The Loveliest Things: Lauren Tien
1. First Garden Blooms
“However many years she lived, [she] always felt that she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow.” This quote from The Secret Garden couldn’t speak more truth about those first experiences with gardening. That moment when your garden begins to show its first signs of life is unlike any other. After time spent tilling the soil, pulling weeds, carefully placing seeds, and planting with hopes that one day your garden will in fact grow, the moment life shows up is so fulfilling. This past spring I planted my very first garden, and I will never forget the hints of green sprouting from the earth. My mouth will always remember the first taste of that juicy tomato and that homemade pizza with basil straight from my yard. Each morning, watering the soil and waiting patiently, earnestly—then finally, seeing my garden grow—I should never forget it.
The smell of sawdust, there is something about it. Walking into a lumber store, past piles of wood and endless possibilities, makes my heart go thump thump. And more than the smell, to me, sawdust symbolizes “I made it from scratch”, craftsmanship, hard work, concentration, planning and using the best set of tools—your hands—to create. There’s just something about sawdust.
3. Snail Mail
Maybe it is my love for the traditional, or my love of the written word, but sending a piece of one’s heart through post, over land and sea, to meet a mailbox, a doorstep—and then that pause, before the envelope’s torn, the letter unfolded, the words read, and the great distance travelled to find the recipient—this whole process, its nostalgic, isn’t it? Hand written letters, now novel in our world of quick response communication, reaches a part of one’s soul that no other way knows how. Pen to paper, paper to envelope, envelope to post—this is why snail mail is one of the loveliest things.
Time spent underwater is where my most intimate thoughts are thought, my triumphs as an athlete are captured, and my place of restoration is found. The sport has been in my life, always—and I never plan for that to change. Lap upon lap, stroke upon stroke, swimming is a place where I’ll always be working towards betterment. And that type of perspective, to always work improve and strive for greatness, translates from the pool directly into my life. I am a water girl, through and through, and time in the pool is where I am the most me—the most confident, the most skilled, the most refined, and the most diligent. It’s where I meet the Lord. It’s where I meet myself. And for that, I am so thankful.
5. Flea Markets
My dad taught me the art of braving the flea. He instilled in me a love for the old, the rusty, for those things with peeling paint and a history. He taught me how to up-cycle, repurpose, and incorporate vintage into modern day living. As a little girl, going to work with my dad often meant roaming prop shops, digging through flea market piles, and learning the skills of how to be thrifty. Summer afternoons at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market, with lemonade and sun-kissed cheeks, are some of my favorite memories with my dad. And anytime I am in a thrift store or hunting through a garage sale, rummaging through treasures of old, I can’t help but think of him and be so grateful for this gift he gave me: the art of braving the thrift.
Lauren lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and pound pup. She is a California native who loves the water, fish tacos, sunshine and heart to hearts. She writes about design, DIY, travel, simple & intentional living, and other bits of lovely over at her blog Pearls Poppies Pinkies Up. You can also find Lauren writing for Darling Magazine. When she is not writing, Lauren is working with children, teachers, and homeless women in Denver—passionately working to instill purpose and intentionality with those she meets. You can follow Lauren on Instagram @lauren_tien.