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I lived abroad three times between the age of thirteen and twenty six. This first two times I lived in Switzerland, the second time I lived in Italy (I ended up staying in Italy for seven years!!). These experiences were extremely formative ones. One of my favorite things about living abroad was that each weekend provided an opportunity to hop on a train and visit a new city, state (or Canton or region, as is the case in Switzerland and Italy respectively) or country, immerse myself in something totally new and mix up my routine. I would hop on a train to visit a flea market I heard great things about and stay for the weekend. I’d paint or read a book on the trains, meet new people, try new restaurants etc. I didn’t even have a phone for most of these adventures. It’s crazy to think that now. I didn’t think of myself as all that brave or adventurous — it just felt normal! I would zip up to Milan for an art show, or even to London to window shop and check out new trends.

Since I’ve been back in the U.S. I’ve tried to hold on to that spirit: the spirit of adventure — even though my current destinations don’t feel as glamorous as Milan or London, I do like to go on day trips where I let myself get off course and just see where the day takes me. Some of these day trips may be to a nearby city, but sometimes it’s even in my own neighborhood, checking out a shop I’ve never walked into before and chatting with the folks working at the counter. Every time I let myself wander and mosey I get inspired and learn something new. It’s pretty amazing.

This weekend, my adventure didn’t take me all that far, but I made my way into a shop I’ve passed by maybe 100 times. It’s next door to my local Home Depot store, so literally every time I visit my local Home Depot I see it. The facade of the store isn’t super enticing and so I had just never stepped outside my regular routine to step inside and take a look. Once I walked into United Tile and Stone my jaw was on the floor. The selection of tile was one of the best I’ve ever seen all in one place. It was crazy inspiring. It was a great reminder to take little detours throughout the day, because you never know what door inspiration hides behind. Also, as much as I love the convenience of shopping online, it’s still SO NICE to walk into a brick and mortar shop where you can feel the tile, knock on it, see what the colors look like in person and compare and contrast with different materials and finishes. And besides the functional aspects of it — it’s fun and it lights me up.


Also, while I was on no trains this weekend, I did carve out some time to pain — here are the two new pieces that I painted:

Happy Monday friends! Hope you get to go on some adventures (large and small!) this week!

Alternative TextJustina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

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