I met Brian at a sushi bar. This is funny because to this day he doesn’t eat fish 😂 I was working as a bartender there while I looked for my first “corporate” job after college. Brian had just graduated from grad school and had gotten a job at a start up company nearby. He would come in with his coworkers for happy hour at least once a week. He would write me notes on napkins and leave flowers on my car. He definitely knew how to woo me! lol.
We went out on a few dates when we got to talking about our love for travel. On a whim we booked a trip to Paris. We went and as you guessed, fell in love. It has been an adventure ever since with him.
Since then we have lived in five states together and been to over a dozen countries! I am glad to have found a partner who loves to travel as much as I do. We are hoping next month will be our next adventure to the black hills of South Dakota. Our son is already following in our footsteps and loves to travel too. Last year we took him to Atlantis in the Bahamas and he asks us all the time now when we can go back. Someday kid 🙂
We may not be able to whisk away to Paris anymore but our shared love of adventure and willingness to embrace the chaos of cross country moves definitely has helped in our 16 year marriage. We moved to northeast Iowa in August of last year and have had fun discovering all the hiking and nature opportunities nearby. Finding your towns outdoor treasures is more important than ever given our current situation of having to stay home more and socially distance from everyone.
What is your love story? How did you and your partner meet? Please share in the comments below!
Let’s be honest, here. When we buy produce from the store, do you wash it before using it? If so, how do you know you’re washing it in the best way you can?
Freshly bought produce (yes, even organic), is FILTHY. It may not look like it, but oh my – it needs a serious bath. Between the many hands of others that have touched it, to people breathing and coughing and sneezing on it, to being sprayed for preservation on the farms and in the warehouses, to being loaded and packed and shipped and coming in contact with all kinds of other invisible culprits, I’ll say it again – our store bought produce is filthy. The most contaminated fruits and vegetables are some of our favorites – peaches, strawberries, pears, lettuce, apples, cherries, bell peppers, spinach, nectarines, grapes, celery, and potatoes!
I bet that’ll make you think twice before you just do a quick rinse and take a bite out of your new apple, huh?
Look how dirty my water is after washing strawberries!
WHAT IS IT?
Young Living’s Fruit & Veggie Spray safely and effectively washes produce with the cleansing power of three exclusive essential oil blends—DiGize, Thieves, and Purification. When combined with the other naturally derived ingredients, produce is easily and conveniently cleaned.
Considering all the horrific things that may be atop our produce that are grossing us out big time, wouldn’t you want to wash that off with the purest, most natural, healthy, safe, and effective product – especially one infused with powerful essential oils? YES. And that is exactly what this wash can do, and so much more. It is the best choice for you because it:-Utilizes plant based ingredients -Cleanses produce back to the way nature intended them to be -Naturally removes residue safely and powerfully with the help of concentrated and genuine essential oils -Does not effect the taste of produce after soaking …and so much more!
HOW DO I USE IT?
When using Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak, it’s simple!
-Get a clean bowl or sink, and fill it up with clean water -Add 1-2 capfuls of Thieves Fruit & Veggie Wash, and pour into the water (depending on how much produce you’re washing, the bottle will specify how much you should use) -Put your fruits and veggies into the water -Let them soak for 1-2 minutes (I let them soak for longer sometimes) -Take them out and rinse under clean water And, WHALLA! Perfectly clean produce, with no more residue, and without effecting the taste.
To purchase Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak for 24% , click here
Last summer we moved from Florida to the mountains of North Carolina. Brian got a great job opportunity and luckily we sold our house fast and was able to move into this awesome new home!
The town we moved too has a tight housing market and we were struggling to find what we wanted. One day I was driving around and came across this house in a neighborhood in a great location. When we walked in the next day for a viewing we were blown away with the details and the energy efficiency of the home. We put an offer in the next day!
An architect built the house for themselves and it is a Platinum Leed certified home meaning it is super energy efficient with low utility bills which have been much welcomed with winter now here.
Here are some pictures of the inside. We love all the natural elements and modern details of the home.
We have been in the home a few months now and are loving it. In the spring we are excited to get some gardening started and some other house projects done. In the meantime you can find me drinking coffee while enjoying the view.
Someone asked me this morning if I dread getting older. I replied back heck no! To me age is the great leveler. The older I get the more I actually feel like I can relate to people. I have always been an old soul but burying parents, struggling to have a child and otherwise growing up way before my peers has made me feel different. It is hard to relate to people when they complain that their parents won’t pay this for them or they complain about their parents not watching their kids when my parents weren’t even there for the birth of my son and never will be there for him. I am a strong person but yes it gets hard and some days I struggle with it. So yes, I am loving getting older. Every year makes me feel less different and the wisdom that comes with age is pretty nice too.
