Wednesday, December 28, 2016

See ya Later 2016!


About a month ago I got to thinking about how 2016 wasn't such a great year for me. I mean it was filled with blessings and amazing things like me growing my personal business and the birth of our daughter, but it was also filled with some seriously challenging times. My daughter was sick for about the first half of 2016, we had family challenges in the second half, and we had to balance going from a full time family of three, to a full time family of five - that can be stressful - both emotionally and financially! And don't even get me started on the whole election...

Then a couple weeks went by and I started seeing all these posts on social media about how everyone couldn't wait to say 'Boy Bye' to 2016. Which got me thinking about how shitty the year has been for a ton of people I know.

I have had family and friends diagnosed with cancer. My friends and family have buried husbands, wives, siblings, loved ones, and dear God, their children. Marriages have crumbled, life savings vanished, and countless other unfortunate events that have turned 2016 in the perpetual year of turd balls.

Overall my adult life has been pretty good and I honestly do not have much to complain about. I am healthy and happy and blessed with supportive and loving family and friends - but it doesn't mean that I am not ready to say hello to 2017.

I become pretty emotional and sappy as every year comes to a close. I feel older, sometimes wiser, and often times closer to achieving many (OK a few) of my goals. So I share with you one of my goals for this year to come:

I promise to do whatever it takes to make 2017 an amazing year - both for myself and for all whom I love. I am going to start the year off giving - I will try and make an extra phone call to an aunt a week or pick up a coffee for my hubby on my way home from errands. What better way to receive than to give whole heartedly? I want to be a better person this year by forgiving a little more, loving a whole lot more, and giving what I can - even if it's just a smile - to someone who needs it an deserves it.

I also promise to try and watch less TV but I am already so excited about January's lineup - oops!

So join me as we 'Bye Felicia' 2016 right on out of here and welcome one of the best years yet! Blessings to you all!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I Make Mistakes as a Mom...

It seems to be that I very rarely hear parents say 'I made a mistake'. Maybe you are like me, someone who was raised by parents whom I idolized, who could do no wrong. I had a great childhood and my parents did everything in their power to raise a well balanced and strong woman - I like to think they succeeded.

I have a shit ton of worries as a mother. I don't know if any of them take the cake. I would say just keeping them alive is my biggest worry but I stress about making sure I don't raise little meanies that grow up to be bigger assholes (pardon my jargon tonight - I've had a glass or three of wine this evening). I worry about raising kind humans but humans who aren't afraid to kick a little butt when necessary. I want to raise a son who goes on to be a gentleman who treats women like queens and I want to raise my daughters to be queens who rule the world. But, let's be honest, I don't always get it right.

I juggle a lot in my everyday. I have three full time kids, a dog who drives me nuts, a husband who I adore and wonder what I would do without, and my writing career on top of my full time marketing career (both of which I love equally). Tonight I experienced a moment that caused me to reflect on my actions as a mom and my mission to raise well balanced kids.

My eldest kiddo was assigned a large project for school two weeks ago. She has been working on it and I have been reviewing and helping her with it over the last week. She realized today that she was missing a part of the assignment and there was a good chunk of work still that needed to be done. We started working on it and she went down to her room to work on it on her own and like many other teenagers, she tried and was moving at teenager pace. Slow. Not because she couldn't do the work but because teenagers are teenagers and the paint on the wall can be distraction enough to deter from any real progress. So after about 30 minutes I went in to check on her and...

"What do you mean you only answered one question? You will be in here all night and into the middle of the night at this pace!........." (you can use your imagination on the rest) She refused to let me help her and insisted she could do it herself and that I wasn't helping her. I instantly knew I made her feel awful and it killed me.

Needless to say, I handled it wrong. I only added extra pressure to her already loaded plate. Try and remember how stressful it can be at the age of 14. There are so many things that worry our kids at this age. My freaking out at her progress only made her feel MORE stress.

After taking time to reflect and ask God for guidance I did something that parents don't often do. I apologized. I apologized for adding extra stress. I expressed how I just wanted to help her do her best. I told her how sometimes it's hard to be a parent and that I too am just trying to do my best. I told her how much I loved her and how proud of her I was. I asked her if she would let me help her and guess what? She finished her project with me by her side.

