consider this the continuation of a new conversation with an old friend.

it began with the reoccurring instinct we all tend to have when you experience something that moves you. it’s only natural for you to want to share it with the people you know and care for. so rather than continuing to just share these sources for inspiration internally, we wanted to start sharing with you.

the parameters of this series are simple... four of us will each share the best thing we saw this week - nothing less, nothing more.

our hope is that you enjoy these as much as we do.

new york public library
public domain visualization

i’ve loved the library since i was a little girl. it was my first taste of independence. riding my bike after school i’d roam up and down the aisles arms full of books, magazines and VHS tapes. even as a kid, i could grasp what a privilege it was to have access to such a vast archive of knowledge for free.

it’s still a magical place for me, a place of solace and inspiration and one i take advantage of every chance i can get. this is why i am so excited to share with you the best thing i’ve heard in a long time.

the New York Public Library has released more than 180,000 archival high-resolution images into the public domain. thousands of photographs, maps, botanical prints and other documents are all unbound by copyright restrictions and free to download and use in almost limitless ways. endless inspiration can now be yours.

you can view and explore the full release here. (i hope you’ve got several hours to spare.)

lottie hust

Valentine’s Day in my family has always been a day designated to telling other family members how much you love and appreciate them. i called my grandma to do just that and when she answered phone the first thing she said was,

“do you want to hear an AMAZING story?”

of course with that much excitement coming from an 88 year old’s mouth, my only response was “WHY YES!!!”

my grandmother told me she had been out antiquing in our home town and came across a red and white glass cup that was inscribed “Lottie Hust 1909.”

my grandmother then told me that was her mother’s name, Lottie Hust. she went on to tell me that her mother was actually born in 1904, but she believed that this had to be her mother’s cup. my grandmother even said that she feels like she vaguely remembers seeing this cup as a child. of course, i’m a sucker for stuff like this and i immediately agreed, “it has to be hers!”

then she went on to tell me she started “dickering” with the price. the man who owned the glass cup wanted 25 dollars for it. i asked my grandmother, “did you tell him it was your mother’s cup?” and she exclaimed, “well of course i did!!”

i laughed to myself thinking that she just blew any chance of ever getting a lower price on the cup, but come to find out, she held her ground and got the guy down 10 whole dollars.

i then got a lecture on how important it is to “dicker” when dealing with antiques. again i laughed, and for the next hour i got an amazing family history lesson. this will definitely go down as one of the best Valentine’s Days ever.

thank you, Hazel.

charly and margeaux
a violin and harmony

there are actually two things i love more than blue jeans.

a violin, and harmony.

i try not to focus on things that i regret about my life, thus far. however, there is one regret that haunts me. i studied classical violin for 20 years. i started when i was 5, and actively played until my mid twenties.

the classical study gave me so much. it taught me structure and precision, two traits that apparently weren’t in my original DNA. i loved every moment of being a classical violinist, but i always yearned to be able to “let loose” on the fiddle...to be able to ad lib and create diversity within my music.

i never did it. i still dream to do it. and now, i just might.

i happened upon CHARGAUX this week, a group of two women that effortlessly play the way i have always yearned to play, one on a violin and the other on a viola.

i don’t know enough about them yet to be able to profess my love, but i do know this: their carefree harmonies might have for once and all set me free.

imogene + willie portland
our second store

i’m embarrassed to admit that until last week i had never been to our Portland store. come to think of it, until the end of last year… i had never even been to Portland - but that’s another story.

i realize it seems self-serving to talk about one of our stores in an post that is strictly non-promotional. let me reassure you. i tried my damnedest to think of something i’ve been more inspired by… hell, we went to The One Show the very same weekend (which was great!) but still, even that wasn’t quite up to snuff. i went so far as to consider bending the rules in my mind - trying to think of something i’d rather share, despite the time constraints of “this week.” nothing compared.

walking into the i+w shop in Portland was a realization.

what we are doing is something bigger than us - bigger than jeans, bigger than commerce. it’s about people. it’s about community. ultimately, it’s about love. i was surprised to feel just as at home in a tiny storefront on the other side of the country as i would walking into the original i+w shop way back in Nashville. a shop that i, along with so many dear friends now, have worked my ass off in, partied in, and made lifelong friends in.

if you’re in Portland, stop by and hang out. the people are friendly, the couch there is just as cozy as the one in Nashville, and you’re just as welcome.