Brian’s birthday was yesterday. He made a cake for both of us. It was delicious and I am sure to have another piece today. Lol. He truly has become a master in the kitchen and I am so lucky to have him in my life. We are going out just the two of us Friday night. It will be nice to get away for a few hours and enjoy a nice dinner.
This next year will be a big one. Transitioning out of one decade into another. Lots of changes. But regrets about getting older? Not here. Not here.
I recently joined a one and done not by choice Facebook group and quickly realized how so many in there were still in the fresh pain phase. My heart broke reading their raw posts about how they were struggling to accept they would not have another child. So I decided to share my story. Many were thankful and said sweet things. A few couldn’t see past their pain to see mine and their comments reflected that. We are all on our own journey to acceptance. I decided to share with you what I wrote and hope this opens you to see that when you see families not to judge or ask why. It is our journey and story and we have the right to feel and decide what is best for ourselves.
My one and only was conceived naturally after almost 6 years of unexplained infertility. I suffered Post-Partum Depression. I am almost 39 years old and all of our parents are dead except for my husbands mom. Not a lot of family support. So we are one and done.
You can choose to focus on the negatives or look at the positives and celebrate what you do have. I remember spending entire nights in trying to conceive forums and every month obsessing over every twitch to convince myself I was pregnant that month. Don’t bring those feelings to your current life. You did it! You are a mom! There are so many in the TTC community who just want what we have – remember that! It is human to feel anger, or jealousy or sadness. You can control however how you react to those feelings. Focus on the good in your life.
For me I have decided to embrace the freedom that having only one gives us. We can afford vacations every year. We can afford to give him a college education. I can give my son all the attention. I have a partner that loves our son and plays with him and allows me to work a side job that fulfills me. There are a lot of positives to having one. As I touched in above I have also buried both parents. I could drown in grief and anger or use my experiences to strengthen me and make the most of the life I have.
Society and social norms make us like to think that a “multiple family unit” is still the normal. But it isn’t. Take a look around you and you will see families of every number, and you see non-traditional families and blended families more and more every day. I used to think that no one could understand my grief. That I was the only 34 year old out there who had buried a parent and couldn’t get pregnant. But the truth was I was only allowing myself to see what I wanted to see. Don’t let people own your emotions. You do you.
Below is a picture of my “family”. It is perfect and it is mine.
I have been thinking a lot recently about how people achieve large scale success. I am talking Oprah. Richard Branson. Elon Musk. Deep down I know they are no better than any of us. But yet they have innovated a life that has defied all expectations. They are leaving a legacy that will last generations. And it all started with the belief that they could.
Maye we truly are what we believe.
Let me tell you a personal story. When my dad died when I was 19 and my mom fell into grief and would lock herself in the bedroom for days at a time leaving my sister and I to fend for ourselves I thought I was alone. That NO ONE had been through what I was going though. How could I graduate from college and live my life when I had been through so much loss? How could I deserve to pull away from my family struggles in order to better myself? Guys, it was hard. I had to BELIEVE my life could be better. That I deserved to live my life even though it meant leaving the life I knew.
I want to tell you today – don’t let your past OWN you. Step in and own the full progress and trajectory of your life! You have no idea what your legacy will be. There is nothing that anyone who’s living on earth has ever felt or known or experienced on a soul level that hasn’t been felt or known or experienced by someone else.
One of the most difficult things in life is feeling that you are the only one. That you are the only one who’s traveled this path, who’s felt this way. But it is those people who rise above those feelings and know how to course correct, how to keep going and never quit. They have faith in the bad and aim for the future. They are the ones that change the trajectory of their life.
You can own your life. Till the day you die you are growing. You are creating. Don’t sell yourself short because of self-limiting thoughts. When you keep inputting positivity, there is no room for negativity.
I am naturally a quiet person. I remember as a kid the teacher going to my mom “she is bright but prefers to eat and play by herself.” And I did. It wasn’t till middle school and hormones that I realized there was a gender called boys, and that social norms dictated I hang with girls and talk. It was a hard stage for me. Thank god you only have to live through high school once. College hit and I found my balance of socialization and internal solitude. I learned how to balance both.
But with today’s digital age we are so afraid of the quiet. We fill every waking moment with noise or light. We stay more connected then ever with those around us through social media. We like to tell everyone we are “too busy” because we put our kids in after school activities and sports that in turn invade our weekends. We are plugged in more than ever to the news and pinterest has made our cooking endeavors into an Olympic sport. And what is all this gaining us? We are all more tired than ever!