I hope that she realizes it's okay to be wrong. It's okay to be human and I hope that she respects me enough to know that I will always apologize when I am wrong. Just because I am the parent, doesn't mean I am without fault. Tonight taught me a few lessons on parenting teens and sometimes we just have to listen - sometimes those little brats are right.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Life Has Gotten Easier

In the light of the election, I find myself saying thanks for a whole lot of things in my life. I have also been on this serious Audible book kick and have listened to over 10 books within the last few months. I highly recommend it. I don't have a ton of spare time to read but I do spend time driving, and cleaning, and cooking and when I do, I try to multitask by listening at the same time. I also feel like it's the balance to my addiction to all things Real Housewives and Bravo (don't judge me).

I went out to dinner last week to celebrate two of my girlfriends' birthdays and found myself sitting across from a new mom who I had met once before while we were both pregnant. Her daughter is 6 months old and mine is 9 months. We got to chatting and swapping pics as well as tips and tricks and it was great chatting with her. We talked about how HARD raising a child can be, especially a newborn baby. We shared our daughter's blessings that can sometimes make our lives insanely challenging. We talked for a while and I think we both left that restaurant feeling a little bit better about life. I hope she has renewed faith that it does get easier and I felt an immense sense of relief knowing that I was not alone. It also was great just chatting with another open minded mom who many times said "Oh gosh that's a great idea I am going to try it!"

As my Madeleine is now mobile and crawling everywhere, our challenges are of the baby proofing kind and keeping her safe. She is happy and healthy now and life feels back to normal. We have her on a very specific formula and medication. It's what works for us and I am happy to report that she is now enjoying yogurt and cheese and loving every bite.

Looking back a few months I never would have thought that we would be here. That I would be taking her with me grocery shopping, that she would go out to dinner with us and that she would laugh out loud! Believe it or not, she barely laughed until about five months old and now, she giggles constantly.

We have also managed to dedicate more time to our son, who ever so graciously took a back seat while Madeleine was sick and never asked for anything from us. We also have added another big (yet fantastic) change to our family. My middle step-daughter now lives with us full time and is a freshman in high school! She moved in this past summer and has been my saving grace let me tell you! Going from one child full time to three full time in a matter of months has not been without challenge but the blessings WAY outweigh anything else.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

So Trump is the Next POTUS?

So, that just happened huh?! I will preface this post with the fact that I voted for a third party candidate, as I generally tend to do. I didn't vote for Trump OR Clinton - so keep any angry comments to yourself.

 I am not a political expert by any means so I can't even begin to wrap my mind around what's to come but I do know that I am praying. I will say that while I am extremely disappointed in our choice, I am also hopeful. What else am I supposed to be? I am hopeful that Trump will remember he is a father and that his daughters could go on to run this great country some day. I hope he remembers the progress that has been made regarding women's rights and honor the fact that we can choose what we do with our bodies and that we are EQUAL - in every way shape or form. I mean we 'run the world' right Bey?! I have hope that he takes a moment to think about me when he makes his decisions. Thinks about a mom who works her ass off to provide for my family. A family that consists of five children (albeit three full time), a dog, and a kick ass husband who suffers from a disability he obtained while also working his ass off. A human being that has anxiety about raising compassionate and kind humans who will go on to change the world. I stress about bills, college funds, and what to make for dinner in under 30 minutes. I represent so many of America's citizens so I hope and pray he thinks of me.

What I am also hopeful for is for America to come together and unite after this election. We have a new President. We have to stand together and support our new POTUS and give him a chance to prove us wrong (or right if you are a supporter). He needs the opportunity to do right by us. We are supposed to be kind, open-minded, flexible, and empathetic and we need to be KIND TO ONE ANOTHER.

I am hearing of so much crime being committed by alleged Trump supporters. Crimes against Black people, crimes against Muslim people, crimes against the LGBQT community etc. etc. This cannot happen. We cannot digress 70+ years, and this does not happen overnight. If you are a parent and you are not teaching your kids that we are all equal then try and do better. Think back to the time your ancestors came to America or to the New World if your family has been here a while. Unless you can without question trace back your roots to the Native Americans, then you too have immigrated to this fine country. Regardless of where you came from, we are all humans.

Let us all (and I mean each and every friggin one of us) come together and support this great nation! Cut the shit people and love one another because love conquers hate. If Trump, Clinton, and Obama can all treat this with grace and poise, so can't we. United we stand...divided we fall.

