shop love

1011_Selmas_Stock_Photos2 When this week's homework for the Blogging Your Way E-course included suggestions for blog posts, how could I not jump at Idea #1: Shop Around? I'll use any excuse to invite you back into this delightful place.

1011_Selmas_Stock_Photos3 It's been almost a year since Meg, Marianne and April took over ownership of Simply Selma's (new website coming soon), and the place feels alight with all of their great energy while still capturing the spirit of Kathy Axelrod, the founder and original owner.

1011_Selmas_Stock_Photos67 It's a good place to be.

IMG_8472 These are the lovelies who take care of you when you come to Selma's. Each and every one of them can make you feel like you've stepped into their home...but unlike when you come to my house - and I haven't swept up the dog hair - they're glad to have you!

Selmas stuff The merchandise in the store is a crazy delightful mix of stuff from gorgeous jewelry to serving pieces to picture frames. I can't even begin to tap into all the things they offer.

1011_Selmas_Stock_Photos51 You know the kinds of things I'm talking about...all the stuff you never knew you wanted, but once you see it you absolutely have to have.

Selmas teaIt's my go-to for any kind of gift I have to buy.  Birthday, housewarming, baby, hostess. You name it. I can always count on finding something classy, tasteful and quirky.

1011_Selmas_Stock_Photos73 What I need to do is shop more for myself there. Right Neel?


1011_Selmas_Stock_Photos26 When I was last in taking photos for these guys, Christmas was just the merest hint about the place. Since then they've pulled their annual all-nighter+ and be-dazzled the store in the best of ways. I haven't seen it yet, but I can't wait to swing in and take in the Christmas glory. They make it a show-stopper every year.

1011_Selmas_Stock_Photos11 I've been starting some exciting collaborations with these guys over the past weeks, and I hope we can continue them. It's not just the work I do with the Selma's gals that makes me feel good; it's how I feel when I'm in there too. Welcomed. Part of things. But it's not just me. They're that way with everyone. I can walk in with my gi-normous camera bag and tripod and find that they're talking with a customer about shoes while helping her find the perfect wedding gift. Or telling another that her favorite jewelry vendor is coming out with a new line. They're good at taking care of things. People too.

If you have any interest in shopping local, this is an awesome and easy way to do it. It's half and hour door to door for me to get there, and the distance is nothing when such a warm welcome is waiting. I'd go every day if I could.

On my last stop in I took photos of all the gals...look for those shots on the blog next week!

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dispatch from the tropics

0911_rain2 No wonder the bananas like it here. It's hot and muggy, and all it does is rain.

Yesterday afternoon as Callum and I sat in the carpool line waiting to leave school, we watched wisps of clouds drop down from an ominous-looking wall cloud and pull back up again. They seemed to be trying to form funnels. Gulp.

0911_rain1 My favorite weather guy says that drier and cooler air is moving in tomorrow, but until then, even when the sun is shining, it rains.

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all politics are local

Localpolitics-6 This is Callum with our friend, Evans. His Excellency. Last night, Evans hosted a meet-and-greet for our new state senator, Ralph Northam. New to us because of recent redistricting. Neel's been following this guy for awhile because he's a physican affiliated with the medical school where he teaches.

Localpolitics-7 Senator Northam is great, and I'm thrilled that he represents us now. He gets it that things won't get done on either side of the aisle, but across the aisle. I'm looking forward to voting for him in November.

It was a great back yard, neighborhood event. Some local brew, some wraps (best wrap I've ever had, by the way) from a local restaurant and a nice crowd. Young people (younger than me!) who care about their city and the future of their country too. That's nice to see.

Localpolitics-5 Politicians were thick on the ground. Here's Callum with Paul Fraim, the mayor of Norfolk. He's a nice guy. It was said last night that he's been encouraged to get involved on a state level, but he chooses to stay here, taking care of our city. I appreicate that.

And how's this....

Localpolitics-1 Callum and Senator Mark Warner! This is a good Virginia guy. We all felt honored to meet him. I'm not going to get all political. I've been pretty irritated this summer. But I like this guy. I like Mayor Fraim and Senator Northam, and I'm grateful for the work they're willing to do.

Neel even asked Senator Warner to not forget funding the NIH.

