I’m often told I’m an enigma. I run a very outward facing business, but I’m actually a private and inward person who doesn’t like the spotlight. Long before I started our Grace Rose Farm social accounts I deleted my personal social media. Sharing my life wasn’t interesting or inspiring and didn’t provide me with feelings of inclusivity or acceptance. Then my very introverted hobby (gardening) took a turn and developed into something so many people wanted to know about. It’s still funny to me that I chose such a singular, quiet hobby that grew to be anything but! People wanted see and understand the person behind the roses. Over the years I’ve shared little tidbits here and there about who I am, often with great reluctance. Here are some things you may not know about me…
1. I’m driven by aesthetics.
I say this not in a materialistic way, but in way that means beautiful things make me happy. Whether a rose bush or a flowery pillow cover or a paint color, I find fulfillment in having the personal choice of creating spaces I love. Whether I’ve had a tiny apartment with no money right out of college or the home we’re in now, I’ve always strived to make it as beautiful as possible because I believe one‘s surroundings say a lot about a person. What I’m searching for now…French Aubusson rugs and Trumeau mirrors (on a budget)! Our Georgian colonial home will undergo a transformation to have more millwork and vintage aspects that take it to a place of the past.
2. I’m really old fashioned when it comes to my taste.
More is more for me. There is nothing minimal or modern about my taste. From my clothing to my decor choices, I always go for feminine, floral, layers and intricate details. I’ve been wearing puff sleeves, ruffles, smocked dressed and bows in my hair long before it was the trend it is now. I dress Seraphina in traditional bubbles, knee socks adorned with bows and hand-smocked dresses. She’s only little once and I’ve come to love shopping for her sweet little outfits. I used to be really shy about my style and would conform to more neutral dressing so I’d fit in, but now I embrace what makes me happy.
3. I'm happiest at home and don’t like to travel.
I this is unpopular, but I’m really not a good traveler. I’ve been all over the world and am always so happy to be home. To me, there's no place like home. When taking a trip there can be that feeling like you need to go-go-go and see as much as possible before the trip runs out of time. I don’t like to have plans that I need to stick to, so traveling rarely is fun for me. If I want to sleep, I sleep. If I feel like going out, I do, but it’s almost never pre-planned. If I travel, it’s only if I can be on my own time schedule and not feel pressured to do it all. Crowds, lines and new places give me anxiety, so staying home is perfectly fine with me. Before we had the rose farm I traveled 200,000+ miles per year for work and it was such a struggle. I think some people thrive in new settings and constantly on the move, but I’m not one of them. We love Hawaii and that’s about the speed I like to travel, very slowly to the beach midday to relax and repeat.
4. I love classical music.
I’ve shared this before. Music is a part of me that is deeply personal and several works have shaped me to be the person I am. I rarely listen to anything else. Ryan and I are members at the Hollywood Bowl and LA Phil. In my dreams, I’m a soprano who sings alongside the great philharmonics.
5. I was supposed to be raised in Spain.
My mother was born in Cuba and lived for many years in Spain where she was a student and model. She planned to raise me there, but she passed when I was five. I often wonder who I would be and where I would be had I grown up in Spain.
6. I have a Spanish name: Gracielinda.
Gracielinda (Gra-si leen-dah) means “beautiful grace” in English. I’m the third Grace, named after my grandma Grace, and mother, Grace Ruth. Seraphina is the fourth Grace, our Seraphina Grace Rose.
7. I’ve been a vegetarian and animal advocate my entire adult life.
As far as animal advocacy, I spent my 20’s rescuing hundreds of cats (maybe thousands) and finding them loving homes. Cats are my spirit animal. I volunteered at a big cat sanctuary. Yes, that means lions, tigers and leopards. I didn’t handle the cats, of course, but was a tour guide and taught people about the plight of our majestic big cats. Most of the cats there were recused from roadside zoos, hunting farms and backyard breeders. Writing this brings tears to my eyes for our big kitties. They are so endangered and at risk for extinction.
8. Speaking of endangered and nearly extinct animals, the one trip I do want to take is to Africa.
And I want to go once Seraphina is old enough to appreciate the animals she will likely only see once in her lifetime. We don’t go to zoos, so it’s a really high priority for us to take her to Africa so she can see what I believe to be the most beautiful sights in the world.
9. For as traditional and old world as I am, I’m also very much into science and space.
Nothing blows my mind like sending people into space and I spend a good amount of time everyday reading about it. I cried when the shuttle program ended and when I got to see Endeavor when she came to Los Angeles. I also love sci-fi and my mind runs wild with the endless possibilities of what’s beyond. I was born on July 20, the day Apollo landed on the moon. My favorite space movies are ET and Interstellar, and their soundtracks are two of my most loved ever.
10. I live for warm weather!
Or, I hate winter, would be more exact. Being born and raised in California, this was not a sentiment I developed until I moved to the northeast and endured 12 years of winter. Partly because I have arthritis that doesn’t like cold weather, but mostly because winter is just so ugly in my eyes. Everything is dead and brown, the days are short and it’s cold. Winter does a number on my mental health. Ryan and I moved back to California in 2012 because I couldn’t handle another winter. Then we moved to Santa Ynez, which has a brutal kind of winter all its own, and psychologically it was really hard for me. It doesn’t snow there, but because the nights are bitter cold, everything dies outside and there are six months of dormancy for roses in that area. We moved back to where we’re both originally from this year, Ventura County, so we could avoid winter. The decision was both for our business’s sake and mine. Ideally I would love summer all year long, but am really happy where we are since it doesn’t freeze!
Just because, here are a few more things.... I love, love, love Annie, Mary Poppins, A Little Princess and Anne of Green Gables (the original)! The music, the settings, the costumes and the stories are beautiful and have a bit of a recurring theme. My favorite farm chore is mowing the lawns. Freshly mowed grass is the best, and since I'm all for immediate gratification, mowing is my job. Someday, probably never, I would love to own a sailboat. For as much as I hate sports, I do love to sail and I'm a pretty good sailor. My dream boat is a Swan 65. That’s a huge boat, I know, but Ryan is really tall (almost 7 feet tall) so he doesn’t fit down below on most boats. There's nothing as timeless, romantic, idyllic and nostalgic as sailing. Alas, we own a farm and farms are money pits, so I don't think a sailboat is in our future. And finally, Ryan and I really want to RV! I know that might sound strange for a young couple, but we’re obsessed with RVs. We’ve gone to many RV shows to look at and dream about traveling North America in one. Again, Ryan is so tall so we know which models and lengths will work for him so he can move around in the RV easily. Perhaps in a few years we will take a season away to show Seraphina some of the beautiful sights of our country and teach her a bit about American history. That’s all for now!! Xo