Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good Thing They're Winking. Otherwise, It Would Be Odd.

I hate trinkets. Collecting stuff kind of freaks me out. Knowing that I used to own an assortment of troll dolls and beanie babies disgusts me. Nonetheless, I ordered winking owl salt and pepper shakers last week. Quirky enough to be cute, yet small enough to hide in those instances that I decide they make my kitchen, and me by extension, look weird, these silly little owls just make me happy. The thought of using them to "spice up" the zen feel I was going for in the kitchen, as well as any soups, rice, or macaroni that I put in my Chilly Willy bowls (Get it, "spice up" used two different ways? Hilarious.) is just too much. Oh, the joy that can be found in the completely unnecessary.

Contrary to all logic, however, it is not merely owning a pair of owl accessories that pleases me so. When I opened the priority box in which they so excitedly traveled from Centertown to Lexington, I was greeted with an additional surprise. The 3" tall tanish owls were safely resting on a bed of what appeared to be lavender, rosemary, and some chive-like herb or grass. The cellophane wrapping was sealed with a silver twist tab that also kept the old seed package label in place. A wood pseudo-close pin and two hazelnut candles topped off the tastefully crafty presentation. It really was as though I had received an early Christmas present from my mom (a sprig of fresh holly, decorative pine cones, and beautiful ribbon are the norm).

As you can guess, I didn't buy my salt and pepper shakers off eBay, or amazon, or any of the many websites that specialize in owl stuff. Instead, I found them on the website of a company that happens to be owned by one of my former students: First and foremost, how cool is it that a 20 year old not only started a company, but one that values sustainability, local initiatives, and handmade arts and crafts? Visit the website when you get a chance, but for the time being, here is a brief description of the company: "Welcome to CHANDLERclark. Here we are more than just a store, the vision behind CHANDLERclark is more of a lifestyle. It is about living a good life, or as the French say "Bon Vivant". We believe that living the best life doesn't mean spending large amounts of money or going with big name brands. The good life for us is about shopping locally, being resourceful, always watching to find a deal, demanding quality and being original. In the store you'll find nothing imported or mass-produced. We only carry top quality locally made folk-art, one-of-a-kinds, and home accessories made by some of our favorite designers and artist. We carry unique and interesting vintage and antique pieces, a mix of photography and other curiosities that we find along the way."

The initiative it takes to start a project like this is impressive. I so admire those people, regardless of age, who actually follow through with a vision (Melissa and Dan Holland are a great example - starting their own chiropractic business in Mt. Juliet, TN - opening in early April). So many of us dream, and talk, and maybe even plan, yet allow these ideas to remain dormant. "Perfect time" doesn't exist. These people understand that.

Nonetheless, this isn't necessarily the direction in which I want this post to go (although I definitely think it should be the basis for future musings). I simply want to point out something much more surface-level: personal touches matter. The fact that my owls have a faint smell of lavender means something to me. It reflects thought, and creativity, and time. It is a hand-written letter, it is a dry-erase marker message on a mirror, it is a canvas painted during Turner gal night. If the priority mail package had been sealed with a puppy sticker, I would resolutely argue that Charlene secretly works part-time for CHANDLERclark. Sure, one could argue that touches like these are simply good business practice at best, well-planned ploy at worst;and I don't deny the validity of this (obviously I will be more inclined to buy from this site in the future). Perception, however, is often just as important as reality. If I see beauty and inspiration and forethought, profit margins don't seem as corrupt or heartless as they might otherwise.

I mentioned in a previous post that I hate cliches. Nonetheless, here's one that I can't mess up and that pretty much sums up the point of this entry: it really is the little things. Most of you (actually I hope all of you) probably aren't mailing owls anytime soon, but you are sending birthday cards, or grading papers, or making a copy of a CD for a friend. Make sure the recipient knows that they matter, that the item of exchange, "looks like them."
One of the many reasons why I love Caroline so much. She understands "little things."
How many tire and lube places do you know that have a mural painted on the side? I love this "little thing" so much.


  1. What is funny is that a weekend or so ago I was trying to find you a tea cup as a house warming gift, but I couldn't find one that was "you." Little did I know, you already had one : )

  2. You should bring one that is "you" and come have coffee with me.