Valiant Thieves- 03

Working in retail for a short six months may have been one of the biggest hidden blessings of my life. My first day of work was her last day and somehow we became friends. For the past three years, we have walked through every season imaginable together and consider each other family. Today I am chatting with the woman I consider my second sister, Kelsey. 

Obsessions: Dwell magazine, ethical fashion, Madeleine Peyroux radio on Pandora

Must Watch List: Fantastic Beasts and Where to  Find Them,  Minimalism, Bridget jones

Hidden Talents: mixing incredible cocktails, thrift shopping, painting anything and everything

3 Things She DOESN'T Do: laundry, socks, schedule things on weeknights

Best of 2016: Spending Christmas in Florida

Hoping for in 2017: A vision for what God has in store for them with kids- adoption, getting pregnant, ect

Life Hack: Hanging art on the backs of doors and using pet odor spray for ANYTHING that smells bad. Genius. 

Say hello to, quite possibly, my most interesting friend. Kelsey grew up in Hungary as a missionary kid then came back to the states to pursue a degree in Graphic Design and Ceramics. Her European flair spills over into each aspect of life. Everything from her apartment to her speech is full of richness and beauty.

Our friendship started at Anthropologie. It was a result of hospitality and selflessness on her part and  courage (or stupidity) on mine. Kelsey invited my man and I to church our first week in Austin, then days later, she invited us to a Christmas party with her friends and family. In the new year, we stated a bachelor viewing tradition with our husbands. Somewhere between all of that, we realized we became good friends. After a mess of double dates and early morning workouts, Kelsey approached me about working for Bristol Lane. She was already working as a full-time nanny, which is no easy task, but she was longing for something more creative. I was in desperate need of someone artistic and client-minded to come along side me and soon every weekend was spent slinging flowers. Fast-forward a few years later and we are in the thick of life. We see each other multiple times a week, have a standing Roark & Speer night, and keep the texts flowing. Get ready for a taste of Kelsey's signature wisdom and heart! 

It was about a year into our friendship before we got deep. Growing up back and forth between Hungary and the states made it a struggle for Kelsey to connect and invest in others. Out of self-preservation, it was simpler to keep friendships shallow in case someone moved. But the problem with shallow roots is they never fully soak up water leaving you dry and parched. "Shallow relationships don't produce growth. So don't isolate yourself" I'm not sure when the shift happened for us. Maybe it was over drives to weddings or weekend breakfasts, all I know is somewhere along the way we both decided that spending time with someone is different than investing. Time makes memories and builds a bond. Investing connects hearts and builds a lifetime. To ask the hard questions, to show up when you are frustrated, to keep pushing when the other is pulling, that is investing and it's something Kelsey does wonderfully. 

The things that Kelsey looks for in friendship are intentionally, comedic relief, and trust worthiness. While she self-proclaims to be a poor communicator, Kelsey excels at intentionality. One thing I have learned from her is to sincerely compliment friends when you see them. Truly, I can not remember a time when Kelsey has walked into the room and failed to mention how beautiful someone looks, their new throw pillows, how amazing dinner smells, or something equally endearing. There is a joy that comes from shifting the attention off yourself and onto the people you are with. It's a skill I am still trying to learn from her.  Kelsey calls it "taking myself less seriously and fighting the insecurity. Basically its focusing on others and looking for opportunities to not think about myself. "

Another thing we could all stand to learn from Kels? The act of letting go. During 2016, Kelsey gave up shopping. She wanted to free up parts of her budget and learn more about ethical fashion so for twelve months she sidestepped Madewell and stepped into her closet. Let's not sidestep this. She went a whole YEAR without buying so much as a shirt from Target. In that act of letting go Kelsey said she felt free. At the end of the year her closet was smaller, she got rid of anything she didn't love and made a list of ethical brands to pursue moving forward.  She refined her style and her heart and now encourages others to create less demand for fast fashion. It's a stretching challenge she has offered to all of her friends.

 

The last heart-felt thing I'll leave you with before you listen to our ridiculous conversation is this: When I look at my dearest friends they are people who take care of me. They don't pick up my clothes or make me food or baby me. Instead, they look for opportunities to encourage and lighten my load. I'm fiercely independent and never really looked for that in a friend. However the people who are in my closest circle, the ones you have heard from on here and a few others, they all find little ways to take care of me in sweet and simple ways. Let's do that for our friends, yes? Let's be women who take care of one another just to be kind and loving. 

Kels, it's a joy to be a part of your life. Thank you for making us family. 

Where to find Kelsey: instagramRoden & Fields, Bristol Lane

Listen to our back-porch conversation below: 

Meredith Harper