We are making a massive life change this summer by moving to Oregon and the closer we get to it the harder it is. We’ve talked about moving to Portland for 12 years and we found what we hope is the great property in the great location to raise our kids, grow our family, and groom our fantasy alpacas. But there is still a “are we doing the right thing feeling”, frequently and honestly I don’t think it’s going to go away for a while. And I think that’s ok. Maybe this isn’t the right move, and if so we’ll cross that rainy bridge when we get to it. Every time we go up to visit we feel like it’s the solid RIGHT decision and we are SO excited. The property is just magical, but our family is extremely content living in Lake Arrowhead and there are just so many unknowns about the move back to Oregon, back to a city. So every time I have doubts I try to remind myself of why we are doing this and then I look at the photos of the farm and conjure up how we feel there. I remind myself of the school, our community, my lifelong friends and siblings, and not to mention the amazing food, incredible thrift and vintage shopping, and trees – OH THE TREES. I want all of these things for my family, my husband but mostly my kids. But moving to another state – and even more – moving HOME is harder than I thought it would be. So here are all the questions I get from friends and family and figured that those of you who are following closely likely are wondering the same things. Here goes.
When Are You Moving To Oregon?
We are moving mid August, as school starts September 1st. We have rented a house near the farm and school and in a few weeks, we are going up to move in so that when we arrive in August we can settle in and have a couple weeks of acclimating to the neighborhood. We’ll set up playdates in the neighborhood with kids of similar ages, and play a lot on the school playground so they feel familiar with it.
Are You Selling The Mountain House?
Heck no. We won’t sell here until we have to – you’ll have to pry it from my dead hands. We plan on coming back for Christmas and summers, which keeps us connected to this magical place as well as our friends in LA that I’m going to miss SO VERY MUCH. Of course anything can happen, but as of now, we have zero plans to sell and intend on making many more years of memories here. Besides… this is our backup plan.
Are You Going To Rent Out The Mountain House To Others?
Oh, this has been quite the debate. Obviously, neither of us love the idea of strangers trashing our beautiful, happy place and doing weird things in our bed. But I also love the idea of it being enjoyed and not sit empty! The short-term rental market up here is pretty crazy and we know that we could rent it out for a decent amount when it would be sitting empty for months. As of now, the plan is to have it privately managed, extremely vetted, by a neighbor and renting out for commercial and photo shoots. It won’t be on Airbnb (for now) and can hopefully be a great family retreat for multiple families when we aren’t here. Stay tuned on how to book. Also at any point, if it doesn’t work then we can pivot. There are no definites here 🙂
What Will Happen With The Business?
Everything will run as-is. I have this awesome team that is all LA-based (for now) so I’m sure there will be some navigating some shoots and schedules and I’m not naive enough to think that there won’t be challenges. But we have been working remotely for a year so we know that the business can do that, I just also want to make sure everyone thrives in this work lifestyle without me. I will likely fly down every 6 weeks to touch base with my team and we’ll likely have more team retreats for brainstorming, bonding/morale and to stay connected. Right now I come to LA every other week for shoots or Mal/Veronica or Sara will come up here. So there will be some navigating of production for the smaller partnerships. Obviously, all the farm stuff has to be taken up there, so as of now Brian will produce social (then sending to Mal to edit and post) and we’ll hire freelance photographers when needed. I hope to have more team lunches and just want to make sure that everyone is still happy and having fun. More team lunches and happy hours please!!! Remember that I’m an enneagram 7 so my goal isn’t to build the business to be big, but to make sure that everyone is having fun, thriving, living their best life. Me too. 🙂
So What Are You Nervous About?
