Too Short for Local Natives: Kristine Hull of Stock and Stone
I had the pleasure of meeting with Kristine Hull from Stock and Stone a few weeks ago. She's a fellow Raleigh inhabitant making her way through every local crevice she can find in her city. Kristine is still searching for that one thing that will bring her life plan together; aren't we all? Right off the bat, I could tell Kristine had a storyteller quality to her. She expresses herself through her words, and her personality shines bright. I can definitely say she has a more positive outlook on life than me. She is more ying while I'm more yang.
It's always refreshing to meet a local blogger closer to my age and with similar creative interests. Kristine also shares my love of exploring and trying new things from every nook and cranny, which is why we ended up meeting at one of our mutual favorite places, the North Carolina Museum of Art. We took photos and shared stories. I asked Kristine some questions and she gave me some very insightful answers.
1. Give me your best 30-second introduction. What should we know about you?
I'm an extremely friendly introvert. I love cooking, I'm obsessed with all things Anthropologie, and I love my tea collection.
2. What inspired you to create Stock and Stone, and what’s the inspiration behind the name?
I created Stock and Stone out of a need for expression. I had encountered a major life change - I had lived in Belgium for over a year while going to law school and when I came back, my world was upside down. I went from living in a beautiful apartment overlooking a beguinage (where lay religious women lived) from the 1200s to moving back in with my parents and living in my childhood bedroom.
I felt lost. Belgium hadn't gone as expected and I was floundering for awhile without a job or, quite frankly, a life plan.
"That's where Stock and Stone came in--it helped me find an outlet for my creativity."
As I got back on my feet, it continued to be a place I could go to share photographs, craft stories, and write whatever was on my mind. It really wasn't until recently that I began trying to mold it into a creation of its own, rather than letting it merely be a conduit.
The name actually comes from an old folk tale. It's one of my favorites--The Golden Bird by The Brothers Grimm. The exact phrase is "And away he went over stock and stone, til his hair whistled in the wind." I loved how whimsical the phrase felt as well as how it took on different interpretations. For me, when I hear "Stock and Stone", I think of cooking and baking. I think of earthiness, of returning to your roots. There's something very "homelike" about it and the imagery it creates for me personally. I felt like it fit.
3. How long have you lived in Raleigh? Tell me something you love about this city and something you dislike.
I've been in the Raleigh/Cary area for the past twenty years. I'm originally from Michigan, but the South has certainly taken me into its loving arms. One thing I love about Raleigh is how it's constantly changing. I can't tell you how much even Hillsborough Street has changed since I graduated college. I feel like it's still trying to mold an identity- struggling between the Old South and the new millennia, and that's a really cool process to watch. Raleigh is also filled with incredible people- kind- hearted, generous, loving individuals. And I think you can feel that when you come here.
One thing I get frustrated with is trying to find your way into the creative community. It can be a bit cliquey at times, especially for people who weren't born and raised here. I also sometimes feel like there's a bit less freedom than in places like New York and Paris. If you wear something really show-stopping, you're going to get attention, whether you want to or not. In big cities, everyone is kind of jaded- it's really hard to ruffle their skirts. No one is going to be shocked if you wear MC Hammer pants and stiletto heels and dye your hair purple in NYC, while in Raleigh you're probably going to get a few looks headed your way.
4. What do you think of the Raleigh culture? What advice would you give for anyone who is new here or is trying to fit in?
Raleigh culture is constantly changing and that has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. It can be hard finding your niche here, especially as a post college graduate. The best thing to do in my opinion is to go out of your comfort zone and talk to people. Make an effort to really get to know the area. Stop by the bakeries, attend as many First Fridays as you can, go to as many events as possible downtown and really, really get to know the people that surround you.
You'll find some incredible stories. Just the other day I struck up conversation with my waiter at Standard Foods. We got to talking and he told me all about the history of the restaurant and the area of Person Street, and it was so cool to have that little window into the life of a place. People in Raleigh are friendly and are generally willing to help, so don't be afraid to talk to strangers. It'll help you discover the area and make some lasting friendships.
5. Do you see yourself living in Raleigh forever? If not, where would you go next? Any upcoming travel plans?
Probably not, to be honest. I've been here 20 years, but those have been dotted with frequent travels to Europe. I love Raleigh and it's a great place to come home to, but I'm not ready to settle down quite yet. I'd love to go to the West Coast for awhile and maybe even Canada, and I'm also not done seeing Europe. I still want to go to Iceland and spend some more time in France. We're actually planning a trip out to California in August, which I'm pretty excited for. We're going to rent a mini bus and go up to Big Sur, so that should be a nice little adventure.
6. How do you fill your days when you’re not blogging? Any hobbies?
I love to cook, and I also love photography, which takes up a good part of my day. Most of my days are spent wandering around Raleigh with my boyfriend, seeking out new adventures and new places.
7. Describe your photography style. What catches your eye and makes you want to take a photo?
I am not one for poses. I suck at directing people to pose their bodies a certain way. I definitely prefer the more spontaneous kinds of photos where you see genuine emotion in the faces. Portraits are my favorite, but going even more specific, I love taking photos of couples. There's something about seeing people in love that gives me so much life, it makes taking photos so much easier. I'm definitely a romantic, and I love hearing all the types of love stories. I'm also obsessed with good lighting- nothing like a little golden hour to really set the mood.
8. The blogging world has gotten pretty big now with so many different voices to hear from! Do you have any mantras or advise for anyone who wants to start blogging or photography?
Be you. It's so easy to get caught up in the blogging/photography world and lose a piece of your identity. Everyone has flatlays, everyone has white backgrounds and natural lighting and pastels. It can be really hard to look at that and become discouraged if you don't fit the mold. I think it's important to remember what makes you different and to really expand on that. Remember, "Envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide." Read a lot of Ralph Waldo Emerson and find your voice. Also, don't be afraid to experiment with what that is, exactly. Try new things, don't limit yourself. It's the best way to find your voice and grow.
9. I love that you love exploring and eating at new places, but you also have your favorite go-to's. If you had to plan a day for someone who has never been to Raleigh, where should they definitely go?
Oh my gosh, everywhere! But seriously, I would say start your day out with a big breakfast at Big Ed's or with a baguette at LucetteGrace and wander around City Market for a bit. Make your way over to the NC Museum of Art for a quiet afternoon of wandering the galleries and their outdoor exhibits. If you're lucky, you'll be able to stay into the evening for wine and live music or a movie outdoors. If art isn't your thing, head over to Sitti for some amazing Lebanese food, or to Brewery Bhavana for a truly unique experience- it's a brewery, bookshop, flower shop, and dimsum restaurant all in one! Raleigh has so much to offer, explore as much as possible and you'll be certain to fall in love.