we’ve moved (again)!

moving has to be one of the most unsettling, stressful, and chaotic times in your life.  the good part about moving is the purge that happens every time. sometimes you purge because you’re forced to touch what you own and you realize how much stuff you don’t really need, and sometimes you purge because you’re just tired of packing stuff!   hopefully this will be the last move for a very long time!

the mornings in the new house have been my favorite. it’s quiet, the sunrises are incredible and the house feels calm. these first couple of days have been surreal – hard to believe that we really live here, and aren’t just on one of our fun vacations. 

while there is still a lot to unpack and organize, we are taking our time. not having a garage means that storing our outdoor stuff becomes more strategic. there are car ports, but they are open to all the friendly barn swallows and their babies, which means bird poop galore. creative (and covered) storage is on the list. 

with the kitchen remodel complete – that’s where I focused first and I have to say, I can’t wait for family and friends to join us in our kitchen! ​

so grateful for everything that has brought us to today….


the remodel continues…

we are halfway (I think). 

first let me say that watching HGTV is a terrible representation of what happens when you take on a remodel. things don’t go as smoothly as they show in their 60 minute episodes. things don’t stay on budget, and dealing with your contractor isn’t always smooth and easy. 

all of that to say that we are progressing, we are watching the budget closely and we are excited to be nearing completion so that we can move in. 

pictures below show:

  • the repainted interior – we are light and bright. it’s so clean and refreshing!
  • new carpet (in all bedrooms).
  • a few new light fixtures.
  • repainted the kitchen cabinets in two tones.
  • the new custom island – its huge, and we can’t wait to see our family and friends gathered around it. 
  • the beam feature we added to add some interest to our very high ceilings. 

the next update will include – the finished island with the installed  soapstone, and reclaimed barn wood. we will have the thick plank open shelves over the range hung, and newconcrete counters.

we’re almost there! 

​​xo – nat

valentine’s day

this year valentine’s day was the best I’ve ever had.  our dream to own a farm came true.  2/14/17 we signed papers, and make it official.  since then we’ve changed all the locks, slept in a tent in the master bedroom, taken the first dip in the pool, and started demo.

there wasn’t a lot to do to improve the house, but once we started making the list for little updates here and there, it became long really quick.  this is where my professional project management skills have been a huge benefit.

prioritizing our list, adjusting the budget, and adjusting the priorities over, and over, and over seems to be our initiation into home ownership.  M & I have both owned homes before, but for some reason this house feels completely different.  maybe it’s maturity, plus the fact that financially we are at different places in our lives than we were when we owned our first homes.  these two things have made our ability to make adjustments to this house a possibility – with limits!

outside of the remodeling priorities we have also been compiling the list of tools we need to maintain 10 acres, and the companies/resources that will help us take of our home. so far so good – we’ve got a great team in place, and a good list of “farm toys” that we will be acquiring over the next year. animals will come…in time

flowers!  that is the next thing on the list.  to get my hands in the dirt, and cultivate grown things.  I’ve done a bit of that at the rental house with some raised planting tables I bought right away (not knowing we’d be moving so soon).  I planted anemone bulbs and they’ve begun blooming.  It’s been a dream to have my own cutting garden, and a cutting garden I can eventually sell from.  I quickly realized that having an acre of cut flowers growing all summer and into the fall, I should also have some sort of flower arranging skill. so I signed up for a local workshop that will allow me to learn floral design basics 4 times this year (once each season).  Here’s the crazy part: the flower farm is 10 minutes from our farm – almost in direct line of us, just west!  so I’ve set up some time with the owner to do a “day on the farm” and hopefully she will serve as a mentor for me as I begin my flower farm journey.

Here’s a quick snap of the “before”…..once things start to take shape, I’ll be back with progress pictures.

xoxo, n.



wallum farm

established 2017.

it’s official.  we found a farm!  on new years day we drove to the property that had been listed 5 days prior, and we immediately called our realtor. it was a holiday, so there was no way we were going to be able to see the inside, or even go onto the property – but it was almost love at first sight for M and I both.

we went back the next day and couldn’t find a reason not to move forward.  this was not planned, it was much sooner than we thought it would happen, but sometimes when things present themselves you have to acknowledge and move forward.

we saw a few more properties, but nothing that stopped us from thinking about the farm with the WL in the gate. oh, I didn’t mention that this property already had our last name initials in the gate!  (kismet, the universe, meant to be…?)

one more visit a few days later, and a long talk with the seller who told us all about the history of the land as we walked the acreage. we really liked her energy, and we think she became pretty fond of us and our story.  we told her of our desire for a farm where our grandkids would make memories, where we could raise animals,  grow our own produce and tip toe into organic flower farming.

there is so much more to come, and as we get closer to closing the deal – we’ll share pictures and more details.  the story will unfold here and on the brand new @wallum_farm instagram account. follow us there!

the adventure has begun – and we’re ready!




two thousand and sixteen.

struggle, learn, network, grow, awaken, create, gather, reflect, intention, change, listen, heart, spiritual, healing, power, print, darkroom, need vs. want, gratitude, focus, social impact, loss, empowerment, reshape.

