Can I just start by saying how much I love my friend Cindel? She and I met back in 2011 when we were working together at the University of Miami Alumni Center and instantly became best friends. She and I are polar opposites…literally. She is a Capricorn and I am a Cancer, making us opposite astrological signs, need I say more?
But in all seriousness, we developed a special bond that persisted despite my move to Tampa.
Last September when Hurricane Irma was headed straight to Miami, Cindel, Danny, and their baby girl Isla, sought refuge at our home in the outskirts of Tampa. The entire time they were here, Cindel was expressing how much she loved our house because it was “homey” – even though I think that was a euphemism for how messy it was! haha. One thing about Cindel, she is the queen of clean. When we worked together she used to come to my desk and organize it. Oh, oddly enough I miss those days… just a little. With my crazy boys, our house is rarely “neat” despite my every effort.
After a few days in Tampa, she and her family ended up heading back to Miami just short of the hurricane hitting when Irma took a sharp turn to the west and set its sights on my backyard. When Cindel returned home, she sent me a thank you gift (she also happens to be the most thoughtful person I know and I beat myself up for falling short in this area sometimes). Her gift was a handmade sign that said, “love grows best in houses just like this” that she bought from Etsy. When I called her up to thank her for the gift she reiterated that it was true! That even though my house wasn’t as neat as hers, it was a home and she loved that it was inviting and comfortable.
Nearly a year later, this past labor day weekend, it was our turn to visit them. I was so excited to see how their home had come together after a long and grueling renovation, because what renovation isn’t? I went through the entire process with her and Danny from the moment they started looking for homes after their wedding (which I also found myself giving Cindel too much advice about) to when they moved out and gutted their current home to renovate it entirely. I was invested and I found myself obsessed with the outcome! She – and Danny (credit where credit is due) – did an amazing job and I told her I had to do a mini photoshoot because I was so impressed with her work. The house was magazine ready, something mine rarely is. Although our preferences in decor and style are slightly different, they are also very similar. We both love pottery barn and restoration hardware, I just happen to be slightly bolder with my black and gold accent. I am not afraid of color, which she will admit that she is. Truth is, I love home renovation projects. I am a homebody and my home is my oasis. I could get lost in my home for days, even weeks if you let me. I have been known to spend hours watching home renovation projects because my secret wish is to do what Chip and Joanna Gaines do on the daily.
When Cindel was renovating her house, I was also building an addition onto mine. We spent countless hours bouncing ideas off one another and in the end, both our projects turned out beautifully. It was an anxiety-riddled time in our lives, but it was well worth it in the end. Seeing her home in person made me so happy for her and I just couldn’t wait to share it on here. Below are several pictures of our visit to Miami, including some when we went to my aunt’s house and all the cousins got to meet for the first time so don’t stop scrolling just shy of the baby pictures!
By the way, Cindel is launching a new Etsy shop called Redwood and Rose. She is handmaking baby blankets and teethers. They are gorgeous and you need to check them out! Here is her Instagram profile for sneak peeks. Her store hasn’t gone live just yet…