And to the protesters: be peaceful and calm and keep fighting for what you believe in. Keep your hands to yourself and don't damage property - you know, the basics.  I'm here sipping wine trying to not freak out OK?

Image result for american flag

Monday, June 13, 2016

To My Kids, From Mom

We live in such a scary world and more and more I find myself so ridden with anxiety that I have to constantly pray about it. My husband and I decided to bring two little children into this world and sometimes I think it may perhaps be for my own selfish reasons. The desire to fill the urge to be a mother without thinking of the world they will be raised in. A world filled with anger and hate but I promise to show them love and to show them that only light can drive out darkness. So I 'pen' this letter to my kids and hope that someday I can fulfill each and every promise...

I promise to always hold you close.
I promise to always tell you how much I love you.
I will promise to kiss boo-boos and patch you up when you have scrapes.
I promise to always pick you up when you fall.
I promise to try my hardest to lead by example and be a version of a person I would be proud to become.
I promise to always demonstrate compassion and to teach you not to judge others.
I promise you that when I am tough on you its because I have a plan - a plan to make you a better human being - tough love sometimes is what you will need.
I promise to say sorry when I am wrong.
I promise to be your parent when you need me to be and to someday be your friend when you are ready.
I promise to teach you to have faith and to believe in our Lord, the Lord that shelters and loves all.
I promise to listen.
I promise to support you.
I promise that I will do everything in my power to protect you and when I can't, God will be there. Because he always has been. He gave you to me and held your soul before I held your body and I am confident that even when daddy and I cannot be there, you will always be protected and guided.

You both have a piece of my soul and always will.

Hold your loved ones close for tomorrow is never promised

#prayfororlando
#prayforeveryone

Monday, May 23, 2016

Diastasis Recti: AKA Mom Belly (AKA rude)

OK so I am blessed with diastasis recti and when I say blessed I am just trying to be nice to the Good Lord above because clearly he missed the memo that I was 'supposed' to have washboard abs my entire life with little to no effort.

For those who may not know what diastasis recti is, my interweb BFF WebMd describes it as follows:
“Diastasis recti” means your belly sticks out because the space between your left and right belly muscles has widened. You might call it a “pooch.”
It's very common among pregnant women. About two-thirds of pregnant women have it... Having more than one child makes this condition more likely, especially if they’re close in age. You’re also more likely to get it if you’re over 35 when pregnant, or if you’re having a heavy baby or twins, triplets, or more.

In other words, DR is bullshit. We women go through enough during pregnancy only to have a damn ever-lasting pooch just to remind us of the little gremlins that were feeding for nine months. As if my tiger stripes weren't enough. I personally carried both my kids very forward - I had a huge belly with both. With my son, I was just huge overall but with my daughter I gained FAR less weight and had just as big a belly - she was a bigger baby but still...

Some women carry more internally and don't have such big bellies which is fantastic as your abdominal muscles are under less stress. My separation is pretty severe - you can stick about three to four fingers horizontally between my separation (thanks kids). I also think I may have a hernia but whatever.

One thing I did and you can do to help heal DR is to wear a belly wrap or postpartum band as much as possible immediately after birth (so long as your doctor clears you) and for at least 8 weeks after. There are also a bunch of exercises that you can do in order to correct the condition - good news, crunches are a big fat no! Please see is link to my Pinterest Postpartum Board where I have a bunch of stuff pinned on the topic.

So I am sort of on the fence of maybe sharing my DR journey with you all. I am comfortable in my own skin but I don't know that I could show you my belly without cringing inside - the thought scares me! But I have taken pics so maybe after I am done I will do a before-and-after shot??

Anyways, ladies you are not alone - pooches UNITE!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An Open Letter to Justin Bieber

Dear Justin

My teenager step-daughter adores you. Like to the point that at one stage in her life I thought she may need a justirvention. We are passed that phase thank sweet baby Jesus but, she still loves you. Through the arrests, bad choices in women, and even those bad hair days.

And before you even say, "oh you're just some old hag mother." Kourtney Kardashian? Yeah, she's 37. I'm 34. EOD.

