PEOPLE, PLACE, THING – Dottie Brackett

When I asked my friend extraordinaire Dottie Brackett to use three words to describe herself, I right away disagreed with her answer: an ordinary person. Dottie is anything but ordinary, and I am not saying that just because she is my friend. Lawyer, mother, perfume lover, amazing photographer, world traveler – these are just some of the reasons why being around Dottie can make anyone feel like they are in special company!

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Photo: Facebook/Let’s Go Ride A Bike

Back in the day, when I lived in DC, I used to read this famous blog called Let’s Go Ride A Bike. I was amazed at how the two friends were able to make the age old activity of riding a bicycle look so fun, fashionable, and fantastic for thousands of readers around the world! Fast forward a couple of years when I moved to Chicago as a newlywed; some might say I was first excited about shacking up with my husband, and second about the possibility that I might run into Dottie, who along with her friend Trisha, made the magic happen on LGRAB.

I still remember the day when I filled out the contact card on the blog saying I’d love to meet her at their monthly bike brunches ( I didn’t really ride a bike though at the time). I remember getting butterflies in my stomach when I saw her reply saying something as simple as of course, see you then! Before heading to the brunch I remember rehearsing a little conversation to make sure I wasn’t too star struck.

Turns out, Dottie was one of the kindest and easiest person to talk to. I remember sitting next to her at the brunch and feeling like the sky had parted when she said she was also a Tar Heel; we had graduated the same year too! In fact, she was the first Tar Heel with whom I didn’t have to talk about basketball to connect! ha! A lawyer by profession, she was also the least lawyerly type I have ever known!

I didn’t know at the time that this person I had followed and known only through the internet, was going to be one of my best friends with whom not only did I share many bicycle adventures, but also countless laughs over dinners, brunches, picnics, whiskey tastings, and trips. Leaving her behind in Chicago was one of the saddest things, until of course, she and her husband also decided to move back home to NC and now live just short car ride away from me! How lucky am I?

Over the years she has been a sounding board for my crazy ideas, about motherhood, about style and fashion, about photography, about my frustrations in general. And without fail, I always walk away feeling better and happier! So naturally, I had to write a People, Place, Thing about how much joy she brings in my life!

And by the way, if you haven’t tried this, sit down with someone who has been friend for a while and ask them questions like how I did. It’s too much fun to hear what they have to say…and nothing to reaffirm that you know someone so cool! = )

Even though, you don’t know Dottie, I am sure that her answers will make you laugh and inspire you to be cool!

Thank you Dottie for taking the time to be my muse and my friend! And you need to bring back LGRAB…just sayin!

Are you a morning person or a night owl – Night owl, but motherhood is forcing me to become a morning person. It’s awful.

What book(s) are you reading right now – The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne and Siblings Without Rivalry

Favorite magazine(s) – The Gentlewoman is my favorite, but since buying a house last year, I’ve been obsessed with decor magazines: Veranda, Milieu, Elle Decor – you know, whatever makes me feel bad about my own home in comparison.

Top three favorite websites – NY Times, Vulture, YouTube (the latter has gotten me through countless hours of nursing my son at night).

Fashion tip/advice that you have incorporated in your life – The capsule wardrobe, although that was easier to manage when working in an office. Nowadays, I grab whatever skims over my pooch and is nursing friendly.

Use three words to describe motherhood – Loving, challenging, magical.

Favorite activity to do with your children – Walk in the woods.

Any advice from your mom that you ignored before but makes complete sense now – Mastering domestic tasks. I had no interest in learning how to cook, bake, sew, or garden – all skills that my mother has and that I wish I had now.

Travel destination you’ve been dreaming off – Living for one year in a cottage on the Isle of Skye, Scotland (with my husband, babies, cats, and whisky, of course).

If no one was judging, what would make an ideal date night for you – All I ask is to put on perfume and leave the house without my children.

One household chore that you dislike more than others – Bathrooms. Isn’t that everyone’s?

Name an object that brings instant cheer in the daily grind – My record player. I listen to records all day, mostly old classical albums picked up at Goodwill. My toddler is really into playing records, because she can see how everything works. Pressing a button on my Amazon music app means nothing to her.

Lessons from professional life that you apply to your personal life – List-making. There is such satisfaction in crossing things off. I often write down tasks that I’ve already completed, just for some instant gratification. 

What do you wish you had more time to do – Clean. Gosh, that’s a boring answer, but it’s true. 

Thoughts on future career moves – All thoughts about my career future have to be optimistic. I don’t have the energy to be anxious about it, so I’m confident that when the time is right to re-enter the workforce, there will be employers who value my skills and experience, despite taking a few years to stay home with my children.

Name a side hustle you wish you had, or already have – How does everyone have a side hustle nowadays? I can barely keep up with my center hustle.

Tea or coffee? Coffee first thing in the morning, tea throughout the day and evening.

Mountains or beach? Mountains. Most of my time at the beach is spent trying to prevent sunburn.

Sunset or sunrise? Sunset with a glass of white wine.

Spa day or a hike in the woods? Who’s paying?

Best way to get your creative wiggles out – Making a list of all the wonderful creative projects I want to try, daydreaming endlessly about them, and never actually starting any.

Current parenting nightmare you are dealing with – My daughter yelling, “Mama! Ugggh!” and then melting down because I don’t know what “Ugggh!” means in that specific context.

Favorite toy to play around with – My vintage Rolleiflex camera.

“Wish I had unlimited money to buy” – Handbags and antique rings.

“I know I shouldn’t but I still” – Eat way too much sugar. I think we’re all supposed to be eating no sugar now? But I feel good limiting myself to 3-5 cookies a day.

4 thoughts

  1. I have so much to say about this post that I don’t know where to start! :). First off, I love it. So much makes sense to me now. I have often wondered why Dottie is in NC so much…because I knew she also lived in Chicago when you were here. I can check that off now. She sounds amazing! I love your “how we met” story. And that you became such wonderful friends after meeting. And that she’s an NC friend you don’t have to talk basketball with. Keep up this series. I really enjoy reading it (and everything you post).

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  2. So this didn’t post from the right account but I’m not going to delete it. It is probably the reason I was having password problems. 🤦🏼‍♀️

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  3. Oh Chika, your beautiful introduction is ridiculously sweet, kind, and has made my year! It’s so funny to read, because from my perspective *you* are the cool friend who inspires *me* in style, motherhood, creativity, and loving life in general. Sometimes when I’m having a rough day with the kids, I stop and think, “What would Chika do?” Ha. I’m incredibly lucky to have you in my life. Our meeting in Chicago was fate for sure! :)

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