Thursday, December 31st, 2020
  • I worked from at least seven different desk spots in 3 different rooms.
  • I considered seeking professional counseling early this year, and did not follow through. I sometimes wish I had, and still consider it often.
  • I listened to Nik practice the drums nearly every day of the year.
  • We went inside the Pyramid in Memphis that is now a Bass Pro Shop.
  • We slept in an A-Frame with friends on the lake in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
  • We visited the Hot Springs National Park.
  • We saw Brandi Carlile live at the Ryman!
  • I canceled three flights. Denver. Boston. Albuquerque.
  • I went to the inaugural Art Ball in a lovely dress and met another female architect wearing the SAME dress! We hugged.
  • I subscribed to and canceled Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO, and YouTube TV.
  • I finally had a movie night in my backyard, and we watched Hamilton! (see Disney Plus above)
  • We had dinner at Tailor, and loved it.
  • We introduced a second cat into our home.
  • I worked with a team to complete the restoration of over fifty 100-year old steel windows, and was interviewed by a magazine for the restoration of those windows.
  • I bought Eames furniture from a friend just in time to set up my home office.
  • I might have worked in an office outside of my home for the last time.
  • We saw my nieces play volleyball.
  • I climbed to the top of a hill in Whites Creek with friends to see the Nashville skyline.
  • I climbed inside a silo.
  • I went to an MLS soccer game, and had so much fun that I bought season tickets. Then the season was cancelled.
  • My mom got us season tickets to see the performances at TPAC, and we didn’t get to go to a single one because the season was canceled.
  • There was a tornado in our neighborhood. A huge tornado that damaged hundreds of homes and businesses. That leveled the sanctuary of the church that my grandparents founded. That left huge sections of the city impassible due to downed trees and power lines. You can still see the damage 9 months later. The neighborhoods will never be the same.
  • I ordered seeds from a seed catalog, and planted maybe half of them.
  • I organized an office volunteer day to sort supplies for those who needed them.
  • We had a final dinner at Rudie’s that we didn’t know would be a final dinner.
  • I worked from home because I had to. Not because I wanted to, and then decided that perhaps I want to forever.
  • I took a vacation and spent it working on my house, not traveling.
  • I had facetime calls on a weekly basis for a little while with my immediate family.
  • I cut Mimi’s hair in her kitchen not knowing it might be the last time I would be with her in her home.  
  • I had facetime calls on a weekly basis for a little while with my immediate best friends.
  • I took naps in the middle of the work day.
  • I learned what it meant for the world to be overtaken by a pandemic.
  • I ordered groceries for curbside pick up once.
  • I bought hand sanitizer. I honestly don’t think I ever had before.
  • I was part of a team that went from seeing each other every single day, to only seeing each other via a video camera once a week. We made the new normal successful.
  • We held our chicken, Repecka, on her final day.
  • I designed a sectional sofa.
  • I stopped using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning.
  • For most of the year, my desk was next to a window that I could open any time I wanted.
  • We planted garden herbs and vegetables in the front yard.
  • I made monkey bread.
  • I made a photo book of our 2014 life, and started making one of 2015.
  • I downloaded and used a plant identification app.
  • We played Pandemic during a pandemic.
  • I hand dyed cotton napkins in the Japanese shibori style.
  • I made face masks, and then wore them in public to prevent myself from breathing on others.
  • I attended two virtual conventions.
  • I watched the Nashville Metro Council struggle through their first ever virtual meetings.
  • For the first time in Tennessee, I experienced that moment when you pull up to a job site and a building you designed has been built!
  • I built a window seat, and write in my journal while looking out towards the garden most days.
  • I hung my black and white vintage houndstooth curtains over an actual window.
  • I had a socially distanced dinner with my best friends in a park.
  • I watched the video of a police officer killing George Floyd.
  • We saw Burgess Falls from a pontoon boat.
  • I moved my office outside as often as I could.
  • I participated in a protest against racism and to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • I learned what ‘woke’ means.
  • I started walking remotely with my mom and sister most Saturday mornings.
  • I had days where I couldn’t stop crying and days where all I wanted to do was sleep.
  • I ordered a takeout dinner for 8 to enjoy in a Southern Living Idea Home.
  • We spent many Saturdays at Cook swimming and eating Doritos and Cheez-Its.
  • I decided to straighten my teeth.
  • I spent an entire day, dawn til dusk, at a client’s property simply to watch the sun.
  • We set up a hammock in the backyard.
  • I helped a neighbor decide what to do with his house.
  • Nik and I drove to and from Dallas together.
  • We visited my brother in his Dallas home.
  • I learned that Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away during my going away party.
  • I started my own architecture firm (Sinz Shadowens Architecture) with an amazing partner!!! We flipped a coin to decide whose name would be first.
  • My mom decided to sell her accounting firm.
  • I read books about racial injustice and inequality.
  • I looked for houses with my sister.
  • My yellow vintage chair was reunited with its sister.
  • I paid myself from the bank account of my own business.
  • I had a glass of bourbon before riding a side-by-side up to the ridge to watch the sunset.
  • We camped on an island, and got there via kayak.
  • I hand painted the walls of our stair making my daily commute much more pleasant. 
  • I proudly introduced myself as the owner of an entirely female founded architecture firm, and enjoyed the excitement of new friends and clients who recognize that it is a rare thing.
  • I made cupcakes from scratch because my friends started turning 40. Did you know it is nearly impossible to make black icing?
  • I went to the liquor store at least three times in a single year, which is a record for me.
  • I now hold an architectural license in four states. CA, TN, AL & MS
  • I found teal blue Fostoria glasses for my Aunt days after her 60th birthday.
  • We had a celebration dinner in the parking lot under a tent of a nice restaurant instead of inside the nice restaurant. It wasn’t the same.
  • I climbed on our roof to hang Christmas lights because it was easier that way.
  • Nik and I both illustrated a Christmas card.
  • We introduced a third cat into our house! Welcome, Brutus.
  • I acquired a set of Homecrest outdoor chairs. Thanks Mom!
  • I started to read at least fifty books, and probably finished 30.
  • Me and my three closest friends maintained a near daily text message chain.
  • I did not fly.
  • I put fewer miles on my car than any prior year ever.
  • Since March, I can count the number of times I have eaten at a restaurant outside on two hands, and inside on one.
  • Nik got a gaming computer, and gamed a lot.
  • I finished a knitted blanket with all of my leftover yarn that I started at least three years ago.
  • We hung Nik’s mom’s starburst mirror over our mantle.
  • I laughed with Nik as he wrote, produced, filmed and edited his Pile of Wit episodes I, II, and III.
  • The circle of people I saw this year was smaller than it has ever been before.
  • I looked at stats for Covid nearly every day and was constantly surprised and rarely impressed.
  • I watched Schitt’s Creek and Alone.
  • I bought stationary for the first time in a really long time.
  • Nik went on a one hour bike ride nearly every day.
  • Our cats drank from the water bowl at the base of the Christmas Tree.
  • I walked to Lovers Circle with a friend twice.
  • We had Christmas at my sister’s lake house for the first time.
  • A bomb was set off in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning.
  • I recognize that I have been privileged and blessed my entire life. I recognize that it is on me to turn that into good for as many people as I possibly can.

