I'm Not In Kansas Anymore. . .

Now I know why Dorothy was clicking her heels together saying" There's No Place Like Home."
Because she must have gone to MARY CAROL GARRITY'S OPEN HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Went, Everyone!!!!!!!!!  Okay, so sit back and get ready cause this is going to be a long post.  Complete with photos and play by play details.  Ready!
I had one of the best experiences ever thanks to my husband and the Gorgeous Ladies from ATCHISON KANSAS.
Okay so for those of you that are not in my loop . . .  (hee, i'm lucky if 4 people read my lil blog) Anyway, l was able to go, thanks to my amazing husband, go to the mecca of all meccas, the birthplace and home of my number one favorite designer and author, Mary Carol Garrity.  Funny one of our dear friends who lives in Los Angeles and checks my blog from time to time told me "Why are you going to Kansas?"  And I mentioned her name and she said, "Oh yes the woman you blog about all the time."  I thought it was funny.  Anyway, along with the surprise of my trip I had to deal with a very important factor that usually prevents me from taking trips.  The fact that "I AM TERRIFIED OF FLYING."
So needless to say, this was a major feat for me.  I used to fly all the time.  I even flew with my son who was 7 at the time by myself to London to see my husband when he was shooting a commercial there.  I don't know where that girl went or who she was but I want her back.  Now I'm 45, two sons of 21 and 15 and I think why can't I be fearless.  Anywho, lets continue.
Okay so I must confess my two flights (by the way for someone who never flies to have 2 flights in the same day is absolutely torture.) were peaceful ones with very little turbulence.  I found it easier to look out the window and see when we were near clouds there was turbulence and when we were over or under it stopped.  I understood that but I still felt the extreme, chest tightness and palpitations.
Okay so as soon as we got off the plane this is the first thing I saw.
For someone from the north east, one is not used to these signs and places.  It was so odd to me to see that.  Although in the past two years Newtown PA has gotten many tornado warnings but never anything major and I've never actually seen one.

We got in our Hertz rental car in Kansas City Missouri and drove 48 or so miles into Atchison, Kansas.

The landscape was very pretty, flat and green and so many corn fields.  I live across the road from a corn field and thought Newtown had a lot, there were alot.  I loved that every where you looked along the highway there were lovely yellow sunflowers.  Hundreds of them.  Although you can't see them here.  I was trying to take photos while I was driving.
So we get to Nell Hill's store (one of three) in Atchison and I felt like when I used to take my boys to toys r us when they were little and all they did was squirm in there pants excited and dance around through the aisles not knowing what to do first.  That was me.  
I didn't want to start looking in the stores because I wanted to go see Mary Carol first and her home more than anything.  I thought to myself, if I go to the stores I'm gonna start shopping and go crazy and not be able to focus and I want to get to her house first.  My husband said "why don't you peek first and I'll wait here and tell you when the bus comes and we can really look after."  He had a few phone calls he had to deal with from work.  After all he took the day off to escort me to a all women's field day. Poor guy.
So I peek and the minute I walked in I walked right back out.  Thought "no way!"  I can't handle that now.  And there are three stores mind you."
So we waited for the bus which was about a five minute wait.  Lovely driver who was very kind, but then again everyone is kind in Kansas.  
We got on the bus and I sat in the second seat.  Only because the first seat was taken.  Rob looked at me and smiled and said "okay now don't make a big deal when you get there okay.  Don't tell everyone that we flew all the way here.  Don't make a scene."
Okay so you have to know this about my husband before I continue.  He is an introvert with a capital I.  What's ironic is he's a successful film producer and and film production company owner.  Moxie Pictures.  He is used to traveling all over the world.  He has offices in NYC, LA, London and is constantly speaking to lots of people.  
He hates making any kind of scene.  Isn't that funny.  Now he was referring to the past week where I had blogged about Mary Carol and my possible trip and my fears and I had sent the link to Mary on her facebook page.  A day later I received so many wonderful well wishes and prayers from wonderful Nell Hill fans telling me all would be okay, please go and blog about the trip.  
Little did i know that anyone would remember.  

