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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Playful & Strong: A Tribute to My Style Hero

I don't remember my first Kate Spade bag. 

That is to say, it's hard to remember which one came first. There have been so many.

My watch and day planner keep me on track.

My small leather purse keeps everything I need close at hand – red lipstick, wallet, spare pair of shoes for when my heels can't foot the bill.

My diaper bag with little whale prints keeps the chaos of new motherhood at bay. For the most part.

My wedding china is a symbol of the traditions my growing family will begin: the holiday parties, the graduations, the birthdays. It's there for the Big Moments: the creme saucers and cups with silver polka-dots.

Kate Spade is a part of my life. From the full-time marketer, to the out-of-office poolside cocktail-sipper. She's for work and the on-the-town fancies. For nights with friends, and mornings with coffee.

She was there on my wedding day. She was there when I brought my first child home from the hospital. She was there when I failed, when I overstepped, when I got ignored, when I did the right thing, when I got the job, when I popped the champagne cork...

And I am so incredibly sad she's gone.

I was introduced to her, I'm sure, by way of my aunts. Both of whom are the pinnacle of style and class. After all, having a Kate Spade purse, watch, wallet, what have you, was the grown up equivalent of stepping into your grandmother's work pumps or wearing your mom's opal ring.

It made you feel like every day was a special occasion. There was a sophistication, a dazzle, an identify you could fizzle into.

Having a Kate Spade made me feel like my dream of being a New Yorker of being an author, and having all the right, charming things to say at the drop of a hat, was attainable.

And it still does.

For so long, what's attracted me to her brand was her boldness. There was a place for me – a grown woman who still, sometimes felt like she was playing dress up in her mother's closet – someone who was happy-go-lucky, cheerful, and bright.

Life could be fun, captivating. Even for the unsure. Even for the nervous, the second-guessers, the naive and the ones who pretend to have it all together.

You don't have to put your sparkle on a shelf to do good work. There is a place for kindness, light and whimsy in the business world.

Today, I feel like I've lost a true friend.

Maybe even a little piece of myself. 

I didn't know this woman, but I've carried her with me – her frothiness, her color – in every season. And I'll keep her with me in the next and the next.

Because she is quick. 

And curious.

And playful. 

And strong. 

And I will always love every piece of her I'm honored to hold.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

My Summer 2018 Goals

Do you ever have seasons of life in which you feel the most yourself?

For whatever reason – pool lounging, beach trips, running at night to the tempo of crickets and fireflies – that time for me is summer. Cue all the High School Musical songs. So, if it's a time to thrive, it's time to push the limits on my status quo!

Here is a peek into my goals for Summer 2018:

Lose 15 Pounds

I feel like this is a goal for every season.

I've been tracking my weight loss journey since I stopped nursing on a new Instagram channel - and it's been a lot of fun! As it turns out though, I'm not one of those magical women who got super skinny after breastfeeding for a year. Nope. I tell myself I'm good at other things. Like picking out lip color and making the perfect book recommendation.

The magically losing weight? Not so much.

I've been really gentle with myself returning back to normal after baby and have lost a grand total of 25 pounds of baby weight after three months of Weight Watchers. For me, I love the program and it's flexibility. I love having something to track. And I love how even after I fall off the wagon for a day or two, it's never too late to start over.

Goal difficulty rating: 8/10

Run a 5K Race

I was my most in shape right before my wedding, about three years ago. Not only was I healthy physically, I was mentally and spiritually healthy, too.

The difference between now and then? Then I was running nine miles in 90 minutes without giving it a second thought. Now, I can't make it a third of the way without needing a break.

Training for a 5k is not difficult. It just takes time, patience and a rockin' running app. If you trust your training, it practically runs for you.

Okay, that's so not true. But you get what I mean. If I, the non-athlete, orchestra nerd from high school can pound the pavement, so can you.

Goal difficulty: 3/10

Use My Evening Hours More Diligently 

Guys. I seriously have such a problem with letting my nights get away from me. Lately, I've really struggled with staying up past 9 p.m. Being social, writing for pleasure, reading for pleasure,'s a mess. 

I did a video blog on the phenomenon, too. I need a system in place to help me be more wise with my time. There's grace, I know. But these e-books aren't going to write themselves!

