Hello! We Are Moving To Wisconsin!

Hello! I am really excited to share that my family is about to start our next big adventure - maybe the biggest yet! We are moving to Wisconsin!

We may be totally crazy because we are quite happy here in Minnesota - wonderful schools, jobs and friends.

I guess we have reached a point where our tight little family is ready for another adventure! Even the boys surprised us with their enthusiasm. My husband got a great new job with the same company he works for now and I am excited to live close to my family and old friends. 

So here we are. In about 4 weeks we will be moving to Wisconsin!

We have sold our home. (In a day! Thanks to Nan Emmer of Coldwell Banker Burnett for being a great realtor!)

We have bought a new home.

When we first started the process of buying a new home we were so excited and filled with dreams and hope! However - a little over a month later - we became worn down and exhausted. The home market in the new area is crazy! Homes are listed in the morning and sold by the evening.

We also had very bad luck with a realtor which led us to bad luck with houses. We made offers and they were accepted on two different homes. Each home revealed huge problems in the inspection. Both needed almost $100,000 in repairs! So we walked away from both homes and the realtor that tried to convince us to buy them. 

My bit of buying a home advice: Make sure if you are ever hiring a realtor to buy a home that you hire one who acts like a “buying” agent and not a “selling” agent. Our original agent was in such a hurry for us to buy a home that she would try to overcome our concerns like she was the salesperson for the home we were viewing. My husband and I have been in sales for decades and we know the drill well. We learned that you need a realtor who is also critical of the homes you tour and is willing to voice that. I am so grateful for two dear friends - Joanna Todd of LW Reedy in Chicago, Illinois and Josh Zuehlke of Coldwell Banker Burnett in Minneapolis who spent a lot of time on the phone consulting me!

In the end, with our realtor friends’ consult, we unconventionally bought a house without a realtor. We used the realtor who was selling the house we wanted to also buy it on our behalf. She is a smart, classy realtor who sells over 80 homes a year and can handle a dual deal with no problems. 

Our home is in a great location. Walking distance to school, the coffee shop, biking trails and more. It has space for me to have a home photography studio!

It is a 1970’s mod home that was designed by a well known Milwaukee architect named Ray Prell. He designed a home for my grandmother. He designed my parents’ home. And their cabin. So when we saw this home - we knew it was fate!

Some people would definitely call it a weird 70’s looking home.. but that’s exactly what I like about it! It is unique. Here are a few of my favorite parts:

 a sunken living room and a spiral staircase 

a sunken living room and a spiral staircase 

 A master with high ceilings and a teeny little private patio!  

A master with high ceilings and a teeny little private patio!  

I will be busy in the next few weeks prepping to move but I am really excited to take you along on this new journey. I hope to share photos from this new, beautiful area we will be exploring as well as a few DIY home projects, the set up of my new studio space and the general challenges that come with moving to a new state! (Hopefully there won’t be any! 😆)

Thank you so much for your continued support! 

❤️Jill  

 

 

 

Shooting Puerto Rico with Architecture MN Magazine

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Last week I traveled to Ponce, Puerto Rico on assignment with Architecture MN Magazine.

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My assignment was to capture the humanitarian efforts of a group of Architecture students and faculty from Dunwoody college and the University of Minnesota.

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I also hoped to capture the beauty and hardship of this US territory. 

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Puerto Rico already had a struggling economy before Hurricane Maria tore into the island six months ago.

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The hurricane caused catastrophic damage and while some of the island has recovered, it is obvious that there is still a lot of work to be done.

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It’s been six months since the hurricane.  In the busier areas of the island jumbo green highway signs still lay twisted and bent alongside major highways. Stoplights at busy intersections are still not working. Light poles are bent. Giant windmills are missing their blades. Blue tarps still provide a makeshift roof for a smattering of buildings. Doors are boarded up - but it is hard to tell if they were already that way pre-Maria. Small herds of stray dogs run the streets.

