Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Yards Wore Ribbons in Their Hair

Posted By: Jenn Latino
This weekend the first walk of the 2010 3-Day schedule took place in Boston, MA! Our friend Caroline and her family were there staffing a cheer station and supporting family members who were participating in the walk. Before she took to her cheering post for the Boston teams, Caroline made a donation to my walk. Cheers to the Joy/White families who have been greatly affected by breast cancer. Team NKOTW is inspired by your strength.

My current total is $892. On June 28th last year I had $1895 raised and was well on my way to reaching my $2300 goal. I realize it is time to step up my fundraising efforts. I have been so focused on my walking that I haven’t been as deliberate with reaching my goal and with only 87 days until the walk, I need to get moving fast. Send any fundraising ideas my way!!

As soon as the 2010 season began, the 2011 events were announced! For those of you who have considered participating as a walker or volunteering as a crew member, you have a full year or more to prepare!!

2011 3-Day for the Cure Schedule
Boston July 22-24
Cleveland July 29-31
Chicago August 5-7
Michigan August 12-14
Twin Cities August 19-21
Denver August 26-28
San Francisco Bay Area September 9-11
Seattle September 16-18
Washington, D.C. September 23-25
Philadelphia October 14-16
Atlanta October 21-23
Tampa Bay October 28-30
Dallas/Fort Worth November 4-6
Arizona November 11-13
San Diego November 18-20

While the Boston walkers were taking to the streets of New England, my weekend walks took me through the streets of Brunswick Plantation in Calabash, NC. It was girls weekend with Valerie and Melissa and we hit the jackpot with a condo at a snazzy resort! Melissa’s hubby works for a ritzy golf resort and in addition to having amazing accommodations (with a fabulous “friend of the wife” discount), the neighborhood was perfect for walking! The permanent residents of Brunswick really know how to showcase their beautiful homes. I spent about 12 miles wandering up and down the fancy streets and, as I walked, I observed that the difference between a beautiful home and a REALLY beautiful home, is the FLAIR! It is ALL about the flair!
Rich folks have all kinds of flair. The standard is a perfectly manicured yard with flawlessly sculpted driveway edges, and evenly trimmed shrubs and plants. In my neighborhood, this would be enough to win the yard of the month award. In Brunswick, this is just the minimum. Those who really want to stand out put the pimp into their curb appeal.

The first flair that I noticed was that rich people: PAUSE for a disclaimer. Throughout this blog I will refer to the homeowners of Brunswick Plantation as “rich” people. I do not mean for this to be offensive to anyone. I am simply stating a fact that, in order to live in houses like these, you must have a certain level of income. You must be rich! And I am certain that none of the Brunswick residents are college administrators.

RETURN TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG: The first flair I noticed was that rich people do not settle for just any driveway. In my neighborhood, driveways are meant to be parked on. One of life’s greatest questions: Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways? In the house I grew up in, driveways were for playing hopscotch. This was before sidewalk chalk but with the right rock, you could sketch a board that would last all morning, until the daily summer afternoon rain. In my adult life, I spend time on my driveway fighting with the little weeds and grass that pop up in the cracks and will not give up. In 3 years I have put at least 2 gallons of weed killer on those stubborn crack growers and still….if only I could get the grass in the yard to be as resilient.

So, rich folks: They paint their driveways. Yes, paint! Grey concrete just won’t do. The level of driveway décor varies. The most popular method is to paint bricks around the edges. From 10-12 feet back, it really looks like brick. But, as you get closer, you can see that the fancy trim is perfectly uniform, flawlessly painted, brick shaped, red rectangles. The more elaborate driveways had fully covered painted surfaces flourished with designs such as circles with the family monogram or multicolored mosaic designs. One of my favorites had a simple palmetto tree at the entrance to the driveway.

In fancy neighborhoods, the focus of the residents seems to be that they must make everyone think “I really want to live here!” without showing any evidence that folks actually live there. It seems that fancy dwellers do not want to admit that life happens-and some of life has to be messy. They go through great efforts to hide the mess, including where you “go” and the trash that needs to “go.”

I think these things are best explained by the pictures here. First, the port-a-potty. Now, as a veteran 3-Day walker, I am intimately familiar with port-a-potties. There is really no way to make them pretty-even when you dress them up in pink. But, in Brunswick great effort is made to ensure that the building sites are discrete about the places that they go by surrounding the potty with lattice—something I have never seen before!

As a side note, Jenn Dooley came across this article about the outdoor facilities that will be at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. I promptly forwarded the article to the 3-Day Twitter account with a request to have these at the Atlanta event. I am sure they are getting right on it. Clinton PottiesThe potties aren’t the only hidden treasure. Now, even my not so fancy neighborhood has a restriction on leaving your Herby Curby in plain sight. You have to place your trash can out of sight, for me that means behind the big holly bush because the idea of having a trash can in the garage is disgusting and smelly. The bush does a fine job of hiding the can on the 6 days of the week when it is restricted from the curb. In Brunswick, a shrub just will not do! See below an example of the type of trash can hiding device that I saw throughout the neighborhood. There were many kinds of hiding methods. Some used the white gate like you see here. Others had constructed large brick hide-a-ways that matched the brick on the house, of course. The trash can storage areas on some of these houses were nicer than my guest room! PIMP YOUR MAILBOX
I see a lot of mailboxes in my neighborhood travels. I’m always intrigued at the things folks to create a welcoming space for the mail carrier. I have seen mailboxes wrapped in holiday paper, monogrammed with the family name or initial, and many with Gamecocks or Wolfpack heads in place of flags! That level of creativity is strictly forbidden in Brunswick! Every mailbox is exactly the same. Black rod iron box with a small newspaper cubby below. There were a few rebels who had a little holiday swag attached. I’m sure that as soon as August 1st arrives, that July flair will have to be removed! GARAGE TAGS
Have you ever looked at the boring brick area above your garage and wondered, “Hmmm…what could I do to really jazz up that space? It sure is just boring looking brick.” Fear not! The final home swag that I will share is the garage charm/plaque. The size and shape of the plaques varied but one thing was consistent-name plates always feature the family dog(s). The Jones family clearly loves poodles. The Britts have a thing for bulldogs. Yorkies are the chosen breed for the Rasmussens. As pictured here, the Ingrahams are a mixed breed household favoring both the Chihuahua and the Westie. I will not be adding this to my Christmas list this year but if you are interested, I found several websites that will customize your home swag-no matter what your preferred breed. On Sunday I took Valerie on a driving tour of the neighborhood. As this blog was forming in my head throughout the weekend miles, I knew that I would need evidence that the décor of which I report was, in fact, real. Armed with a camera, we set out to collect evidence-and some material to “pimp” this blog. After all, with 9 New Kids contributing the to blog, I have to make sure that my posts stand apart :)

As we drove through the streets with few words exchanged other than “Ohhhh” and “Ahhhhh” I asked Valerie, “Who DOES that? [insert any over the top outdoor home décor method here]” and her reply summed it up perfectly. “I think it’s like when you have to wear a uniform to work so you put a ribbon in your hair. You just want to stand out from the rest.” Valerie-spoken like a true Yoda.

I hope that you are all finding ways to stand apart this week. Put a ribbon in your hair, make it pink, and log a few miles. Before you know it you will be up to 10 mile Saturdays and well on your way to your own 3-Day experience!

Happy Stepping!


  1. Wow. Just wow. I will be busy painting bricks and building latice hideaways for my Herby Curby as soon as I get home today!

  2. Casa Sterritt doesn't have any swag unless you count our new gutters or a freshly trimmed trees as swag? Love the photos!!!