OK so you posted a message to your people on Instagram yesterday:




Let's chat about this. I am not famous so I can honestly say that I cannot relate to how you must feel. And I can only imagine that being one of the most famous young men in the world is incredibly hard especially when your fans are crazed teenage chickies. But I do know that when people choose certain professions in life they also choose what comes with it. Pros and cons, right? I know that my life in marketing comes with insanely long days during our conference season, but I also get the flexibility of working from home when I need to. Pros and cons. I know that life in the limelight is like living under a microscope where every single person is watching your every move, just waiting for you to mess up. That must be hard, so hard. Which is probably why I chose to live life in the light of my computer screen - just me...no thanks. 

But let's be real. You have EVERYTHING you have because of your fans. Those people who want pictures and who are now making you feel like a zoo animal. Like I said, I can't imagine how hard it may be, but those pictures are paying for your private jet. Those pictures are paying for your dye job. Those pictures are paying for your mansion. And those pictures are saving the lives of some teenage girls (and boys) who are holding on to life by the strings of your music. You are a public figure and your fans adore you. Be thankful for them. 


I understand not wanting to take pics - that's FINE. Tell your security no pics today and so they can keep back the masses. It's OK to just not feel it sometimes, but come on Justin, your fans have made you who you are today. Yes Ellen Degeneres had something to do with it but...


Think about your adoring fans and what must be running through their brains as they see you. I may act like a complete lunatic if I saw Channing Tatum walking the streets, let's be real. So have some compassion for your fans, a little bit of humility, and a whole lot of gratitude and you may find that sanity you are trying so desperately hard to keep. 


Oh and, put some god damn shoes on will you?! I may have walked barefoot once or twice to a cab after a night of dancing in 6 inch heels back in my 20's, but that was 2 AM and after some tequila and I know better now. I am not judging, just saying you could catch something...for real. Shoes. Or at least some damn socks...


Signed, 
A Boston Mom whose teen is coming to see you this week








Thursday, May 5, 2016

Parenting is 90%...

Ever heard that saying 'One is plenty, two is twenty'? Well I feel like it couldn't be more accurate. I do have a bunch of kids and maybe it's feels so crazy because Baby M has struggled her first few months of life but sometimes I feel like it takes everything I have to get dressed and look like a normal human being - sorry hubby!

I was just thinking the other day how I repeat the same phrases over and over in my house.

'Wash your hands.'
'Did you wash your hands?'
'Finish your supper.'
'You're not getting up until you finish your supper.'
'You aren't eating anything else because you didn't finish your supper.'
'Get your fingers out of your nose.'
'Did you flush?'
'Wash your hands.'
'Did you poop today?'
'Yay you pooped!'
'Shhhhhh!'
'The baby is sleeping...shhhhhhh.'
'Quiet!'
'Not right now.'
'Clean up your mess.'
'Shhhhhhhhhh!'
'When I finish my coffee...'

Sound familiar? It's like these phrases are on repeat...constantly. And I don't always say them just to the kids...the hubby has heard me 'shush' him a gazillion times. Anyone else?!

But...the best phrase of all however is 'I love you...' In the midst of the chaos and the madness, we tell each other we love each other more than anything. I may have spit up on me and my hair a mess while writing a report and sipping coffee while holding a three month old and not being able to remember the last time I showered but...this house is filled with love...always.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Now a Mom of Two...or Five...the Struggle

The day came...a cold winter morning that I gave birth to my second child and becoming a mom of two or five if you count my girls that aren't from my womb. I had such an amazing experience with my son and his first few months of life that I had set some high expectations for my daughter.

It was everything I could have prayed for and more. My baby was healthy and happy and our family was complete. I knew instantly that life was perfect and that all my prayers had been answered. My son was so happy with his baby sister and we were adjusting perfectly.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that things changed. Baby M started crying, a lot. We tried everything, gas medicine, incline sleeping, four different formulas, and every trick or tip someone would recommend but nothing helped. I continued breastfeeding and pumping and we were only using a bottle of formula at night, my trick for getting my son to sleep through the night. Nothing helped and we would hold our helpless screaming child and wonder what we were doing wrong.

Bedtime would take hours and I would feel defeated every single night. My husband and I would take turns. I would play music softly, then loudly, some lullabys then old school rap music. If it worked, it would only work for a little bit, enough for us to gather our bearings and breathe - only to try again until she finally would sleep. All the while we had another child to feed, to bathe, to take care of, to love... The worst part was knowing that she was in pain and not being able to fix it. She would burp or pass a bowel movement and feel better so you knew she was struggling. She would scream at the bottle, scream at the breast...it didn't matter, she was screaming.

