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Virginia Living Magazine Best of Virginia 2012 Express Best 2010


I’ve saved Preston for last for a reason. I’m not sure how to describe this person that means the world to me. She is not only the store’s manager but my most trusted friend and confidant. She is the Tonto to my Lone Ranger, the Pancho to my Cisco, the Sundance Kid to my Butch Cassidy. She is the wind beneath my wings.

So you can see this was a difficult task. How do you describe Preston…?

Preston is a perfect balance of opposing forces. She exhibits grit as well as grace. She can wield power tools and an artist’s brush with the same dexterity. From the outside her life seems to be total chaos but really it’s organized and efficient. She is an old soul who is equal parts naive and child like. I swear she can remember being in the womb but can never find her keys or cell phone (see #20 below). She is a giggly girl who prefers wood with her leather instead of lace. She meticulously and lovingly feeds her son, James, healthy nutritious food but believes the five-second rule is okay. She got a perfect score on her math SAT yet has an impeccable eye for design. She is balance.

Preston keeps me balanced as well as sane. She is my sounding board when we plan and my co-conspirator when we execute. This store is as much her vision as mine. We are a team. As Preston says, we are life partners. I hope that’s true for there really is no other woman with whom I want to grow old.

I’m proud to introduce you to the amazing, fantastic, stupendous Preston Brown. Here are 25 things you should know about Preston in her own words…

1. To paraphrase Cesảria Ẻvora, “I was born without shoes. I will die without shoes. I don’t like shoes.”
2. My son, James, in addition to being the store mascot, is also an avid flea marketer and has attended both the New York Gift Show and High Point Market. Now that he outweighs a 12-gallon crock, those days are over!
3. My most random moment was probably Brendan Fraser teaching me to blow up double-balloons on the set of a film I was working on. Will Rutherford, you owe that trick to BF!
4. I have a deep and abiding love for monkeys of all ilk.
5. I have driven cross country 5 times, but never in more than 3 days so I still have a lot to see.
6. I refuse to own a pet that will fit in my shoe.
7. My dad and uncle tell me they are dead ringers for James Taylor and Sean Connery.
8. Donkey Kong. Enough said.
9. I am a keeper of one dog and one alien. Okay, technically she’s a dog, but over the years several people have raised doubts. More than one person has told me they think she has sized them up and found them lacking.
10. My favorite scuba experience was a night dive on the Great Barrier Reef. Turns out I had pneumonia and no business being in the water, but, man, it was worth it.
11. I feel incredibly lucky to work with some of my favorite people on earth. My Red Barn family is so incredibly supportive and fun. I love how much my village cares for me and James.
12. Office supplies = bliss! Call me a dork, but Russell+Hazel binders and accessories make me swoon.
13. I read a little bit of everything, but put any mystery in front of me—good, bad, or ugly—and I will devour it.
14. Cannot for the life of me make breakfast food. Yes, I can scramble an egg (or so I thought), but even Bisquick dies a slow, sad death when I am around.
15. I want a hedgehog.
16. I’m an enigma wrapped in a proverbial riddle . . . oh, wait, that’s my brother.
17. I can’t get anything done without music playing. Thank god I work in a store with a great soundtrack.
18. Apparently, I have a compulsive need to repaint. In the 3+ years I have been in my house, the dining room alone has gone through four color changes. Right now one wall is a giant chalkboard and the other three are Thundercloud Gray. I think this one might stick for awhile.
19. For 30 of my 32 years, I’ve been asking my dad for a pony. I think I’m over that now.
20. I can vividly recall specifics of at least two middle school oral reports, but I can never find my keys!
21. My favorite pieces of furniture could give you splinters.
22. Even though it has been 6 years, I still miss WHFS deeply.
23. I could eat sushi for every meal for the rest of my life and die happy. Except for that pesky mercury poisoning thing. Thanks for ruining that plan for me, Jeremy Piven.
24. I’ve lived in LA and Chicago, but this has always been home. I think I’m sticking around for good this time!
25. Someone once said to me that even though I live a most complicated life, the simplest things seem to make me happy. I think that’s true. Life is hard – why not enjoy the small moments.

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