June 3rd, 2012

Hey, June


It’s a new month, so, in keeping with my mission of rebirth, I’m embracing the new. I’m wearing a Nars lipstick called New Lover. My nails are painted a new peachy orange, Chanel’s June color-of-the month. I’m exploring new coffeeshops in town (J’adore & bonne chance, Frothy Monkey; Hava Java, you know I’ll never quit you). But most importantly, Brother Mikey (as he’s listed in my phone) has adopted 2 new baby brother kittens.


Welcome to June, new friends. I’m not quite ready to embrace an “out with the old” philosophy, but I will, at the very least, find room in my heart and my wardrobe for “the new.”

Posted at 6:12 pm by rachel in: After Wonderland

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May 31st, 2012

The Memorials


Dear friends:

Yes, I’m still sad. Yes, Memorial Day weekend was supposed to be about forces bigger than me and the sacrifices made. And yes, I think about those things. But I also think about the moment I find myself stuck in. It seems, dear friends, that I’m having trouble letting go and moving on. Much of that has to do with the loss of my little Miu Miu, but I’m also struggling with my departure from wonderland in general.

I’ve made a new home for myself with giant white walls and blank canvases. However, much to my dismay, the movers delivered roughly 100 boxes of memories. I’m literally wearing my memories all over my body. The shiny objects that used to distract and delight are now reminders of a life I’ve left behind.


As I try to make it through unpacking each box, I’m overwhelmed by my inability to say goodbye.

I thought this would be easier. I clicked my sparkly red heels, I defeated the Queen, I drank the potion. But it didn’t work. Sometimes fairytales aren’t that simple. Sometimes the superheroes have to do a little bit of grunt work. Even Clark Kent had to find a phone booth and do an ordinary costume change. So, perhaps the only way for this Alice to get out of her hole is to climb out the old-fashioned way, step by disarming step.

So, Nashville, I know you like when I write you love letters. And I do love you. You were there for the journey. You even witnessed my Felicity moment (the one where I cut off all my hair, not where I traveled back in time due to an extended season, although these days I wonder if I wouldn’t welcome that). Yes, we’ve shared a lot, and yes, I’ve dropped many a token of affection your way. But I need to let you go. I need to sing my own song.

Truth: I am not ready to let go. I am not ready to break my time in wonderland into pieces and spice them into this next chapter of my life. But the damage has already been done. The new chapter is already writing itself. I can either hide in this rabbit hole, or I can pick up a pen. A slow, unsteady, deliberate, calculated, luminous pen.

Posted at 5:03 pm by rachel in: After Wonderland


May 18th, 2012



Dear friends & fellow travelers:

My heart is heavy, and it’s time to share why. I have stories to tell you about wisdom teeth woes and adventures in Mexico. And eventually I will tell those. For now, though, I need to explain why I’ve fallen silent, why I couldn’t find the words, why I’m taking a moment.

For all these years, I’ve shared my life and my dreams with you, but very few of you know that I’ve done so with 2 pets by my side. I used to think that to admit to having and caring about cats made me seem weak, sentimental, and, because of cat lady stereotypes, crazy. So, they were my little secret support system. If you knew that I had 2 cats, you were very much in my intimate inner circle. And if you made it into that circle, you know how dear and important they were to me. You know that I tried to downplay their significance by telling stories about how I only rescued them to ward off the mice in my terrible Hell’s Kitchen apartment 10 years ago. But you could see through that. You could see that the 10-year journey had been rocky and that my Miu Miu and Grace had been there through each character twist and path turn. And you could see that my Nashville life was dedicated to 2L bunnies and to 2 cats, tucked neatly into an Icon oasis of lavender Mitchell Gold sofas and turquoise walls. On January 13, I turned in my keys to the 2L wonderland. On May 12, I said goodbye to my Miu Miu, my silent partner, my comfort through the storm, my heart.

As many of you know, we chose Phoenix for health and family. My lil Becca flew home with me to move the cats in with my brother Mikey while I plotted my next move. Mikey gave them a better home and more tender care than I ever could have hoped for, so I figured I had some time to explore. I then became consumed with wisdom teeth recovery, and Miu Miu, we now know, became consumed with cancer. The vet gave us antibiotics for a bladder infection, and, assuming we were both experiencing separation anxiety, I made it my mission to find us an apartment and bring our family back together. And I did. A week ago right now, Miu Miu, Grace, and I shared one perfect night together in our new apartment, one night that made me believe that we had found our way back to stable, that life would be ok again, that all would be mended, and that health and happiness were on the horizon. I saw what I wanted to see. I saw that Grace was playing while I made dinner to the sound of  Chelsea Lately in the background. I saw that Miu Miu was with us. I didn’t see that she was sprawled out on the white shag rug in pain. By Saturday morning, she couldn’t walk, and her organs were shutting down. My mom, Mikey, and I rushed her to the emergency hospital. We gathered around and said our goodbyes. We petted her. She purred. I whispered in her fallen ears that she could go, that I would be ok. And, as I did every night, I assured her that she had my heart.