As the days passed and she required more of me, and only me, I stopped pumping as much. After yet another doctor visit, we switched to soy formula. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for soy formula...turns out our little Baby M was lactose intolerant so she was sick from both my breastmilk and the formula and of course the milk based formula made it worse as it's more difficult for her to digest and I found myself giving her more formula because it was just easier than fighting her at my breast or sitting for another countless pumping session.

I didn't realize how sick my breastmilk was making her so I continued to give it to her and by week seven I was weaning because of the stress of producing enough to feed her and the fact that she was always fussy. I was making enough but I was constantly pumping...and had little to no time for anything else, including showering. When we realized that a bottle of breastmilk made her super sick after a few days without, we decided to stop breastmilk/feeding altogether. I wanted to make sure before I fully gave up and was even attempting to go back to exclusive BF but she just couldn't process the lactose in my milk - decision made.

The reason for this post is because I feel like not enough women talk about the trials of being a mom to a newborn. Everyone focuses on the beauty of childbirth and raising these gorgeous little beans and trust me, I feel so incredibly blessed and happy with our baby girl. But let's be real - this shit can be hard. Hard on my husband, hard on me, and especially hard on my baby girl who cried countless hours in pain...ugh the thought kills me.

I feel like we need to talk about the fact that some babies cry, a lot and some babies are lactose intolerant. We need to support each other when one mom says 'I just can't breastfeed anymore because I don't want to.' or 'I can't take the pressure anymore...'

It's OK for dads to lose it just as much as moms do. 
It's OK to yell at each other when nothing seems to go right. 
It's OK to lean on each other when you know you two are the only people who get it... 
It's OK to cry when you just don't know what else to do. 
And it's OK for you to ask for help. Luckily I am blessed to not have to deal with PPD on top of all of this but some women have more than just baby blues and that's OK too. 

It's not picture perfect and we need to stop pretending like it is. I feel like if more moms felt like they could be vulnerable and open up about just how hard it can be, then more women and children would be saved and live their versions of 'happily ever after' because there is a happily ever after for everyone! My life is amazing and I am so blessed with a wonderful and supportive husband and children whom I adore.

We have adjusted and our little girl is finally starting to shine - thanks to SOY!!

Update - we have since switched from soy to a hypoallergenic formula... sometimes there is no easy switch! Fingers crossed...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Compassion

Compassion is defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. I have always considered myself a compassionate person but it wasn't until most recently that I realized I was only truly compassionate when the situation I was being compassionate about was not directly affecting me. So when someone wronged me, I doubtlessly become annoyed and sometimes even angry with that person.

My mother always taught me that everyone is fighting their own fight. Everyone has their own trials and tribulations that are relative to themselves. So just because someone may not be fighting for their lives doesn't mean they aren't going through something really serious and something that may be devastating to them.

Nothing could be more true as I learned a little over seven years ago when I first met my husband (for the second time, more on that at a later date). He was struggling with learning how to have a positive and happy relationship after years in an unhealthy marriage. I had to remember where he was coming from and have compassion for him and his journey. Finding my best friend was well worth it but it was hard at first.

Think of someone that may have recently put you down. Someone who offended you or mistreated you. Perhaps it was a family member, a coworker, an ex, or a complete stranger. The following is easier said than done, I know - just try. Try to understand someone and their negativity and not condemn their behavior.


If others treat you badly, it's not about you, but it's about them and their suffering. Their suffering

You may have no clue whatsoever as to what their suffering is and why you are at the receiving end of their blows but know that there is a reason - and it likely isn't you. I am sure you have heard of the term projection - it is so true in far too many cases.

I think I am writing this post tonight as a reminder for myself. A little reminder to myself that sometimes no matter how good of a person you are and no matter how much good you do, it sometimes is bigger than you. So pray (if you pray), meditate, well wish, whatever it is that you do - think of the person who may be causing you strife today or tomorrow. Do something kind for them even if you have to do it anonymously. Truly hope that their suffering ends and they find peace and happiness. Even if it's the checkout person at the super market. There is a reason they are being a giant butthole. It's not your battle, it's theirs.

And remember, it's also OK to say you're sorry when you project your suffering. We are all guilty of this at some point or another. Sometimes saying sorry can be life changing.

