do the right thing even when it’s hard. When you do that, you are passing the test, and God promises that your due season of harvest is coming. Be encouraged because your appointed time of increase, favor and promotion is on its way, and He will fulfill every dream and desire He’s placed within your heart. Remember, harvest is coming!
To read more from Joel and Victoria, click here.

Monday, May 6

Eliza's Big Announcement

Is if life hasn't been exciting enough this year, our adorable niece is going to be a big sister in November. If you can't tell from the photo, she is a total girly-girl and would really like a little sister. Regardless of the baby's sex, it will be welcomed with so much love. Congratulations to Julie, Josh and Eliza! We can't wait to meet Baby Green!

Wednesday, April 24

Ten Favorite Things...

1. Favorite clothing brand? Right now, it's probably J.Crew. I'm really drawn to classic pieces in bright colors and neutrals (sorry Antro). Madewell just opened in Memphis, so that might be changing soon...
2. Favorite restaurant? I'm crazy about so many Memphis restaurants, but right now, if I had to pick one place, it would be El Palmar for dinner. If I was allowed to pick a separate place for dessert, it would be El Michocana for a homemade kiwi-strawberry popsicle.
3. Daily blog reads? Could I have That?, Elise Blaha, Make Something Good Today and A Beautiful Mess.
4. Favorite piece of jewelry? Besides my wedding rings, I'm currently wearing a large turquoise ring that my dad brought back from New Mexico when I was still in high school. I remember asking him for a piece of turquoise jewelry because it was in style that year (2001). I have worn it every year since!
5. Favorite article of clothing: A pair of Paige jeans I bought in LA back in October. I rarely wash them because they don't get baggy, they are so soft and they go with everything!
6. Favorite place: The South Bay from Palos Verdes to Manhattan Beach. My heart is always there.
7. Favorite food: Healthy food -- lentils. Not so healthy food -- chips, salsa and guacamole.
8. Favorite movie: Roman Holiday because I love Audrey Hepburn, and I love Rome.
9. Favorite indulgence: Cooking and eating with my husband and a glass of wine. Doesn't even matter what it is.
10. Favorite flower: A fragrant pink rose...right before it starts to lose its petals.

Tuesday, April 23

Lauren's Wedding

Wow, I didn't mean to fall off the face of the Earth, but somehow it happened anyway. To say the past few weeks have been a blur is the understatement of the century. The constants have been lots of time spent working outside (our kitchen bistro table has been outside more than in), eating (more recipes to share) and a good amount of family time. Lauren's wedding was so magical, and I continue to realize just how fortunate I was to be able to play such a large part in it. Flexible employment is such a huge blessing! I didn't appreciate it in 2007, but I do now!

I have several posts planned for the near future, but until then, I'll leave you with a few photos and the speech I wrote for Lauren and Chris' rehearsal dinner:

As we’ve approached this special day, I’ve been thinking a lot about life’s twists and turns. Twenty-one years ago, my family left England and closed one chapter of our life halfway around the world to open a new one in Booneville, Mississippi. At the time, saying goodbye to our home, our school, our pets and our dearest friends, Lauren and I didn’t see this twist as a positive one. We didn’t want to leave everything we knew and loved for the unknown. I mean, Booneville, really? But that was the path we were meant to take and it led us right where we needed to be.

After all, life is like that – sometimes you have to leave what is comfortable. Sometimes you have to believe that love and faith will lead you to what matters most in life. Looking around the room, I know that has happened. I see anyone who matters most to Lauren and Chris and their families, and those who are not here are present in spirit and in their hearts.

If you ask Lauren, you’ll know we had to have a lot of faith during our years in Booneville. It is never easy to grow up in a small town, especially in the days before cable TV and the Internet and even more so when you have a thick British accent.

By clinging to each other and to our imaginations, we persevered and came out smiling. With three years on my little sister (back then it was a good thing), I briefly considered USC before choosing Ole Miss.  I’m not entirely sure why I had this change of heart, but it was the best decision I have ever made…for me and for Lauren.

