These days I follow a lot of blogs. As in I’m probably nearing about 200 on my reading list. Of course not all bloggers are created equal, so yes, I squeaked with glee last Friday when I realized the one-and only-Claire Nelson had been cranking out posts, while enjoying the summertime greenery in Portland Oregon. I adore Claire and my admiration goes way back to day one. We met on my first ever overnight trip to Smith College, through my gold key guide and her big sister, Jane. Back then we both had our eye on architecture. Claire was that confident Smithie you wanted to be and wanted to know. Even back then, Claire’s taste was impeccable, her sense of style so well-honed.
Rolling forward, we studied on the same architecture program 1 year apart (except Claire wisely jetted off to Paris, while I just took my licks at Columbia U and moved on). I think we did actually take one class together… Urban Sociology? I’m starting to feel old. Why are these details all turning up fuzzy? Post-Smith, Claire didn’t become an architect either, but moved to NYC, worked at Van Alen and stuck with her fierce commitment to the American city, eventually relocating to her husband’s hometown of Detroit. Everything Claire does seems effortless and full of grace…with just a tiny bit of an edge. She’s a brilliant designer (not praise I throw around lightly), a defender of urban life, a small business owner and most of all – a great story teller. This may be the skill I admire the most and I actually felt pretty darn smart when I convinced her to write copy for one of my web projects 5 or 6 years ago.
FINALLY, Claire’s begun blogging and in a sheer stroke of genius – she’s doing it while on sabbatical! She headed out to Portland to recharge her batteries, find some creative focus, eat better, look, listen and oh yeah, let’s not forget- write. I love that she’s sharing her thoughts and inspiration and an even more impressed that she has given herself the gift of time. Time to herself, time to focus on the things she loves and most importantly time to grow. When’s the last time you gave yourself 2 weeks, entirely on your own? I can confidently say my answer would be, NEVER. While I’m pondering this concept of sabbatical, feel free to catch up with Claire’s adventures at Summer Camp >