Hoping everyone has an amazing and positive week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall 2015 Nail Trends

Many of you know that I almost never leave the house without two things, my phone and painted nails. I love the look of a fresh manicure! I tend to do my nails myself. And as some of you know, I am actually licensed and went to beauty school so I have the luxury of getting my hands on a ton of professional grade supplies!

I do love keeping up with New York Fashion Week (NYFW) especially nail trends. It seemed as though fads were all over the place this year - which is awesome because I love versatility! I am excited about the new looks for the fall - my favorite season!

Coppers/Metallics
Any metallic will fit into this category, even metallic blues, greens, and purples.





Nudes
Fleshy colored tones and golden hues are perfect for a more modest and demure manicure

My Fav: OPI's
Did You 'ear about Van Gogh?




Nail Art
I love me some nail art! I would be way more wild than I am with my nails if I wasn't in the corporate world - but you can still do nail art with class (see below). 





Bling
Want a little extra for girls night out? These nails may be a little much for some but I think they are fierce!




Plums/Burgundies 
I love this tone for the colder weather, actually any time of year. I love darks and I wear them religiously throughout the year. 

Essie Wicked

I love these looks - which are your favorite for the season?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Rant...and a Rave: Rowan Blanchard

I was raised in a family that promoted loving yourself no matter what. My dad was always extremely respectful towards women and my mother always encouraged me to love my body and to not be afraid to show it off, within reason of course, however I think I am more modest than my mother. I also never, ever started a diet until I was in my late 20's. Yes, I was blessed with good genes and luckily I never struggled with my weight. That paired with smart food selections made it easy - I also blame my parents, they are European and eat a diet of mainly fish, lean meats, and lots of veggies...and wine, we love wine!

OK I am getting way off topic for where I want this post to go. My point is, that children and teenagers should not have to worry about their weight. I believe as parents, we should demonstrate healthy eating habits for HEALTH not for looks. I also believe that even if your child has a little extra weight on him/her, they shouldn't be worrying about dieting. They should, if anything, be trying to make healthier choices with your direction as a parent. 

What kills me is that my step daughters know more about some of these fad diets than I do. There is way to much sexism going on teaching our young daughters that they need to conform to some bullsh*t media 'standard'. I cannot control what they are exposed to as they do not live with us full time, and let's face it, they are on social media - THE END. 


The rant is that people need to STOP pushing our baby girls to be something they are not. You got a big ol' booty, work it. You got thick thighs, strut em. You have bigger arms, lift heavy baby! Enough is enough and boy was I happy to hear about Rowan Blanchard's response to some DBag asking if she has any tips for teens who are dieting. Her response was far classier that I would have chosen but she most graciously responded with: “Try and reverse that,” she said. “‘Do you have any dieting tips 
for other teenage boys?’ I mean, come on.”

YES Rowan, YES! Being a teenager is already stressful enough in this day and age. That question is wrong, invasive, and CRAP - for anyone, especially teenage girls. They already have to worry about their ever changing bodies, emotions, family drama, friend drama, and most importantly - school!

Blanchard continues on by saying:
It’s inappropriate on so many levels. That makes other girls hate themselves or have eating disorders. We have to change all this. Girls tweeted me after [the] Christopher Kane [fashion show] being like, “Rowan, I liked the clothes, but all the models were this one way.” And I have to be like, “You don’t have to be that one way! You be you.” And again, I’m 13. The designer, the fashion industry — you’re the adults, the ones who can be telling girls, “You don’t have to be one way.” Magazines are starting to address it, which is smart. But we can all do more. I thought we’d see more plus-size models on the runway this season. We didn’t. That was a disappointment.

"The designer, the fashion industry — you’re the adults, the ones who can be telling girls, “You don’t have to be one way.” YES...This. Is. Everything!

We (society) have to be better about promoting beauty from within - we are all beautiful no matter the size. I hope to one day live in a world where NYFW models are every shape and size during their walk down a Balmain runway...one day! And we need more Rowan Blanchards in this world - well more people like her. She has her whole life ahead of her and something tells me that she is going to be setting the pace for change just fine. I can't wait to watch!

You can read the full article here: http://hellogiggles.com/rowan-blanchard-teens-dieting/

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Maternity Closet Essentials

Before I begin this post I just have to say a big thank you to my friends who have passed down  their maternity clothes so that I didn't have to go out and buy a bunch knowing this is my last babes...