Localpolitics-3 He said, "Of course...!"

Holy MOLY, what a summer Callum has had. Braces! Hanging with a circuit court judge! And now meeting our mayor, state and U.S. Senators! How can 6th grade compete?!

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IMG_1709 I think I mentioned that a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to take some photos in a gorgeous shop that is partly owned by a friend of mine. Yesterday I got even luckier and got to take some photos of the three gals who own Simply Selma's, and you'll see those here as soon as I have a chance to edit them.

IMG_1720 I love still life photography. In a time that has been filled to the brim with relationships and capturing them with my camera, it was a breath of fresh air to take photos where I didn't have to worry about posing people or someone's eyes being closed or making someone laugh or even talking. I could be quiet and just take pictures. It was nice.

IMG_1828 The store itself is a breath of fresh air too. That first day, when I went in to see my friend Marianne and nose around a bit, she gave me a complete tour, showing me all her favorite things. I tried to capture the details, but what I love about it are the layers of beautiful objects waiting to be discovered. Marianne talked about how they'll stand at the front of the store and figure out how the room will unfold for a customer. How a customer will walk through and experience each section, each surprising and delightful discovery. We're reading Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit for my photography class, and she talks about how when she's choreographing a dance piece, she pulls back. She moves so far that she becomes a "surrogate for the audience." If she could pull back further, she would.

IMG_1764 Marianne's words struck me the same way. That's what they do at Selma's: choreograph a dance for their customers.

I hope you enjoy the photos I took, and if you're in the 757, stop in sometime. You won't regret it. It takes every ounce of willpower I have to walk out with my wallet intact each time I'm there. (Last time I just locked it in the trunk of my car!)




Selmas dup


Selmas dup2


Selmas trio


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hip afternoon

  Hipsta5 For Neel's birthday a few weeks ago, we all spent the day together. Lunch and a movie. I didn't have my camera with me. (Will I never learn? Just always take the darn thing.) So I did what all the cool kids are doing and used the Hipstamatic App on my phone.

Hipsta6 First stop, a local icon. The Donut Dinette. I can't believe we've never been here before. With seats at the counter and reviews that command you to "get here early" for the donuts, this place is truly a gem.

Hipsta4 I love the way the maple syrup jars are lined up on the counter.

Hipsta2 Callum had the cheeseburger deal, and Neel and I had BLTs. Perfect, but I almost wish I'd had the chicken and dumpling special. Plus, we really need to come for breakfast sometime.

Hipsta1 And after, the movie. Have you seen it yet? Everybody has. On the recommendation of a friend we took Callum along. I think our little family brought the mean age down by like twenty years. I'm sure there are those who will take issue with the fact that our eleven year old was there to hear some of the, ahem, colorful language. Myself, I don't have a problem with that. And colorful? This is full-on cursing. Impressive and effective. Powerful too. Callum had one giggle when the words first started flying, but after that he settled in. They're just words, after all. And watching Colin Firth masterfully struggle to speak it made me think that the worst words are the ones we can't get out.

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la boulangerie

IMG_0335 So Violet has developed a fascination with all things French lately. She's speaking with a French accent and has been begging for a beret for Christmas. And she's always asking, "Aller à la boulangerie pour le déjeuner, maman?"

IMG_1606 Sadly, when we went to a sweet French bistro for lunch with my mom last weekend, it was without her. Elle était très triste.

IMG_6306 If you get to Williamsburg, Virginia anytime soon (which I highly recommend), check out the Blue Talon Bistro. My friend Megan introduced me to this wonderful spot, and I go back everytime we head up there. I've never had dinner there, only lunch, and only lunch has always been wonderful.

IMG_6296 My camera wasn't cooperating, so I didn't get many pictures. It's simple food. I had a meatloaf sandwich, and my mom had a burger. Neel ordered this wonderful appetizer called brandade that was heavenly, creamy goodness, and I must try to recreate it. But I really think Callum came out the winner with his French Onion Soup (but, of course!) and Parisian Hot Chocolate with homemade marshmallows. It was warm and thick and everything a mug of melted chocolate should be. Fortunately Callum needed help to tackle it!

IMG_6305 And I mean hot chocolate, not cocoa. Hello hot chocolate. We'll be back.

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