Cheers 2020! You’ve been really good and really bad. I’ve learned a ton about the world and about myself, so thank you. This truly is a before-and-after year, and I am happy to make the transition to after.

2021, I’m ready.

Nashville Now

Saturday, May 21st, 2016



When we got back from our trip last year, we could have moved anywhere. Our biggest criteria was that we wanted to be closer to our parents in Nashville and Dallas. Next, we wanted to move somewhere that we had a pre-existing friend group. We had started from scratch in both Portland and San Francisco, and loved it, but didn’t want to do it again. Finally, we had to be able to find work to support ourselves.

We considered New York very seriously. We both have friends there from every phase of our lives, and many of those friends are like family. There would also be plenty of professional opportunities. The catch was that we would be moving to New York in the mindset that we would only be there for a couple years because we don’t want to be financially tied to both of us working full time forever. It would also mean we would not see our parents any more often. And it gets freakin cold there.

We considered Asheville, North Carolina and possibly Charleston, South Carolina. We visited Asheville and decided it was too small for either of us to love working in the mountain town. Nik has some very close family friends living there, but it just didn’t feel right. It’s an amazing place to visit, and we plan to do so often, but it’s just not the place for us to live. We never made it to Charleston, and since neither of us had friends or family there, it was off the list pretty quickly.

We considered Dallas. Nik’s parents are there, he as a few good friends from high school that are still there, and I’m sure that he has more ties that would have surfaced if we had landed there. For some reason though, my pull to Nashville was extremely strong. It is possible that I will always feel a little bad for swaying us away from Dallas.

We considered Nashville. My home town had been high on my list from the very beginning, but this was a big move so it had to be a joint decision. I have a lot here, but Nik doesn’t. I know that what’s his is mine, and what’s mine is his, but still. On the family side, my father’s family has been here since he was born and they all stayed, and my mom’s family has been here for 5 generations. My roots are deep. Also, my sister lives 2 hours away and 6 months ago, my brother lived 4 hours away, so being close to them was quite a draw. On the friend side, four of my best girlfriends are here. We have been tight since 4th grade, and they all have growing families here. Also, a large group of close friends from college have been here since we graduated, which serves two functions: friendship and professional opportunity.