I started this blog by just putting down whatever words came to mind when thinking about this past year. they were written in no particular order, and I think they do a pretty good job of capturing the labor process of my 2016.

the year was pivotal. for me it was a year of preparation for a new beginning. it was also a hard year for most of us, a year of sadness, confusion, frustration and disbelief.  I think those things are the precursors to change as well.  there is something happening in this world, something coming, and my gut tells me that we will survive, we will be changed, and it will get better.

to pause and look back on this year, I am going to try to write one sentence for each word I’ve listed above. M isn’t mentioned specifically in any of my reflections, but he was an integral part of every one of them.

struggle: There was a heavy sense of discomfort in the biggest parts of my life that ultimately was my own struggle to work through.

learn: Learn and grow – they are interdependent, and this year I did a lot of both.

network: Living in San Francisco made creating a personal network of “super-guides” easy.

grow: The need for space that would allow me to grow personally, grow vegetables and flowers, and to prepare for future growth of my family was a huge driver this year.

awaken: When a veil is lifted from your eyes, you awaken to see the world in a different way.

create: Create a plan.

gather: I looked back, way back, to gather ideas for future photo shoots.

reflect: Take a moment each day to reflect on what presented itself and what lessons were provided.

intention: State your intention in the positive, as the universe hears the ask itself and not the part you “don’t want”.

change: Oh boy, change is exhilarating, and scary, and freeing, and hard.

listen: I learned this year that everything is here for us if we listen to our inner knowing.

heart: Place your hand on your heart, feel it beat, and know that you are alive and present in this moment.

spiritual: Becoming open to and aware of my own spiritual path was a giant step for me this year.

healing: Physical changes to my body, and the letting go things that were not mine to carry both required different types of healing time.

power:  The power to change the course of my life was within me, and it’s within you too.

print:  Making things tangible through print was a huge focus at the beginning of the year, and I can’t wait for the plans I’ve made to come to fruition.

darkroom: I spent a lot of time in the darkroom printing images from the last few years by creating my own digital negatives.

need vs. want: When conflicted, I learned to find clarity by journaling what I need vs. what I want – there is generally a big difference.

gratitude: The #gratefulproject2016* was my way to show and share my daily gratitude for the everything around me this year.

focus: In an image where everything is in focus it can be hard to see the details, so I chose to keep my aperture wide this year and focus only on a handful of things.

social impact: More than a year without Facebook, and the social impact of technology is still strong for me, but it is quieter, and curated to what I actually care about.

loss: There will always be loss, it is the balance of nature – but this year it was pervasive.

empower: Weird as it may seem, Beyonce’s “lemonade” empowered me and I think all women, to FEEL and express what they need when going through something with their partner. #notjealousorcrazy

reshape: this was the year of “realizing stuff”, and the year I was able to reshape my body, my relationship, my job and what the next phase of my life will focused on.


— it will be what we make it, so stay hopeful, stay positive, find your tribe and take steps to focus on what makes your heart sing. 

I want to say I am so proud of my kiddo’s for all they accomplished in 2016! it was a huge year for both of them, and I couldn’t be happier for what their futures hold.  cheers!

xo – nat

*#gratefulproject2016 can be reviewed on my instagram account: @tallienatt

the decision

so this next chapter didn’t come into existence over night.  there were many conversations (some heated, some not) about our quality of life in the city.  it had been over six years that we lived in our place, over six years of an hour plus commute each way to work, over one hundred six thousand miles on a car that was only 5 yrs old.  it began about a year ago, and got really intense after our return from christmas holiday in january. something was off.  we were out of sync, and totally at risk of losing each other.  it had been a year since I had been thrust into taking on expanded responsibilities at work which included wading through some of the dirtiest politics I’ve ever seen (actually I think we are all wading through the aftermath of some pretty dirty politics),  adding resources to my team, and managing the dynamics and challenges of very different personalities.  I wasn’t myself, I was unhappy at work, tired of the commute, feeling cramped and suffocated in our home, and creatively dead.  I created NO new work in 2016, none at all.  I needed space.  Space to think, to breath, stretch and create. I needed a new start, we needed a change, and we needed to figure it out quick.

