Wednesday, October 26, 2011

steel and stars.

Listening To: Us Against the World by Coldplay
Line Obsession: "It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems." - from Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

My brother, whom I affectionately refer to as The Rogue Accountant (because that is how I once heard him affectionately refer to himself) recently moved into a new apartment.

My brother's old apartment mostly contained the following: a couch, an X-Box, a TV the size of an IMAX, and a small statue of a monkey wearing a straw hat and playing a bongo drum. It was a manpartment, to a fault.

The new apartment is very different. The new apartment is very, very cool. The walls are peaceful, neutral colors. They're filled with framed gig posters, a big black & white poster of the tunnel view from Yosemite (a poster of a picture he took!), and a map full of stick pins of places he's visited. The guitar on the stand gets played. The records get listened to. The freezer gets frequently opened for popsicles (especially when I visit). I think the most gorgeous spaces are the ones you fill up with stuff you love: pictures, records, books, music. In that regard, I suppose the monkey-statue-apartment was cool, too. But the new digs look so classy. His dog loves it. He loves it. And I think it's awesome.

Thus, we decided to roadtrip it down to Ikea so Chase could scope out some new furniture. Shenanigans ensued.

Fact: I never know exactly what I'll find in my brother's car. Once, I found a piece of fruit, packs of honey mustard sauce, and a fake mustache (all together on the dashboard). This weekend, I discovered ...

A glossy 8X10 of Vince Gill: 


And I simply said, " ... Why?" 

And he said, "That was only $2! Can you believe it? I have big plans for that picture. Be careful with it." 

I have big plans for that picture. Words like this strike fear in my heart. 

But I digress. We drove to the ATL and Chase made extra-doubly-sure that his doors were locked so that nobody would break in and steal his glossy Vince Gill 8x10. (In case you're curious, the Vince picture has since been framed and placed anonymously on a co-workers desk.)

And then we strolled into Ikea, which has always reminded me of a busy airport (with more places to sit). It was Swedish and swanky and Chase quickly filled up a buggy-cart with fun stuffs for his new apartment. (In the south we call them "buggies" but I know you up-north-types call them carts. I vote we call them "bu-carts." Yes?)

Chase was especially stoked because, as you know, when you fill up a bu-cart at Ikea, you get to take it down the escalator/conveyor belt made specifically for bu-carts. It's like the big city version of skiing. This was a very exciting event for us: 

I was so excited about this, in fact, that I was very sad when we reached the end. 

And that sadness helped me realize that I should probably get out more.

After that, we went to Chipotle. My favorite thing at Chipotle is the hot salsa. What I order at Chipotle doesn't matter so much; the food is merely a vehicle for the hot salsa. I could drink that stuff with a straw. 

While devouring The Salsa of Dreams, I said, "Chase. Do you see how many very stylish people are in this Chipotle? This is an uncommon conglomeration of steeze." 

He said, " ... Uh huh." And never looked up from his burrito bowl. This response is typically intended to convey the following sentiment: please stop thinking out loud

Salsa makes me contemplative though. So I continued, "Why do places like Chipotle draw in such a crazy-cool crowd? I feel like we're sitting in an Urban Outfitters ad. Is it the salsa, you think? And does it make you feel kind of good that we made it in?! I'll bet, if you don't look cool enough, there's a trap door on the sidewalk that opens and swallows you up before you walk inside. No salsa for scrubs. You savvy?"

*PLOP* *That's the sound of salsa hitting my shirt.*

"It's cause we're cool. That's why we got in." I scraped the salsa blob off my shirt with a chip, and ate it. "It was probably my dark nail polish. Or maybe my thermal shirt. All the cool kids are wearing them. Get it? The cool kids? 'Cause it's thermal?"

I think I heard him sigh but he just kept concentrating on his rice.

If we'd taken in the glossy 8x10 of Vince Gill? They probably would have given us free chips.

We hit up Trader Joe's after that. Chase bought Pumpkin Bread Mix, candy and cheap wine. ("Ah," my brother held up the bottle like it was a trophy, "vintage Charles Shaw! 2010!")  This particular wine is commonly referred to as "Two Buck Chuck" and it tastes the way Windex smells. Chase likes to buy it as a housewarming gift for his friends. He's sweet that way. The cashier looked at the bread mix, the candy, and the wine and said, "That's dinner!"

(The first time we went to Trader Joe's, Chase said he wanted Two-Buck-Chuck, and I thought he meant chuck, like, ground chuck. Like hamburger meat. And I was majorly confused.)

I bought a box of Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie Mix, just in case my caramel cake came out tasting like a caramel-covered ash tray. (It came out tasting like fudgey awesomeness, in case you're interested.)

We drove home just as the sun sank down into the far-away mountains. The sky looked backlit and beautiful. We ate peanut butter cups and listened to Foster the People, David Mayfield, Paulo Nutini, old school DC Talk, Colin Meloy, The Newsboys and Burlap to Cashmere. 

Eventually, I'll stop posting that song on here. Maybe.

When I got home, I wrote about all the lights I saw while we were driving. I wrote about the Atlanta skyline and how it sparkles at night, like it's made of steel and stars. I wrote about planes blinking above me. I wrote about headlights and taillights. (Am I coming or going? Isn't it weird how you can travel a thousand miles even though you're sitting still?)

I wrote about the only star in the sky that night; the one made for lullabies, prime for wishing, bold enough to stare down the city. Bright enough to burn a hole in the night and remind me: that it's okay to watch and wait and hope. To dream a little bigger. To whisper another wish. Stars so get so lonely if you don't wish on them.

