Side Tables

For many months now, I’ve been hearing the word aesthetic frequently thrown around by my teenage daughter and her friends, with the casual-yet-kind-of-forced insouciance that teens have perfected for decades. It’s not a word I’ve ever really used – it vaguely brought to mind (so-called) serious people like Art Critics and Philosophers.

“Oh yeah, that video is soooo aesthetic,” one of the girls would say, and the rest would nod seriously and agree.

I think it is utterly adorable, and it makes me wonder if anyone thought it was cute back in the 80s when my friends and I (and millions of other teens) used the word awesome to describe anything and everything that fell under the umbrella of “this doesn’t actually suck.”

Totally Awesome. Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

In any case, I hear myself saying “so aesthetic” in my head all the time now.  It’s the perfect term for my odd little obsession with, well, aesthetic little scenes and layouts. I’m not an artist, not a designer, and my mind goes completely blank when it comes to big picture things like decorating a room, much less a whole house. But I have always been very particular and choosy about what surrounds me in a roughly five foot radius from where I stand or sit. From the time I was a little girl, I’ve always had nooks and crannies and side tables piled up with all of my favorite things. And those things change all the time, depending on the season, my mood, what I’m reading, and so on.

A happy day. The sunflower mug was a gift from my sister and I love it!


In the home we’ve lived in for almost 18 years, I have three main “nook” areas I fussily tend to. One is the counter space by my coffee machine, where I have a vintage Brazilian tray with artfully stacked tea boxes, honey jars, and seasonal figurines or pictures. One is my writing desk in my bedroom and the tables and shelves next to it – stacked with books, pictures, and a variety of tchotchkes. But my favorite is right here where I’m sitting right now – in the dark green comfy chair and ottoman in the living room – and the side tables to my right and left.

At some point I started taking pictures of these little nooks. Lots and lots of them. I didn’t put them on Insta or share them with anyone, I just put them in a folder on my phone and occasionally enjoy scrolling through to see how my interests have changed, what books I was reading when, and how I was feeling on that particular day (one glance at a picture from five months ago and I can tell you I was in the middle of a flare with RA, for example).

Messy table and cereal for dinner. Clearly not a “feel good” day.

I’m creating a category for them here on my blog to use it as a springboard and picture journal to take notes on what I’m reading, pondering, working on, learning, and so on. I fervently wish I had started taking “side table pictures” when I was in high school. What an awesome (heh) record I’d have of the many seasons of my life!

Mail from a pen pal and the first PSL of the season – this was a fantastic day!