Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Lowdown on High-Rise Living

If I were a car, I’d definitely be sporting one of those Life is Good stickers. In three short months, living at Park and Market has shifted my sense of space, place and time.

When I decided to stop commuting to North Hills, I didn’t know just how dusty a car could get from sitting still or that I would be late for appointments because I didn’t include time for going home to get my car. Then there was the day I brought the car to work and wrote myself a note so I wouldn’t forget to take it home.

Life IS good! Not just because it’s high-rise but because I’m living in the middle of North Hills.

Convenience is half the story. Of course it’s convenient to have a 24/7 Harris Teeter grocery store in your basement – really, an elevator ride to ground level but I like to tell my friends I am going to the basement for a gallon of milk. Or seeing Zoes Kitchen outside my living room doors, and then deciding to call downstairs to order a hummus salad plate for dinner.

Maybe for you convenience would be the incredibly beautiful pool built on top of the grocery store, having a workout room on-site, a clubroom with tons of amenities, greenway paths close by, maybe too many good restaurants (when does walking start to cancel out the eating?) or a built in social calendar.

I still get a kick from making a Saturday list and having it turn out nothing like I planned because I got sidetracked at the Farmers Market buying a painting, or stunning vegetables that beg to be cooked right then, or sitting down to lunch with a new friend at Vivace and getting up 4 hours later with so much not yet said.

That’s really it, you know, not the conveniences but coming together with people I would never otherwise have met. I find the most interesting conversations happen when I stop to admire someone’s dog, wait for the elevator, or slip out into the early morning for a walk and find that many of my neighbors are already out there doing the same thing.

It’s the same sense of community I feel as I get to know people at Starbucks where I stop in twice a day, at Brothers Cleaners where everyone does know your name, Ethan Allen where I bought my new bed, shops where I’ve bought summer clothes or gotten a makeover, and even the fellow at Target who said his wife tells him what to do on the weekends, then laughed and pointed for there she was, waiting for his shift to end. Pretty soon it spills over and when I feel a tap on my shoulder at the market, it’s Fiquet Bailey, owner of Luxe Apothecary, now a friend who tells me of her plans for the day.

So while it may be living high that brought me here, the lowdown is it’s the neighbors in the "hood” that make Park and Market home.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Remodeling Made Easy

Recently, I went on a coaching expedition with my young friend who eats, sleeps, and breathes fashion. She has a knack for blending the readily accessible with the rare find, for adding a touch of color or an unusual accessory, and making it all seem easy and natural. Turns out she has some coaches of her own.

Fiquet Bailey, owner of Luxe Apothecary, is a makeup artist who simply loves to help others find their best look, one that fits their lifestyle. Her approach is low key and genuinely about building relationships whether working with runway models, fashion photographers, bridal parties, or someone new to the neighborhood who doesn’t wear much makeup. Her shop is cool and inviting, the walls filled with products not just for women but for men too. I felt at home as we chatted, and surprised, really, how easy it can be to try a new thing or two that makes an immediate difference in how you feel about yourself.

I don’t know if it’s the new look – thank you, Fiquet – or the new life – thank you, Park and Market – but lately everyone I know seems to be taking a second look, commenting and complimenting. Sometimes we don’t really know what life holds in store for us until we take the first step.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Coffee on the Brain?

Talk about waking up on the other side of the bed… this morning my eyes caught this title in the online news, Nervous About Alzheimer’s? Coffee May Help.

I am a die-hard Starbucks fan, no two ways about it, and take a lot of good-natured kidding around the office including being given a Princess wand for being too good to drink the office coffee, and from those who question my sanity for drinking hot coffee on a hot day.

Recent studies indicate that if we want to protect our brains from developing Alzheimer’s later in life, we should be more passionate about drinking coffee now. Not just a timid cup or two, but five cups a day, or about 500 mg of caffeine.

Talk about good timing… just when I have science on my side, I’m living at Park and Market where the options for a new coffee stop or two are lining up right outside my front door.

Back to protecting your brain… researchers also say it takes more than coffee. If you want to learn more, be sure to try Brain Games on the back side of Bruegger’s Patio every Wednesday morning from 9:00 to 10:00.