It’s always exciting when a mom gets a glimpse inside her daughter’s world! Ellen recently visited Jenna in her new hometown, Atlanta, where she got to see Jenna’s apartment, office and neighborhood. In this week’s post, she shares the importance of understanding a daughter’s day to day life:

I’ve always loved visiting Jenna on her own turf because it gives me a glimpse of her everyday life. Seeing where she lives, meeting her friends and visiting her place of work or study makes me feel a part of her life, and her home begins to feel like my home. Because of the distance, almost all my visits involve one or two overnights so I get to experience her life day and night.

Since Jenna left for college, she has lived in five places and a variety of apartments and houses: three different housing arrangements at University of Maryland, a flat in Rome for a semester year abroad, three apartments in Washington D.C., a high-rise apartment downtown Philadelphia and now, a one-bedroom place in Inman Park, an Atlanta neighborhood.

Thinking about Jenna’s living experiences over the past five years, I think her new home in Atlanta is the perfect choice. Jen’s apartment is located in a young and trendy neighborhood with fun restaurants and bars, gym, yoga studio and parks all within walking distance. Her apartment is probably the nicest one she’s lived in so far because it’s newly renovated with granite kitchen countertops and wood floors, and has a dishwasher, washer and dryer. And the complex has a pool, which is important in Hot’lanta!



Jenna decorated her apartment carefully and added personal touches reminiscent of her other homes: loads of books and photos of friends and family lined up on shelves. I was happy (and honored) to see that Jenna hung several pieces of art that I either made or bought for her. In fact, a large pastel and calligraphy turtle that I asked an artistic friend to make for Jenna’s 25th birthday hangs prominently in her kitchen. It makes me feel important and I like that there are plenty of “Mom reminders” in her apartment :).


While Jenna unpacked and set up her apartment on her own, I was happy to be able to contribute with some important finishing touches. While she was at work, I put my assembly skills to good use and put together four Ikea dining chairs. (Yay, Mom!) I also hung a mirror and some art in her bedroom. Jen was pleased when she came home to see her walls complete and the remaining boxes cleared out. It was truly beginning to feel like home.

Jenna had told me about her tiny terrace, but nothing prepared me for the miniature space that hangs out her living room window –it is sliding-door-width and about 2 ft. deep! But Jenna made the most of her outdoor space by finding two chairs and a folding table that just fit.  While I visited, we enjoyed breakfast on the terrace overlooking a pretty tree-lined street.


Jenna’s apartment is right off Atlanta’s BeltLine and she was eager to show me what a revitalization gem it is. The BeltLine is a former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta which is under development in stages as a multi-use trail. We walked the BeltLine to Ponce City Market for lunch – a massive new development located in a historic building that houses stores, restaurants, boutiques, offices and residential units. That day, I quickly got a sense of the Atlanta vibe that drew Jenna to the city: young, active, hip, casual, revitalized.

In addition to seeing Jenna’s apartment and neighborhood on this trip, I was also able to check out where she works. World 50, the company where Jenna works, is located in a modern office complex with a beautiful courtyard of outdoor spaces to hang out – bistro tables around a fountain, comfy seating on grassy areas, even a bench swing hanging from a shade tree. Jenna tells me that there are lush walking trails surrounding the buildings where employees walk and run at lunchtime. What a great environment to work in!

This was a short first visit, but an important one. Now, when we talk on the phone, I can picture her in her environment and she doesn’t seem so far away. I also experienced how easy it is to hop on a plane and enter her world. I look forward to my next visit when Jenna can share more of her new life with me.