in the spring of 2016 we began looking at places to live that would end the commute to the fruit.  we found a few – the same price (or a little more) for tiny bit more space but NO commute.  pulled the trigger on one, and I think the only reason we aren’t there now is the length of time it took the management company to let us know that we were approved.  they had our deposit for over 10 days with no word.  cancelled, refunded and back to feeling trapped in the city.

while living in seattle M and I spent time at Madison Grove Farm in Fall City WA.  M cleaned horse stalls, helped build a fence and worked a bulldozer/tracker like nobodies business.  he loved being around the animals, working hard and seeing the results. and knowing that what he was doing allowed the Farm to do even more of what it was there for – rehabilitating horses to work with kids who need an extra hug. He worked on the ranch at Motherwell, and keeps talking about going back to do a cattle drive! (sometimes I don’t this guy, and wonder what he’s done with M the city guy.)  I’ve always loved growing things, and the idea of being semi-self sufficient.  I’ve dreamt of flower gardens that keep my home full of fresh bouquets.  I’ve dreamt of a home big enough to comfortably entertain family and friends, and space for future grandchildren to safely run and play.  we’ve talked about it before.  daydreamed about how great it would be live in a  beautiful farmhouse like the couples that Chip and Joanna surprise at the end of “Fixer Upper”.  so I brought up the idea of us starting small, and creating  wallum farm.

when the south bay house fell through (or was cancelled by us) we brought back the notion of a farm.  we had no boundaries in thinking about how big it would be, what kind of animals we’d have – would we have animals, would we grow crops, would it become a full-time farm with employees, so many questions and ideas and options. we could really do anything we wanted, that was the beauty of it.  we had the ability to create our next chapter.  we all have that ability, we may just be to afraid to use it.

we also thought a lot about where we could make this happen.  of course we looked right where we were first.  any further north (Marin, Napa) wasn’t an option as it would just increase an already bad commute.  going south between the city and work (Woodside) we were priced out 100 times over.  south and west to the ocean, there were some options and A LOT of ocean front weather to deal with.  even further south in the mountains above santa cruz we found a historic home with a “just add animals” farm.  the mountain house is what we call it now, it needed special maintenance for the multiple water tanks , generators to be watched over to make sure they sustained things during power outages which there seemed to be quite a few, oil tanks to keep filled for heating the home, pruning of the fruit tree orchard, preparation for multiple snow falls over the winter.  the mountain house was much more than we knew what to do with, or were prepared to take on and it was millions (yes, with an s) of dollars.  once we realized that the real feel of the farm wanted was like the area we were priced out of, we began to contemplate places outside of california.  seattle came up, but we had just left there and still wanted to explore the world before returning.  we considered Hudson Valley NY for the home sizes, land opportunities, art community, and easy train ride into Manhattan.  NY has always been one of my favorite places, and to have it at my fingertips while also being able to have space and fresh air would be the best of both worlds. M is from NY and loves his city, and would love to go back at some point.  the winters are what killed Hudson Valley for us.  talking with friends, and knowing how hard the recent winters have been on the east coast moved us  to  consider the last 2 cities we each really liked.

for different and similar reasons M picked Nashville, and I picked Austin.  M had never been to Austin, and I had never been to Nashville. he loved to food, the music, the vibe of the city.  he took a trip for work and was shown some of the great things about Nashville which sold him.  because we both had only been to the places we had chosen, we decided to not make any decisions until we had visited each others city. during the recovery from my summer surgery we took a couple of days to tour Austin, and it’s surrounding farming neighborhoods.  we worked with F from Magnolia Reality (yes, the Fixer Upper Magnolia) and her husband O.  she kept the search radius within 30-40 minutes of downtown and found us over 20 properties to look at.  we picked our top 4 which happened to be well situated in each corner of austin.  we saw a house surrounded by corn fields, one with a good layout but just not enough land, one with a guest house and lots of oak trees that would need to be cleared, and one so nonimpressive – I can’t remember it. I was surprised at the options we had, and shocked by the prices.  for what we had been paying attention in SF, we could have been living in a palace. austin looked great, felt great, tasted great and had lots of opportunities in tech – and the prices were beyond right.  the city is growing – third fastest growing city in the country, which means if we are able to get property now it should only go up in value.

next on the trip list was Nashville, but when back in San Francisco we thought a lot about our time in Austin, and started figuring out when we could get to Nashville.  after a couple of weeks, we came to the conclusion that Austin was the better choice for both of us – so the trip to Nashville was postponed.  we will still go and check it out, but for wallum farm we set our focus on Austin, and set our timeline for February 2017.