I’m worried about my boundaries. Living in the country has been a firm boundary that has slowed me down DRAMATICALLY and despite the year being what it was (terrifying, devastating, full of fear and anger), I’m a far better version of myself up here. I’m a better mom, a better wife, far more present and healthier. So yah, I’m nervous about going back to old patterns, over-scheduling myself, feeling the pull of social obligations and work events. Emily Bowser, who has worked with me for 7 years told me once in exacerbated confidence that she thinks I’m an introvert that extroverts very well. She is also an enneagram expert and highly in tune with personality types. the fact that I don’t leave my house more than twice a month (besides nature of course) does tell me that maybe I’m not the extrovert that I thought I was. But is this just my pandemic personality? What will I be like up there? I’m more self-aware of my patterns now and I have new tools so I think it will be different. Also, Portland is just a different speed than LA. As many of you know living in a large city like LA there is this innate drive and ambition and need to be busy that I don’t think is present in more mid-size cities. I’m excited for a slower speed of life (but fine maybe a bit faster than mountain speed). But we’ll see.
Are The Kids Excited To Move??
You bet. They are still in the ages that if WE are happy, excited, and together they are so excited. This year has been so bonding for us, but I also know that they are VERY excited for friends again. We’ve been playing outside with more neighborhood kids and they CRAVE it, you can sense the desperation. We already have them enrolled in soccer to meet more kids and families and they are so excited to be with all their cousins (both family and my best friend’s kids). I actually don’t worry about them at all. Of course, we’ve been homeschooling so I’m curious if they will need to do a bit of catching up academically, but I’m sure it will be fine.
Why Is It Hard To Move Home?
Moving “home” is hard. Much harder than I thought it would be. There is a lot of familiarity but also a lot of fears. Fear of all the expectations (of life and others of me), of triggering memories, of not being the version of me that I was 25 years ago and how people will react to that. Fear of having to deal with some emotional stuff I’ve successfully avoided for two decades. Fear of losing boundaries, giving away too much access, and not staying focused on my priorities. It’s like Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama, only I will CERTAINLY not be romanced by my small town abusive high school boyfriend, don’t worry. I think it’s mostly about my own issues – rectifying past me and figuring out who “future me” is. I could go on and on, but you get it. For those of us who purposefully left where they were raised to live in larger cities and pursue our careers/relationships/families, there is this feeling of going “back” that is fraught, while being so grateful that we even have this opportunity and flexibility in life.
But When Do You Think You’ll Be Done With The Renovation??
We have a GREAT opportunity at a big print feature in a magazine that will shoot next May, for an August 2022 reveal. So we are hoping to be in the house by March in time to decorate for the reveals. If it were up to us (Anne, Brian, and I) we could do it, but as you all know between permitting, booking subs, and shipping delays there is a lot not in my control. So we are scrambling to ensure that we are ready on the design side when things are needed.
What Stage Of The Renovation Process Are You In Now?
We have demo’d and are currently in a holding pattern. We have all our “plans” done – meaning, engineering, structural, plumbing, electrical, foundation, etc. ARCIFORM is EXTREMELY on it, professional, and organized. It’s been as stress-free as it possibly can be when doing a renovation of this size. I feel so supported and just so grateful. We submitted for permits a few weeks ago and are now just waiting for the green light. The house has been demo’d as you’ve seen and as soon as we get approved we will blast into framing, rough plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and all the stuff inside the walls. So it’s our job to make sure we have everything on-site when the walls can finally get closed and everything can be put on top – i.e. cabinets, tile, flooring, light fixtures, etc. We are working on elevations for every room, tile selections, and just the details that will make it special. We are this close to finishing our window package (we have some custom windows I’m VERY excited about all via Sierra Pacific) and we are also almost done with our entire lighting and plumbing orders – I can’t WAIT to show you. My head still hurts sometimes but so much less because of having Anne, Stephyn, Adam, Jamie, and Marty working behind the scenes to execute and support. Also when I do get stressed I remind myself that while what I do is intellectually stressful, renovating is an absolute privilege.
It’s all super exciting, with so much to look forward to and I feel so lucky to be in the position. The unknowns of this move will all work themselves out or not. And everything will be ok, or maybe it won’t for a while because maybe we have a lot to learn and the Universe wants to challenge us in new ways. WHO KNOWS. It’s another chapter of life and I’m personally very, VERY excited to see what happens in these next pages….. Hopefully it will be a super boring novel about friendship and community and family, with a heavy action scene of thrifting. So much drama in the years of thrifting yet to come. xx