From day one, Oxford felt like the home we’d been missing for so long, and it brought me so much happiness. Of course it didn’t hurt that I fell in love with my neighbor during my first semester – but that’s another story.

I remember telling Lauren Oxford and Ole Miss could bring her the same happiness. But she had her heart set on fashion school in Southern California, and she did not want me to rain on her parade. After many heated discussions, she chose Ole Miss, and although she wouldn’t have admitted it during her freshmen year -- big sister was right. A year later, she introduced me to Chris at an Ole Miss baseball game. Just like that, life’s little twists and turns led us both right to where we needed to be, and the rest is history.

I’m so proud of the woman my beautiful, caring little sister has become, and I’m so glad she found Chris, a good man with a loving heart and smile. Chris, I knew you were a member of this family more than five years ago when you kept Jonathan from seeing me the morning of our wedding. I’ll never forget the look on your face. It was priceless. I knew at that moment that you were my brother for life.

I love you and Lauren so much, and I am so, so happy that life brought you together. You’ve had a wonderful seven years, and you have an amazing life ahead of you. I look forward to seeing the path you take as the Mr. and Mrs. Durham. I know you’ll be smiling and laughing together, and you’ll be surrounded by all of your family and friends – just like you are today. We love you so much. Congratulations.  

Monday, March 25

Snapshots From Last Week...

 Lots of veggies to go with our pasta (recipe coming soon!)

 Ollie's two most prized possessions -- his pink ball and a cardboard box.

 Jonathan prepping for painting.

We have two more games left as season ticket holders, but I will always be a Grizzlies fan. 
More on this later. 

 Ollie and his British box. 

 Porter, my painting assistant. 

 See the paint on his tail? He sat in my paint bucket.

 He went from there....

 to here in a blink of an eye. Can you say spoiled?

Look at this spoiled dog! He stole my painting sheet multiple times, but he was really great company. I painted three days in a row, and K-Earth and P-Dog were my companions!

 After all that painting, pasta sounded good (recipe to come!).

 Little Love Birds thank you notes designed by me...coming soon to the Gerald & Joan Shop.

It's a terrible photo, but I made that bread (recipe to come soon!)

P.S. My sister is getting married in less than two weeks, so there's lots of chaos in my world this week and next!

Monday, March 18

A Sweet Message

Every once in a while, I read something that touches me so deeply that I feel moved to share it here. This came from a daily devotional from Reverend Richard Smith of Germantown United Methodist Church. He recently received a card that included it. It's a good reminder that regardless of how alone and lost we feel, we are never truly alone or lost.
I'm praying for you today...
asking God to come into
the middle of your circumstances,
the middle of your road,
the middle of your life,
and do what only
He can do - wrap His arms
around your heart,
fill you up with love
from deep inside,
and give you peace
that passes understanding.
He's got good plans for you
and He's going to see you through.
So know you're loved...
and keep holding on to the One
who will never let go of you.

P.S. I feel neither alone nor lost today, but don't we all have days when we feel discouraged and down in the dumps? Hopefully I'll remember this when I experience one of those moments...

Friday, March 15

Loving Lately

So the sun is out today, and the high is 75! Woo hoo! In honor of this blissful weather, Porter and I are spending some time outside. Ollie has been banished to the house, however, after he tried to escape from my lap. Such a bad boy!

To celebrate this perfect weather, here are some things I'm loving from a safe distance. No shopping for me right now, and I'm on a sort-of diet until after my sister's wedding.

Who needs food and clothes when you have sunshine, anyway?

Source: via Crystel on Pinterest

Monday, March 11

Gerald and Joan Branding

I have been trying not to spam PPR with too many Gerald & Joan-related posts, but I'm proud of our branding and really wanted to share it with my blog friends. You can read the full story here