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When you venture a little deeper into the island - and visit some of the neighborhoods that were struggling before the hurricane - you really see the damage. Even six months later many people are living without water or power. Some houses look like no progress has been made since the storm tore through six months ago. Some of the residents cannot move forward until their insurance or relief funds give them approval.

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I accompanied two Architecture professors from Dunwoody to visit one of these neighborhoods. We went there to talk with the locals, assess the damage and figure out how Dunwoody can help. They are working closely with the Neighborhood Housing Services and they are committed to helping rebuild this community. 

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Seeing a destroyed swing set and abandoned toys in a wrecked home really struck a cord with me.  It left me wondering what else I can do to help. 

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That evening we joined the students and went on a kayak tour of a bioluminescent bay in Fajardo. Tiny organisms sparkled like underwater fireflies as we paddled under the stars. Magical!! Definitely one of the world’s greatest wonders! 

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I began to realize that the professors had planned for us to see some of Puerto Rico’s most devastated areas on the same day we saw some of its greatest beauty.

Quite a day. What an amazing island! 

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The next day we visited a Head Start school in Moca. The kids were so sweet and welcomed us with signs and gave us pins that represented their area flag. The Neighborhood Housing Services announced that they are committed to help rebuild the parts of the school that had been destroyed!

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They plan to open a community computer center in this trailer. 

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The Dunwoody staff intends to support this project as well.

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That evening I returned to my hotel in the town of Ponce. 

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The hotel was beautiful on the inside...

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and outside! 

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I took a stroll around beautiful Ponce to take in some street scenes. I felt very safe.

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Puerto Rico is definitely a beautiful part of the world that should be on your bucket list. The architecture and colors are amazing!

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As you wander the island, you see glimpses of how Puerto Ricans are feeling now. A little lost. A little forgotten...  

  “Puerto Rico Se Levanta!” Translates to “Puerto Rico We Will Rise!” This inspiring phrase can be seen everywhere. 

 “Puerto Rico Se Levanta!” Translates to “Puerto Rico We Will Rise!” This inspiring phrase can be seen everywhere. 

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And speaking of the people.. I haven’t even begun to talk about the people! They are SO incredibly friendly and have great pride in their island! One conversation I had over and over again with the locals was about the beauty of the island.

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Everyone wants to make sure you see the beauty! A wonderful woman I sat next to on the airplane ride down even called me four days later to make sure I was having a good time and had seen the beauty in her island. 

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Of course the beauty is impossible to miss! 

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If you are considering a trip to Puerto Rico - go!! They’re open and ready for your visit! The major tourism areas are completely recovered. And they really could use your support.

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I am very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you Architecture MN Magazine for this amazing job. Thank you to John Dwyer and Laura Cayere-King, the two Architecture professors from Dunwoody who hosted my stay and made me feel very welcome. I consider them dear new friends! And a big holla to all the Dunwoody students! 🙌🏼 I had so much fun with you all! 

 ❤️Jill  

This is a little video from our time there. It was created by one of the students, Ryan Kelly, and includes a teeny bit of my drone footage. Great job Ryan!! Click this link to watch: 

 https://www.facebook.com/ryan.kelly.9655/posts/10208760568331136

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Inspired By the Uncommon at Galleria Edina

Galleria Edina asked me to take a few photos and share what I think makes Galleria Edina a unique destination for holiday shopping. 

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I always think of Galleria as the place to find a little bit of Europe right here in Minnesota!

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I am inspired by the wide range of uncommon items you can't find anywhere else in Minnesota. Backpack purse by Louis Vuitton, leggings by LuLuLemon and wedge boots by Sorel found at Trail Mark.

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Galleria really shines during the holidays!

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I just love this "uncommon find" from Trail Mark in Galleria. These boots have become my go-to shoes for the winter. Weatherproof wedge boots. Super comfortable & in my favorite buffalo plaid!

The great black and white graphic wall was a temporary installation in their new expansion area. 

Thank you so much for this fun opportunity Galleria! It was an honor to be #InspiredByTheUnCommon

#sponsored