Goal difficulty: 8/10

Get to Work Early

I'm a better worker bee when I'm at the office at 8 a.m. Plain and simple. I have big career goals and getting in the door and already an hour of work behind me by the time the traditional business day begins will only make me a stronger employee.

Complete a Draft of My Young Adult Novel 

I don't talk about my fiction work very much. Maybe it's because fiction, for me, is so much more difficult to write and even talk about than non-fiction.

When you write a blog about your life, the plot's been handed to you When you're sitting at the computer as an author, the story can take you anywhere. 

I have a tendency to be a little bit (okay a lot of bit) more particular about my fiction work. If someone dings my blog or essays it's easy to say, "Eh, it wasn't for them." But if someone critiques my fiction, the balm for the sting is a little harder to find.

This summer, I'm revisiting an old friend named Evie Tucker in a working manuscript I'm calling "Evie Tucker Makes Life More Better." The story is about a sixth-grade girl who's great at math and bad at English. She's finding her new normal after losing her mother. Evie, with her hot pink lab coat and engineering mind, creates little inventions to help make life a little easier for her dad and older brother.

I started the piece when I was pregnant with my son in hopes to write something that my kids would like to read one day. All-in-all, I have about 14,000 words of my goal of 65,000 by the end of August. Which means I need to write on average 520 words x day to have a completed rough draft by the end of the summer.

Goal difficulty rating: 7/10

So. Early to work. Running. Losing weight. And writing a novel. All in one summer. Not too bad, right?

I'm curious! Do you have summer goals? How can we encourage each other? Post in the comments and keep me in the loop! I'll be tracking my progress right here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

We Don't Have to Go at it Alone – Officially Introducing "Small Beginnings"

"So, what's your favorite thing about being a mom?"

I was asked this at a work event a few months after the birth of my baby boy; and for all of my extroverted nature I could not, for the life of me, think of anything to say.

Great work, Brett. Not only have you failed at showing the world how much you love your son, you are also now the sole individual responsible for destroying the institution of mothering.

Postpartum anxiety is a mother, y'all.

The fact of the matter is at the time, I didn't have a favorite part of motherhood. Because, what glamorous trait of motherhood could I cling to?

The leaking?

The catching-spit-up in the palm of my hand?

The cluster feeding?

The two-hour plotting just to walk out of the house for 15 minutes?

The fear that I'd start nursing and never end and that my child would just remain a permanent fixture to myself?

How about the fact that I hadn't had longer than a three-hour stretch of sleep in months? Or that I felt like my life was on pause while I was watching my friend's lives unfold before me on Instagram?

 "I think just the identity of being a mom," I stammered. Then quickly asked for the sour cream and onion chips. After all, these feelings weren't going to eat themselves.

Now that I've had a year and more blessed, blessed sleep, I have found my favorite part of being a mother is the community that surrounds it:

You don't have to do any of it alone.

None of it.

My first venture into the nursing mother's room (also known as the "cry room" – for the kids, I presume. Not the moms) at my church afforded me beautiful people with whom I could simply lock eyes and feel understood, seen, known, in a time when I felt none of those things.

It was around then that my writing took a turn. Did other people feel this way? Did other women find joy and utter satisfaction in having their lives turned completely topsy-turvy? Was I missing something? This didn't feel as awesome as other mothers made it out to be.

It felt like a lot. And for a while, I felt like the only one.

Because while I loved my little nugget with all of my heart I also loved functioning like a normal human being.

That's why I wrote and released my first e-book, Small Beginnings: Essays on Pregnancy and New Motherhood. It's for the women who feel alone. It's for the women who find humor in suddenly having to be okay with not fitting into their pants.

It's for the women who relinquish their pride, their vanity, their own sense of self to suddenly launch a tiny human into the world.

It's for the women who keep it real. And the women who, perhaps, are curious about the things that no one wants to tell you about.

I'm incredibly proud of this. That it's here. That it's real. And that in spite of all the changes that haven taken place over the last year of my son's life, I'm still a writer.

Check out the e-book here!

The thing about motherhood is that it's not a force you can take in all at once. It's first felt in those first few shocking and blissful, confusing moments after you get the positive pregnancy test.

Inch by inch, maternity blouse by maternity blouse, you seep into motherhood. The community, the sacrifice and eventually, the love of it all.

And though we may not always agree on how sleep schedules or discipline should lead, we're there for each other.

It's small, but it's s a truly beautiful thing.
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