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I used to think I wanted to travel the world, but now I just want to plant my roots. 

 

I think we can all over romanticize traveling, moving, and the hustle and bustle of being everywhere. I used to only dream about seeing every place I could, but now I know I want something a little different. Maybe it’s a little less glamorous, but I think staying might just be the new going. 

 

Sure, there is so much value in seeing new things and experiencing different lifestyles, but I have to wonder what the point would be if there wasn’t a home to return to. I think we all need somewhere to plant our roots deep. 

 

I have found the place I want to stay tucked between orange groves and alligator-filled lakes. I think you can fall in love with a city just like a person. Maybe at first you’re a little hesitant, you are hypersensitive to the quirks you dislike, and you aren’t ready to commit to anything. But slowly, something changes. 

 

That’s what it felt like for me to make Lakeland my home. I was hesitant to warm up, but the more I saw the community in this city, I just fell head over heels. Swans and all. 

 

Now I tell people I’d be cool with staying in Lakeland until I die, usually they give me a weird look. But it’s just true! I’ve never loved a city so much, and I have never been compelled to stay in one place and plant my roots as deep as possible. 

 

When roots reach farther, usually the plant is a lot stronger. 

 

Something about Lakeland captured my heart. Maybe it’s all the local small businesses with people I know by name, maybe it’s that people get up-in-arms about the swans crossing the road, maybe it’s the vintage neon signs that line South Florida, or maybe it’s the random mid century gems in neighborhoods throughout the whole city. It’s a combination of those things, the little delights that keep me smiling randomly and fill me with joy, but more than that, it’s this amazing gathering of community that is so unbelievably supportive. 

 

 

 

I can’t imagine starting a business any other place, I just don’t believe I would be met with the same enthusiasm and open arms as I would right here in little Polk county. My love for the city only grows, and for a long time I’ve been trying to figure out how to honor it best and how to dedicate a sense of permanence of myself to the place that has brought me so much joy.

 

A few months ago I moved in as a vendor at a Dixieland antique store called The Shop Across The Street where I sell my prints and some retro curated antiques. I was quickly met with family-like support, laughter, and a sense of belonging in their doors. And further, they somehow immediately trusted me and my creative endeavors, suggestions, and ideas. And so when I commented on the wall in the parking lot being blank, it took them no time to decide that it should be made colorful. 

 

And so I painted this monument to the city I love the most. It’s full of colors, retro features, swans, citrus, and even an alligator. It was a creative stretch, as I usually operate on much smaller canvases, but I can think of no greater memorial to this creative city and something as permanent as paint.

 

January 19th from 10-2 we will be celebrating the completion of the mural by hosting a morning market. You can expect vendors from Tampa and Lakeland with unique handmade items and curated vintage. Live music, desserts, and more will be out under the mural to celebrate this city that we love, and I hope to see you there!

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