With that, there are definitely a few maternity pieces that have become staples and I know will continue through the duration of my pregnancy. I am so happy that the cooler weather is here so that I can slip into leggings and sweaters - my favorite even when I am not preggers.

Below is a list of items that have become my staples. I like to mix my maternity clothes with regular clothes as you will see below. And also not on this list is a good sports bra - I'm sure you can guess why!

Leggings:
Yes Beth, leggings are pants...LOL. I have a few different pairs of maternity leggings and I think my favorite by far are the Old Navy brand. They are light weight enough and the panel on the belly is nice and comfy. I am a full panel kind of girl, the other cropped panel maternity pants give me this weird waist, not that I have a waist right now but, whatever - I don't like them ;-) They also have heavy weight leggings for the winter and I will be picking up a pair of those.


Tanks:
I love a comfortable tank top. I love to layer and wear these with leggings and a tunic or cardigan. Old Navy (again) has great ones that fit perfectly - not too short and with just the right amount of stretch. They are on sale right now too!
Yoga Pants: 
I work from home a lot so I wear a decent share of yoga pants. I love the basic Mossimo Foldover Yoga pant that you find at Target.  These are not maternity but with the fold over waist they are perfect. You can roll the waist up for full coverage or down - I love them! Of course because they are not maternity, they don't come with a maternity price tag!

Tunics/Flannels:
I love the look of an oversized flannel with leggings and boots. I have a few different ones from the Gap and Brandy Melville but this one from Forever 21 seems to fit the bill. You can wear them open and let your bump shine through. Paired with a chunky scarf and I am in autumn heaven! Another item that isn't maternity but chances are you have one in your closet already and can keep wearing! The same can be said for oversized sweaters and cardigans that I love to wear.


Jeans: 
A comfortable pair of maternity jeans is almost like an oxymoron right?! But, I think my most comfortable pair are from the Gap. They have a bunch of different styles so you are free to pick from whatever style you are most comfortable with!

What are some of your essentials?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Home Office/Walk-in Closet/Sanctuary

So one of the perks of moving was being able to turn an extra bedroom into what I have called my sanctuary for the past 10 months.

It was a dream of mine to be able to have a space like this - a space to fit my entire wardrobe (without having to switch seasonally), a space to work, and a space to just chill. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy it - now, I gladly am starting the process of converting the space to a nursery. I am sad to see it go but that means that I will just have to work to build a new space - somewhere in this house ;-)

Before it's a bedroom to Baby M I thought, 'why not preserve this golden memory forever with a blog post?' Alas, we are here.



This spare bedroom started off with light purple walls but essentially was a blank canvas for my imagination to run free.

I was able to repurpose an old dresser and wardrobe and I purchased a new desk, clothing/shoe racks and worked with an old filing cabinet that I provided a quick little makeover to!

I'll start by saying Amazon.com is my best friend. I am a long-time Prime member and always will be. I could not have done this closet on my budget had I gone to the Container Store or Home Depot - no offense to either but it just wasn't in my budget!

To start, I ordered two of these fantastic clothing racks - HIGHLY recomended. The bestie and I put them together in no time but someone can easily assemble alone. What's better than that? The fact that they were under $40 a pop!

I then purchased one shoe rack ($42) and one adjustable garment rack ($15) for longer items - all Whitmor and all from Amazon. 

Every item arrived within a couple of days (thanks to my Prime membership and FREE shipping) and was easy to assemble by myself. The shoe rack goes together as the top and bottom (two sections) and I now have separated the two sections: I am using the bottom in my closet that I have to share with the hubby (dumb) and I let my eldest daughter use the top half for her shoes - perfect solution to downsizing! I also don't use the casters so you can save for another DIY project (speaking of...where did I put those...)!

For my desk - I went to Ikea. I am pretty sure it was the very first item I ever purchased from Ikea that I had to put together. Yes - it was annoying, yes - the directions are without a single word, yes - I had wine. But even though I was originally overwhelmed by the directions, the desk went together quite nicely!  The desk is the perfect size for a smaller space and spacious enough to fit my printer, laptop, a million post-its, and five cups of coffee. Another steal at $80! I wanted to find an old desk and refinish but it was winter and cold and I didn't have time!


Lastly, was my filing cabinet. How I managed all these years of my life not owning a filing cabinet is beyond me because it was full instantly. I picked up this cabinet from one of my good friends who was clearing out some items (free) and I bought a roll of chevron contact paper and a can of gold spray paint that was lying around in my husband's workshop and VOILA!!! 

