The people who write for Just Vibe Houston–like this city itself–are crazy interesting!
I sat down with our book reviewer, Kelly Sen, a few days ago, and she answered the question that’s been burning in all of our minds.
But before we get to that, let’s hear a little more about her.
Q. Tell me about you, Kelly. Where did you grow up?
A. I am from a little town in Wyoming, Casper Wyoming. When I was about 8 they (my parents) moved to Houston, so I grew up in Spring. My parents still live in the house I was raised in. I went to Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball and then I went to A&M and did my undergrad there.
Q. Did you feel like you lived in Houston growing up, or did you feel like you lived in a small town?
A. I felt like I lived in Houston. My parents gave us a lot of independence, so my sister and I would load up the car, and we would go to Buffalo Exchange on Westheimer in the Montrose area, and it was like a big adventure. We’d go see concerts at Numbers. We were very aware that we lived in a big city, but our day-to-day community was much more suburban.
Q. When you have a family will you live in the suburbs?
A. It’s so crazy because now I live in the neighborhood that I thought was so cool when I was growing up. I’ll be honest, when I was in college I never thought I would move back to Houston. I thought Austin was so much cooler, or I always thought I would end up in California.
Now that I live in that neighborhood that I loved so much growing up, it’s the only place I ever want to live.
Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I still dream of having some sort of showroom with textiles and I would do design out of the back. My second choice would have been an English Professor. But I did what I thought my parents wanted me to do and I went to law school. I think I would have been an okay mediator, but I am a classic Libra, and I am super into balance and order and diplomacy. I did family law and that was just not for me. I got burned out very quickly.
Q. How did you transition into fashion?
A. I decided I would take one year off from law, give my brain a rest and break some bad habits. I just wanted a simple job, so I got a job at Kuhl-Linscomb and I worked there for a little bit. Then I got offered a job at High Fashion Home and that’s when my real exposure to design started. Organically people started asking me to come to their houses, and through word of mouth I started getting clients, and so then I got certified through the University of San Francisco.
Q. When did you become a writer?
A. I’ve always loved writing. I must have been like 10 when I asked my mom if I could take a creative writing class over the summer at this book store, and ever since then I’ve always had a journal of some sort. I still write letters with one of my aunts that lives in Wyoming.
Q. What’s your favorite kind of thing to write?
A. A lot of it is journaling. I’ll get up and I’ll just start writing whatever comes to me, even if it’s a list, even if it’s random thoughts, and from there I’ve been able to find writing prompts and dig into that and expound on one of those ideas.
Really, I just like words and I like playing with words.
Q. Tell me a little about your life here.
A. I’m married to Sam, we’ve been married for two and a half years. We met five years ago at High Fashion Home when he was a customer. We live in a townhouse, we have a renter, she lives on the 3rd floor and she’s very sweet.
We love to travel, we love to eat out, we love to go to random theater productions. We are active in our church, and we spend a lot of time with my family. Sam has two adult kids who live here. They are very sweet wonderful human beings and we do a lot of stuff with them. That’s been a really big blessing in my life.
Q. What is your favorite thing about Houston?
A. I am extremely proud of this city and how diverse it is, how multicultural it is, and how inclusive it is. I think it’s one thing for there to be a lot of different cultures living together, but in Houston you’ll walk into a restaurant and it’s like colors of the rainbow. Everybody is sitting with everybody and people are just so open.
We’re not much to look at, but there are pockets that are really pretty, and if you know where to go there is always something new to discover. I think I’ll stay here.
Q. What’s something new you’ve recently discovered?
A. The Sputnik House. There is a neighborhood over by Hobby Airport that was developed in the 50s and 60s called Glenbrook, and all of the houses are so unique and mid-century. There’s a house there called the Sputnik House because the guy that first had it has this huge Sputnik light right in front. Houston’s full of that. There are just little pockets of awesomeness in our city.
Q. What do you hope readers are getting from your column?
A. I hope they are getting inspired to maybe pick up a book if they haven’t done so in a while. I try to pick things that would appeal to a wide variety of people and I hope people are getting ideas for what to put on their bookshelf. I hope it opens up a conversation about books.
And now for that question that’s been burning in everyone’s mind: What in the world does Just Vibe Houston even mean, anyway?
Here’s Kelly’s answer:
What Just Vibe Houston means to me is a diversity of cultures and art and a lifestyle of finding hidden gems throughout this great unique city.