September came with a surprise change in plans.  the owner of the condo we rented in San Francisco called us for the first time in the 6 years we rented from him to “talk with us”.  I immediately knew something was wrong.  he let us know that our 6 years of month to month renting from him was coming to an end.  he needed the place back for his mother-in-law who was moving to the city from Boston to help care for her grandkids.  her house was selling in 30 days, and legally he had to give us 60 days to move out.  a “no fault” eviction is what we were handed, and we took a week or so to figure out how to handle the adjustment.  options were to move twice within the Bay Area and keep the plan to move to Austin in February, or accelerate the Texas move.  after looking at Air BnB rentals for a 45 day stay we decided to just take the leap, and move early. this meant job options for me were now completely up in the air – but we had faith that everything would work out the way it was meant to as long as we stayed focused on where our hearts were taking us.

we returned to Austin in October with the intention of coming back to SF with an address.  we looked at the Rancho Bueno property (the one with the AMAZING kitchen) that had 5 bedrooms on 3 acres, and a few others that weren’t as interesting.  Rancho Bueno has been the first only property we’ve been the close to purchasing because it felt almost perfect, but without knowing the area it was in we couldn’t pull the trigger.  so back to our mission of securing an address. we found a brand new house in a brand new development to rent for less than a year.  done! so here we are – november 18th. the same moving company we moved to SF with was hired to pack us out, bikes shipped using a super cool app in SF called Shyp (they came to the house and picked up the bikes, packaged and shipped them), final cleaning, and turned over the keys.  we closed the door on our life in SF, and took a thirty six hour drive to the next phase.

the job, the house, the upstairs backyard all coming up. stay tuned….









beyond the fruit

from beans to fruit was a chapter I will forever be grateful for.  the fruit opened so many opportunities for me.  allowed me to travel the world, create memories with my family and children I would have never dreamed of being able to do and to grow in a way that I didn’t know I had the capability to grow.

the fruit has also come with its own set of challenges.  I mean lets face it – nothing is perfect.  to live in the heart of san francisco was an experience that I’ll always remember fondly.  to have the california st cable car right in front of your house, a 1-3 block walk to the fruits commuter bus stop, and anything you can think you might want only a few clicks away – and deliverable to your door.  living in silicon valley is for sure like living in the future among the entitled and privileged twenty=something new money millionaires.  and the desire to live among young genius minds comes at a cost.  the cost of your perspective on how the rest of the country and world actually live.  the cost of having adequate square footage for your friends and family to spend an extended period of time with you.  the cost of simply living the life you dream of.   if there had been anyway to make our next chapter happen in the Bay Area – we would have done it in a heartbeat.  even with two great salaries there was no way we could afford to do what we are embarking on.  so we say goodbye to our way too small, but perfect apartment in the city with parking.  we say goodbye to midnight drives to the ocean to sit and listen to the waves crash in the dark.  we say goodbye to friends who have become family, to the network of amazing people we created to keep us sane, coiffed, centered & grounded, and full of amazing food/booze.  we say goodbye to the one hour drive to some of the best wines in the world over one of the most iconic bridges in the world.  we say goodbye to our neighborhood sushi restaurant, our dry cleaners who always greeted us with the biggest smiles and the most positive energy, to everyone at our hardware store who came to the rescue with options and solutions when we needed them.  we say goodbye to medical providers who take their relationship with their patients seriously, and support alternative methods of care. we say goodbye the neighbors in our building – the smiles and hello’s in the elevator, the welcoming of new puppies and babies, and the eye rolls when the new 22 yr old renter has an all night party.   we say goodbye to so many things connected to our life in San Francisco, but we know we can always go back for visits and act like the tourists that stick out like sore thumbs!  those experiences brought us to today, taught us what we needed to know about ourselves and each other in preparation for what’s next…from the fruit to honey & eggs & seeds & cheese & flowers & veggies.

I will become active here on S3A again, documenting our triumphs and tribulations, how we continue to learn and grow together, and on our own through this experience.  I don’t think I’ve been more excited, scared, hopeful, confident, and sure of anything before in my life.  here we go…. [smile]