Do you have a favorite "decoration" in your room/apartment/house boat? A cool piece of art? A guitar you love to play? A book series you keep close because it means so much to you? An old quilt? A statue of a monkey playing a bongo drum? I won't judge. ; ) 


  1. There's one whole shelf on my bookshelf completely devoted to Ted Dekker :] It may have to be expanded to 1 1/2 shelves though...
    It's not in my house, but a friend has a cool painting in her room. It's one of those James Dean/Marilyn Monroe/Humphrey Bogart/Elvis Presley paintings, and IT EVEN LIGHTS UP. I want it so badly...

  2. Ahh, I love what you said about lights and magical.

    I have a huge--and I mean HUGE--Jack Sparrow poster hanging on my door. I was forced to put it on the door so others didn't have to be stared down by Captain Jack's awesomeness when the door is open. ahem. It's my favorite. (:

  3. I love reading about how life looks through your eyes, Natalie! It's so much fun to "go places" with ya! ;)

    Okay, so I DO have a few weird things in my room. They are as follows: a pumpkin teapot, two vintage victorian styled avon perfume bottles, a sprinkling of the japanese feline hello kitty here and there, quilts of various colours and sizes, polish pottery, an owl lamp and 2 tiny owl ceramic liquor bottles that were my great grandfather's back in the day.

  4. How cool are you? IKEA, Chipotle and Trader Joe's in one day-I'm so jealous!:) We only have Chipotle here and I miss IKEA and Trader Joe's every day. Although my IKEA just had a seperate escaltaor for carts, which was still pretty cool, but you couldn't ride on it. I like yours better!

  5. I love this post so much. Loved "stop thinking out loud." I have those moments all the time. When someone gets "that look," and you know they wish you would just promote some silence.
    And: And that sadness helped me realize that I should probably get out more.

    I just wish I lived close to an Ikea. The nearest is six hours.

  6. I have never been in an Ikea! I feel so deprived. I think we have one an hour or two away, but I'm not sure.

    The Vince Gill photo cracked me up. :) My mom loves Vince Gill. I always make fun of him (even though he does have a nice voice) because she loves him so much.

    My room is full of the stuff I love. It used to be all Elvis. I even had one of those life-sized cardboard standups of him in his gold suit. It was ridiculously awesome, but I had to take it down to put my dress form in that corner. Now it's a mixture of Elvis, Lucy, Audrey Hepburn, Eiffel Towers, books, and embroidery.

    I do love my Kit Cat Klock. It's a modern one with batteries, but eventually I want one of the original ones with the electric cord. I also love my James Dean poster from Target- he's got the most amazing hair and he's holding a camera. And I love all of my quirky art from Etsy- from The Black Apple, The Little Fox, and Flapper Doodle.


  7. my room is full of effel towers, books, and pictures of my bestest friends. i have a vintage painting of a ballerina above my bookcase, a quick quotes quill on my desk, and a painting I made myself with the quote "fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten."
    you and your brother seem to be the funniest and coolest people i have never met, but totally want too.

  8. Natalie, I am totally with you in talking out loud and it usually results in weird looks. This mostly happens in my Spanish class where I have repeatedly told to shut up. Lovingly of course ;) I love my Spanish teacher, but she talks at least twice as much as I do. As for odd decorations, her room is the epitome. She had a happy birthday banner dangling from the ceiling, a hand between the ceiling tiles, a palm tree by her desk and a reindeer with lights on it that baffles me every time I walk by it. I think you and her would get along fine. ;) Yet another post that made my day! Which is good because today was not so fun.

  9. Hey Natalie!
    I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now but have resisted commenting because I was... too shy? However, I live in the ATL and have to say that I am THRILLED that you were here recently.I was a huge Brio fan of yours back in the good ol' days and really really enjoy reading your blog. Take care!

  10. Ikea is perfect for shenanigans. The ones I'm usually involved in are slightly less mature. Like, last time I was there, my brother & sister & I started a game of tag.

    Throughout the entire building.

    It was incredible.

  11. Natalie, you could post "Don't Forget to Write" on every blog post of yours and I don't think I would ever get tired of it :) Such a great song!

    My room is absolutely full of pictures and stacks of books and candles and blankets that people have made for me and little trinkets that remind me of all of the wonderful people in my life. It's such a cozy place to be :)

  12. So, my friend and I are sitting in an uber-trendy coffee shop ufilled with super-chic looking people, and I read your blog aloud to her. We are both in tears. The cool kids are staring at us because we're the only ones laughing so hard.

    And I'm okay if you never stop posting Burlap to Cashmere songs. A few weeks ago I discovered at the end of a particularly exhausting day that they were playing in Raleigh that night. It took everything in me to make the decision that I was too tired to go. I still kindof regret it.

    I just moved into my own apartment for the first time (actually I'm sharing the apartment with my brother). My favorite part is my bathroom. I added ribbons to the shower curtain to make it super-cute, used dry-erase crayons to write scripture on the mirrors and shower walls, made a magnet to stick my bobby pins to the wall so I don't lose them, and painted a table and a medicine cabinet to go up in there. It's not complete yet (I just found a knob perfect for the cabinet at Anthropologie, and there are still a couple pictures I want to hang), but it's easily my favorite part of the entire apartment. I'll post pictures on my blog when it's finished.

  13. I have a red journal I've kept since the 5th grade (I'm in 8th now) and I took it everywhere; roadtrips, Grandma's, Mcdnoald's;)...until I filled it upo a few months ago. It feels weird to put it away, so it's proudly on display on my dresser to remind me of all my sweet memories:)