I want to say that I was open to all of the other options, but deep down, I knew that Nashville was really where I wanted to be. It also helped that I had three fantastic interviews with great architects here within two weeks of us getting back from our trip. Nik also had a few interviews, but they all led him to believe what he already knew. Advertising in Nashville is not advertising in San Francisco, LA, New York, or Portland. If we were to stay, his expectations would have to adjust. Then when it became clear that I was going to receive an offer for a dream job, we decided to give Nashville a chance.

Nine months later (no child, sorry), Nashville is better that either of us expected. We see my parents at least once a week and my sister about once a month, my friends have quickly become Nik’s friends, and work has been pretty dreamy. We have also accepted adult responsibilities like owning a home and cars that we are enjoying for the time being.

Who knows how long we’ll be here, but I’m glad we are.

Uncle Don and Dad checking out a Chevy

Uncle Don and Dad checking out a Chevy

Adams, TN...forgotten

Adams, TN…forgotten



Our closest mountain range

Our closest mountain range

Fall colors so beautiful we all want to paint them

Fall colors so beautiful we all want to paint them

Watching my niece tend goal

Watching my niece tend goal

Colorado Huck Finn

Colorado Huck Finn

The sweet smell of tobacco smoking

The sweet smell of tobacco drying



The 6 1 5 + Making Stuff

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The 6 1 5

The 6 1 5

I have been fortunate to be able to go on little trips almost every two months this year. In September, I took a solo trip to the 6-1-5 (aka Nashville) to see my family and attend my cousin’s wedding. We had a mini Sinz reunion with almost all of the immediate family and grandkids. Nik was the only one missing, but having 11 of 12 there for a whole weekend was pretty fantastic. My sister, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and I even got to go out after the wedding for drinks without kids!!! It might have been the first time that we have ever done that, and we all decided that it should happen more often.

The old Marathon Automobiles building, and the new home to Antique Archaeology

Also, I requested a trip to Antique Archaeology…you know…the place where Mike and Frank of American Pickers fame sell their wares? So my entire family (parents, brother’s family, Aunts, and Uncles) loaded in cars and met there as soon as they opened on Saturday morning. Well, the location was awesome and it was really cool to see some of the stuff from the show, but the shop is more gift store/museum than pickers paradise. And the place was PACKED. We luckily got there right when they opened on Saturday morning, but if we had waited half an hour, we would have had to wait in line. To get into a gift store. Seriously?? But I bought my American Pickers sticker and my dad and brother geeked out on all the old motorcycle engines on display, so it was worth the early wake up call!!

My dad explaining the intricacies of the Indian motorcycle engine sitting at his feet

Niece and Nephew being adorable

After the weekend in Nashville, I went to Kentucky to help warm my sister’s new home. This is the home they see themselves living in for the rest of their lives, so I wanted to be there in the beginning. My nieces are sure to have incredibly fond childhood memories of the house, and I was able to participate in a few of their very first ones. We spent a couple afternoons doing cart wheels and dance moves in the backyard. One evening we raked huge piles of leaves that they jumped in without realizing that the leaves were peppered with dog poop. (The joy of being an aunt is that I didn’t have to clean them up afterwards!!) Then one evening my niece rode her bike for the first time without training wheels!!!!!

R taking her first ride with her Mom and Dad following closely

A Spinning

(A. specifically requested a spinning photo of herself after seeing the one Nik made of me here.)

I was also treated to a couple days of sister-sister bonding time. We went to the American Quilt Museum in downtown Paducah and saw one of the coolest collections of vintage quilts. We had lunch at a cute little bakery after listening to part of the city-wide cell phone walking tour. Then we went to a fabric store where Keisha and I picked fabrics for a quilt that I will be making for their family. Now that my week with my sister is over, I miss her more than ever.

The generator room for an old bunker at the Presidio

A condemned military prison

In other new and exciting bits from San Francisco, I have spent some quality time in the Presidio lately, I have been sewing a ton, and I am about to take my final test to become a licensed architect next week. My days are busy and varied, just the way I like them.

The sewing process

A quilt I made for my parents 40th Anniversary and 60th Birthdays


Star Quilt (the back)- I am making this one out of scrap fabric for Nik and I

BEFORE / AFTER – Today I rescued an old wool sweater from Nik’s donation pile, and made myself one super cozy, slim fitting sweater.

The next time you hear from me, I will have gone on our BIG TRIP OF THE YEAR!!!!!! We are going to Japan for two weeks over Thanksgiving…that’s less than two weeks away!!! We cannot wait.

Page 1 of 3123