Be still my heart!  So we pull up to the home and there it was.  On a hill in the sunlight and partial shade.  I could hear the violins in my head and the angels singing as I approached her steps.  And yes!  There were the lanterns I saw in her post all decorated for Autumn and welcoming us in.
Now, I have always known that when one visits a home it is a polite gesture to bring a hostess gift.  My mother taught me that and I always have in the past.  So why wouldn't I do it now.  A week before I searched and thought to death, "What can I get a Lady who epitomizes style and has created the most beautiful home environment?  I don't know!!!!!!  Ahhhhh!  Think about it.  I wasn't going to get her something for her home.  Duh!!!!  Then I remembered one of my favorite little shops in Newtown.  David J.Witchell Salon has a second floor where the owner has lovely items that are one of a kind. I have bought dresses and accessories from her in the past.  I went last week and looked at her beautiful things.  I love shawls and wraps, always and have bought a few from her.  I glanced at a table with lovely beaded ones and I thought of Mary Carol and the times I've seen her photographed with a pashmina or a shawl and thought "she must like them too."  Little did I know she absolutely loved them as much as I do.  (Great minds think alike.)
So I purchased a beautiful chocolate velvety one with small black beading.  
I had forgotten to buy a sweet little bag to put it in until the last minute the night before my trip.  I couldn't do anything about it but put it in a small simple plain white bag. 
Well Rob knew I had it in my bag and I think it made him nervous that I might make some kind of "Lucy" scene (I love Lucy)  Often I feel like Lucy and Ricky when it comes to us.
Anyway he said "You might not even see her.  There's a lot of women, so don't get upset if you don't see her."
Well I'm thinking, yeah that's a possibility but if I know Mary Carol, she will be there.  After reading all her books and knowing them verbatim, her hints, her style, how she loves to meet and greet her guests at the door, why would this be any different.  
Yeahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!  I was right!  (Please excuse how I look.  Why did I wear that blouse that got so wrinkled with me squirming on the plane, and my hair frizzed to oblivion as soon as I got off the plane.  I had to put it in a clip.  Can you see my eyes, I didn't sleep well because I was a mess about the flight)
But there she was, She is so thin and lovely and young looking and absolutely gracious and beautiful.  There is my pathetic little bag.  
So when I climbed up the stairs and followed the line of women (by the way my husband, one of two men and hundreds of women) all of a sudden we hear this lovely voice saying "Welcome to my Home"
She came out and we all smiled like the fans that we all are.  She actually greeted everyone personally that came through her door.  Wow!
So I said "Hi Mary Carol, I never visit a home without bringing a hostess gift."  She was so happy and kind of shocked that I had something for her.  She immediately grabbed it and I said "please excuse the bag, it is a mess, I had it in my purse for the entire plane ride."
TA TA TA TUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So that's when Mary Carol said, 
"Oh my Gosh are you Lisa from Pa?"  Suddenly another lovely lady walked from the foyer onto the porch and yelled "Is that Philadelphia?  Is she here?"
OMG!  I felt like a celebrity.  I can't tell you how it made me feel to know that Mary Carol said that and that her lovely friend greeted me that way.  Well simultaneously both of the women hugged me and greeted me, congratulated me for getting on the plane and made me feel so welcome.  Then they greeted Rob and thanked him for bringing me.  For someone who hates scenes, he was blushing and extremely happy at the attention.
Here I am in Mary Carol's exquisite Foyer that has been photographed in all her lovely books.
Then the lovely lady whom I feel terrible because I forgot her name, grabbed Rob, who hates taking photos, and took this photo of us.  I love it.  
I couldn't believe I was there.  I had seen these rooms in the books for so long and now I was standing in them.  (Okay I'll be quiet for a bit and post just photos and then I'll continue)

One of my favorite spots, if I lived here.

Lovely powder room

This little tree was where it all started for me.  When my friend Lisa showed me the christmas book where this little tree is featured.  Lovely!

I'm so bummed, my photo of her kitchen came out without light.  I didn't see it until after I had left.  But you fans, know from the books what her kitchen looks like, it's just like that.  Beautiful!

Look how sweet the tree looks from the other side of the dinning room.  This is the walkway to the sunroom and out door patio.

 Love her sconces.
Here is Mary Carol opening the gift I gave her.  She told me to come back around and meet her before I left because she wanted to open it with me there.  How sweet is that!  Miss Manners Award goes to. . . 

She's holding up the shawl but you can't see it.  It was too dark.  But I can't complain two photos with Mrs. Garrity.  Yeah!!!!!!!!!

Okay so after the house tour, we went to the stores.  I first went into NEll Hill (mostly Christmas) Unfortunately I couldn't take photos, the amount of women that were in the store was alarming. I couldn't have taken a photo if I tried.  But it was beautiful and filled with Christmas spectacular ideas.  My favorite!
This is her second store which is on the same street.  Garrity galore!  This was Fall and Halloween and lovely furniture.  There is a table there I want to get.  Note to self:  Call Monday

Okay so if you don't know already LANTERS ARE THE NEW BLACK!!!!!!!!!
LANTERNS LANTERNS AND MORE LANTERNS.  I bought two of these amazing flat lanterns that you can put on the windows and walls and doors.  