So, dear friends, it seems that the proverbial cat is out of the bag. You now know my secret: I care. I loved, and I lost. And now I’m sad. But fear not; I am not too sad to see the subtext. As her final guiding act, she made me write again. She gave me a story that was too important to go untold. She gave me 10 years of support, and now she’s made me talk about it. She is my Cheshire Cat.

Posted at 11:11 pm by rachel in: After Wonderland

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April 22nd, 2012

While I Was Sleeping


Dear friends:

Two weeks ago, I had my wisdom teeth removed, and I’ve been in recovery ever since. Witty plays on the notion of wisdom will most likely ensue, but for now, I’ll just leave you with this little bit that happened while I was out. My ever-talented brother caught some national attention when Apartment Therapy featured his LA loft. We love the space, love the site, and love the positive feedback. Plus, we all got more than a little misty-eyed checking out the vintage Two Elle featured on his own site, www.daniellowe.com.

Posted at 8:03 pm by rachel in: After Wonderland, Interiors

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April 8th, 2012

The Loose Ends Are the Tightest


After a week in LA and a week of Adam’s Spring Break, this week Tweed Bunny and I started to unpack. Our belongings were all neatly housed in cardboard and spread throughout the abandoned home bedrooms of Danny and Mikey, but slowly they must find a way out of the box and into a different organizational structure. Our first order of business was to build an office in Mikey’s room.

Unlike packing, the unpacking process has very few surprises. While packing, for instance, I discovered that I own enough pens (and markers/crayons?) to last me a lifetime. If you ever spot me purchasing a pen or highlighter or file folder, please intervene. I also found forgotten treasures that I chose NOT to discard in the packing process. There was a first generation “small” pink ipod and both a DVD and VHS copy of The Last Unicorn. Those made it into the cardboard.

With these finds unearthed, I figured the unpacking process would be boring. I put the books from the “more likely to read” box on the shelf, I set up all the Missoni/Liberty for Target file boxes, and I placed the printer/copier on a pile of boxes deemed less important (#makeshift #notglam). And because life seems to go on even after you leave Wonderland, I got to work……until I had to make a photocopy.

There it was: the surprise, the reminder that as hard as you try to pack life away in a box, it’ll still sneak back in.

Nearly a year ago, as I was preparing for the wedding of my little Amanda (known as Mandi Roo in most parts of this website), I designed shirts (and an entire lingerie line) for her, Ryan, and all the bridesmaids featuring this drawing from one of their engagement photos. Apparently, the sketch remained in the copier. Its image had traveled to Chattanooga for the wedding, to Chicago with Amanda & Ryan, and now home with me to Arizona. It wasn’t in its place, tucked into a box of memories; it was right there, staring at me while I tried to cancel our store ASCAP account.

I had thought that starting a new life would involve a lot of bells and whistles. There would be giant going away parties and tearful goodbyes. There would be parades in my honor and video montages capturing the moments meant to cherish. But there weren’t. It happened quietly and quickly. There were a couple text messages and more than a few “where are you?” Facebook wall posts. My Nashville life and all that came with it took nearly 7 years to build, and then within a week the condo was sold, the movers had come, and Tweed Bunny was procured as the in-flight companion. It was over.

Over……but I never said goodbye. I left it all open and unanswered. I didn’t know where I was going, so I didn’t know how to say that I was going at all. With the exception of the necessary business or financial matters, everything was left as  a loose end. Only little Becca got an actual goodbye hug, but if it’s all the same, I’d like to consider that more loose than final. So, maybe, just maybe, that’s why I didn’t tie up the loose ends. I wanted to keep them free and untied. I wanted the questions to remain unanswered and alive. I knew that time and distance mean very little today; Roo & Ryan with their balloons are just as present today as they were a year ago, literally. Most things, for me, are too important to pack away in cardboard. I like to hold on tight.

And speaking of the family that I wouldn’t say goodbye to, it’s Passover, which makes me miss Jenny, David, Sydney, and Zoe (It’s family order, Zoe; I know you want to be first!). They’ve been my Passover buddies for years, and I know that if this were a year ago, they’d be popping in on their way to Whole Foods today. I’m sorry I never got to sit at your seder table. Can I come to the bat-mitzvah instead?

Posted at 5:05 pm by rachel in: After Wonderland

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