Random decor was from Hobby Lobby and Christmas Tree Shops - two of my favs!

So if you have any questions about how I turned this spare room into my little oasis, let me know! Stay tuned for the nursery transition! 









Friday, September 11, 2015

Two years

So it has been two years since I last blogged. I have blogged professionally for my alter ego (non silly Mel) but two years for Rants and Raves. A TON has happened over the last two years as you can imagine. I know I say this as if no one else has an exciting two years but, for real, a ton. We finally saved up enough money (and got our act together) to move home! After nearly five long years in Rhode Island, we moved back to a great small town in Mass! I can honestly say I don't miss much about RI except for the 'Gagas' or Cliff and Debbie. Tiny (our son) really misses his Gaga's which is short for grandma/pa. - he couldn't say grandma/pa when he started talking so it was cut to Gaga and it has stuck ever since.

Our new home is sort of picture perfect - we have a picket fence (not yet white), a ton of space, a giant yard, and we are on a cul-de-sac which is great for the kids. I am so grateful that they can just go out and play and I don't have to be out front like a hawk-eyed mamma bear ready to pounce on anyone who flies by my house trying to beat traffic. Tiny and the girls just play for hours and I can say that I have spent my fair share of time out in the yard as well.



The move went super smoothly - thanks to me being a real adult and actually hiring movers. We had cable ready and set up the very next day and within two weeks we were totally moved in and settled - we couldn't have done it without our amazing friends and family!



It was also our first winter as homeowners and in case you forgot (or you live somewhere warm - jerk) we experienced Snowmageddon. God, it was AWFUL! I honestly have never seen anything like it in all of my 33 years and I am not even exaggerating as it was a legit, record breaking winter. We made it through, ice dams and all. Which, by the way, I didn't even realize are real thing - I had no clue they actually existed the bastards. My husband is a saint for putting up with my panic day in and day out through two months of hellish weather.

And now - we are winding down a fantastic and busy summer as we prepare for a new addition to our family! Baby M is arriving early 2016 and we couldn't be happier! I will be blogging about the nursery process and more as the weeks go by. She is going to be a lucky little girl as her momma has given up her walk-in closet slash office slash sanctuary so that she can have a bedroom. Darn kids, god forbid they have their own space, right?!

Anyways - we are ready for whatever life has to throw us and I promise to start sharing. From yummy recipes to WTF moments, writing gives me joy and I need to get back to that! I have spent two years intensely focused on my professional career that some things have fallen by the wayside and it's time for a change, however I am still insane about my career so expect some work related posts as well.

Here's to being back!

Never Forget

I was sitting in one of my college classes in Boston the moment America changed forever. I will always remember every second of that day. The fear in everyone's eyes, being stuck in the city, and finding my dad who brought me home in his big rig. I also have never witnessed more people come together and unify for our country. I wish we could all remember that feeling every day. We are strong - we are the United States of America!!!! 9/11/01




Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We are Boston - We are Strong

I don't personally know anyone affected by the tragedy that occurred on Marathon Monday but I do know that I take it personally. We may never know the reason why and we may never make sense of this senseless act but do know, whoever you are, that God was watching you that day. Boston will find you and bring you to justice here on Earth - but God...only God can truly give you the judgement you so deserve. May light, forgiveness, and love fill the hearts of the victims and their families. "We are Boston, We are Strong"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sometimes...


Just a picture for today...would have been more fitting for a 'Thoughtful Thursday" post? Oh well...



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Low carb snack

So I am always looking for new and delicious low carb snacks - especially now since the hubby is on the Atkins train as well!

So I whipped up some of these yummies the other day and they were a hit with the big guy - and VERY simple to make.

Things you need:
Celery
1cup Stuffed Manzanilla Olives
8oz  Cream Cheese

Steps:
Prep celery and cut into 4 inch stalks.

In a food processor, finely chop olives.

Stir together olives and cream cheese and spread on celery - DONE!

Enjoy!


Monday, August 13, 2012

DIY Maxi Skirt #2

I made another skirt and this time it was in record timing. I think it took me like 20 minutes total? This was from another dress that just didn't fit right anymore in the top so I just cut it right off.

I just love how this one came out and it totally looks like I bought it! I am thrilled! Here is the link to my DIY tutorial (click here).

The old dress
Voila!