We’ve all have heard the expression, “home is where the heart is.” We’ve heard it in a Hallmark movie, probably have seen it on an inspirational quote magnet, or even read it on an embroidered pillow. All kidding aside, this post took me a bit to write because I often struggled with that saying. I mean, it seems straight to the point and honestly, it is in a way. My home, my heart, is with my husband and my kids, there’s no doubt about it; but, I definitely struggle with the fine print of that expression. I’ll tell you why. Location.
Miami was home for a long time, before it didn’t feel like home, then I moved to NY. That sense of home started growing and evolving in me once again. The city felt like home, every inch of it. Then I met Coco, and that feeling of home grew roots. When my grandparents passed, the little bit of “home” that I felt for Miami, had gone with them. Loss had become a common denominator with my hometown and I felt re-invigorated when I moved to the city. Soon we bought an apartment, got married, had a baby, and well, nothing felt more like home.
Years later, a move to Miami was imminent and I never felt more ‘home’-less in my life. I felt like I was uprooted from the home that I felt comfort in, only to be shaken up, and thrown back into a place where I had difficulty connecting to. Many would tell me “but you’re from here, this is home,” or “well, home is wherever coco and maya are remember that.” There was the guilt of also not automatically feeling these two sentiments right away. I was fixated on the cities, more so, what these cities brought me and what they meant to me and it was hard to let go (and still is) of NY; but little did I know that it was a blessing, or as I like to joke, a character building excercise.
I have worked hard to make Miami home again. I worked hard to rediscover and focus on what it gave me and who I became because of it, before I took flight to a new home. It’s always a part of me, and a part of my family, and my children. Learning to love this city again and to embrace it in a new light was a process for me, but I did it not just for myself, but for Coco and Maya, and ultimately Rocco. I am their home, their shelter and their protection, and I had unfinished business with Miami before I could 100% call it home again. NY will always be home too, but as as I tell Maya, how great that you have not one but two places you call home? That’s a gift.
It took me a few challenging years, but we’ve arrived! I’ve learned Home is not just the people you love, or the city you live in. Home is being at peace with yourself. It is rolling with the punches and taking on challenges and finding that calm that allows you to really be and feel at home within yourself- no matter where you are. (Miami ain’t too shabby, either!)
Now that we got those deep thoughts out of the way, let’s talk ‘home’ in the physical sense. No one can talk to me about space. I dare you to try! After living with my mom in an apartment before she passed and then in NYC shoeboxes for 13 years, I have become a pro at maximizing space and making our abode feel quite homey. Many people don’t know this, but when we moved back to Miami, we moved into our investment property we own in downtown- a big one bedroom apartment. You’re probably thinking, all of you in one bedroom? Oh yes, all of us- including three small dogs and Rocco when he was born, and guess what, it was doable and we survived. Yes, more space would have been optimal, but downsizing your living situation really puts into perspective how much stuff you really need and don’t need. Our closet was customized to fit all of our things. Space saving was our expertise and we made it work. Funny enough, Maya will still tell me that she misses our old apartment because she loved that we were all together in one room, and here I am thinking I was screwing them up by not giving them their own space.
Earlier this year, we finally moved to a two bedroom. We rented out our old space and found a great two bedroom in Midtown that suited all of us. We were so pumped for the kids to have their own room (I mean, adults needs space too. ha!), they were pumped and wanted bunk beds, and you’ll probably laugh when I tell you, that they still prefer to sleep with us than in their beds! One of the many things I love about this apartment, besides it’s dangerously close location to Target (as in, I can walk there), is the amount of light that we get. Ceiling to floor windows in the bedroom and living and dining makes this space so bright and lively! You automatically wake up happy when you’re getting all that Vitamin D!
Our apartment is a melting spot of eclectic pieces that have come from family (like old photographs and frames), flea markets, Target, Home Goods, CB2, Marshalls, Wayfair, Walmart, and even Rooms To Go! The old Cuba prints were from our NY apartment that have been in storage for the past six years. The frames on the wall have come from flea markets and thrift shops, and street vendors and photos have been replaced with old family photos from both Coco’s family and my family.
I had been dying to do wallpaper and once Coco gave the go ahead, I found these great palm print on amazon to cover the entry way and I absolutely love it! It’s easily my favorite part of the apartment. The kitchen reminded us of our old NYC kitchen with the black and white marble counter tops, and it’s so open and airy.
I love that our couch is bright orange and I didn’t think I would actually find one at Rooms To Go. It was very much us and it opens itself to be playful with both boho and mid century accessories! Lastly, the bedroom! Coco and I have our own bedroom after five years- it’s the little things people! I brought a lot of the OpalHouse collection from Target into our space because I love how rich, colorful, and lush it can be and I love mixing and matching colors, textures, and fabrics to make it pop against the grey wood furniture, also from Rooms to Go.
More importantly everyone, there are LIVE plants, yes, LIVE plants in the apartment and they are all still alive. Even a fake plant enthusiast like myself knows that this apartment is just begging for greenery and I’m happy to report that they are thriving and doing well. That’s adulting right there.
I hope you like my home and my post inspired you in some way, which begs me to ask, what does ‘home’ mean to you?