This is the front of the Nell Hill Store that has the Christmas decor.
 Now when I was leaving Mary Carol's home Rob and I went back to say goodbye and Mary Carol said "please don't leave until you go to the Briarcliff store" It was 12 miles from the airport.  We had some time to kill before our next flight and we were planning on getting a bite to eat.  OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!
What was I thinking?  Did I think that seeing Nell Hill's two stores in Atchison was it?  Was I overwhelmed at the amount of decor and beauty I saw?    No way.  Oh my stars!  This was incredible.  It was huge, enormous, gigantic.  It's like a double decker Ethan Allen and then some.   Rob looked at me as we pulled up to Briarcliff Village and saw this massive building with the name Nell Hill on it.  I almost screamed!  So Take A Look!

 This looks just like my Wally, A king Charles Cavelier.

I bought those lanterns that are above the mantle.

To Die For!

My Love For Gingham is overflowing.  I have a lavender gingham chair in my kitchen.

View from above, the upstairs looking down.

At the end I left like content to have seen so much beauty.  There were no words to describe how fun and beautiful and creative and inspiring my day was.  Thanks to my husband, Mary Carol, the pilot and God.  I am humbled each and every day by the blessings he has given me.  


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the pictures of Mary Carol's open house.

I am so happy that you made the trip to KC.

BB said...

I love your story. My sister, her daughter, DIL, and I went to Mary Carol's open house on Saturday. Mary Carol's house is way more than AMAZING, and she is so kind and gracious.

Unlike you, I just discovered Nell Hill's and Mary Carol, but I also am inspired by her taste and talent.

I enjoyed your photos. I took several on Saturday and will be posting them soon on my blog.

I'm glad you had the courage to go.

rtalberts said...

I just found your blog. My husband and I drove to Kansas (from MN) just to go to the open house, and I was glad I could tell him someone FLEW in just to go to it!! :)

We didn't get to the store in Kansas City (next time!), so it's great to see your pictures! Very nice. Glad you were able to make it and that you had such a good time.

Susan@besusan.com said...

Wow! that post alone was a labor of love! So glad you made the trip and you were able to tour your idol's home. What fun.

I see Mary Carol has caught on to black doors! Yea. I recognized many things in her home that I own, and many that I have had over the years in my store.

Does she keep some Christmas up all year round in her home? Does she really live there, or is it a home that she owns and just opens it during certain times?

Your trip sounds like a dream come true indeed, and you have the most adoring and perfect husband.

I'm happy for you. Welcome back to earth!

dee said...

I left a post regarding Mary Carol's on the wrong blog, hope you find it, it was all about another fav store that I know you would love to see some day. Look for it as it has the name of the store and all, too lazy to re-do the whole thing

Beeutiful by Design said...

Oh I'm so jealous! I'm so glad you had a good time - I bet you remember it forever. Is everything in the pictures at the stores for sale, I would assume it is but it's all so divine :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo happy for you! I hope it was everything you hoped it would be! Your stories are so funny, I was LOL. Other than the lanterns, any other purchases? If so, how did you get them back with you on the plane? The ladies at NH, along with MC, are so sweet. I'm glad you got to meet them. I'm sure she loved your gift. How nice of you, your mother raised you right!

Someone asked if she really "lives" there. Yes she does.


Karla said...

Thank you for posting all those great pictures! I live in Kansas City & was unable to attend Mary's open house - I have gone several other times and it's always so inspiring! So glad you made it to the Briarcliff store. I work only 5 minutes from there, so I ususally go there on my lunch hours on Fridays. Her shops in Atchison are such a zoo on her open hous days!

Jaybird said...

You GO girl!!!!!! I am so glad that you went and had such a great time!
Did you call and get the table???
Blessings to you,

The Belle said...

I went to her Christmas Open House
last year. I had the same experience. I was absolutely giddy! Thrilled you got to go!

Dianne said...

On the way home from Atchison I realized my camera was on the BLINK, NO IMAGES! I was so disappointed until I found your blog and photos. Thanks, you made my day!

Lee said...

Anyone interested in seeing more photos click on Lynne's gifts from the heart, I have her blog on my blog list. She has great ones.
Thanks for your comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...