Why are we so afraid of the quiet? When I drive I normally don’t turn on the radio. No audiobooks or podcasts either. I love the few minutes of stillness (other than your daily traffic) that my car provides me. I use the time to think and process my day or just let my mind wander. I find my creativity increases the more time I am able to spend in these quiet solitudes.
Back in 1999 which happened to be a year after my dad died, I had the opportunity to travel to South America and visit Machu Picchu in Peru. It was magical. In the quiet of those majestic mountains my soul was able to truly rest and heal. To just be. A great vacation can do that. Soothe your soul and body and rejuvenate your spirit. How do we bring this ability home?
I say embrace your quiet! You can meditate yes, or start yoga. But it doesn’t even have to be all that in the beginning. Just be. Sit and turn off the noise around you and try and live in the moment. There is so much strength and wisdom to be gained in the quiet. You see, stillness allows your brain to process all that “noise” that blankets us during the day. Your body and mind in turn will clear and your joy will increase!
Now that I am a parent I am learning how different my childhood was. Not in the geographical sense or socioeconomic sense. I grew up in south jersey in a typical middle class neighborhood. I mean in the presence sense. From a young age I remember coming home from school and just being alone. Alone to make my own snack, alone to play and then engage in homework. And it wasn’t because a parent wasn’t home. Almost always mom or dad would be there. But dad worked from home or was busy avoiding mom. And mom, well, she was closed off. Literally. She would hole herself in her room for days at a time and would only come out to make us some dinner or tell us to go to bed. Now as an adult I know it was due most likely to her mental illness issues but as a kid it was my normal. This behavior would roll into the weekends. I have a sister and I remember us just going to play in the basement with our toys for the entire weekend, left to entertain ourselves and later on, feed ourselves.
Weeks would go by where this behavior would go on. And then all of a sudden mom would resurface – full of life and energy and interest. My sister and I would lap up this attention like puppies. But then all of a sudden she would retreat, back to her room and the silence would envelope the house once again.
Mom never got a proper diagnosis. Over the years I theorized everything from Bi-Polar to Borderline Personality Disorder. She died two years ago so I will never know. And in the end it doesn’t matter. She was the only mom I had and knew. It was my reality.
But now? As a parent I see how crazy this behavior was and how different I am trying to be with my son. To not repeat the past. To make it different for him. I worry I will become her. And I know that is crazy. But this is me being honest. My fear to repeat the past haunts me at nights.
I remember one time mom opened up to us and admitted she moved when we were little to be closer to her parents because she realized she couldn’t do it. Be what we needed as a mom. And she was right. Our “Omi” became our mother. When my grandmother died I cried like I had lost my mother. The grief was so intense. It was not that way when my mom died.
For those of you out there that have had similar experiences know you are not alone. For SO long I thought what I went through was mine alone. But now that I am older I have met so many others that have experienced absent parents. Mental illness is the silent struggle in many families. So many people had no clue what was really going on behind our house walls. We looked like your average middle class family. We even had the dog and picket fence. But inside was silence punctuated with either violent outbursts or overzealous love. But those stories are for another day.
Repeat this affirmation daily – No One is you and that is your power. I am my own person, and I am blazing my own path.
Diffusing essential oils is one of my favorite ways to use them in our home every day. I reach for different oils depending on what’s going on in our lives. We diffuse in our kitchen to get rid of strong food odors. We diffuse at night to relax before bed. Our whole family loves trying new essential oils and finding combinations that make us feel wonderful and make our home smell amazing!
I hope these 5 starter kit diffuser recipes will inspire you to try your own combinations.
Lemon and Peppermint
This combination of is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up. The bright fragrance is uplifting and energizing. I love this to give me a boost to get through those long hours after school and before dinner.
Lavender and Copaiba
I love this recipe for easing tension. If I’m a little stressed from the hustle and bustle of the day I diffuse floral Lavender and earthy Copaiba to give me some peace and dissolve all my cares away.
Frankincense and Lemon
Diffusing these two oils creates such an atmosphere of quiet reflections. The woodsy, warm, fresh aroma is an excellent choice for times of prayer, quiet, or meditation.
Purification and Lemon
Sometimes things just stink. That’s the way it is in my house anyway. When we need to eliminate odors and freshen the air we diffuse this combination. It has definitely helped us many times after a big gathering of teenage athletes or a dinner gone way wrong.
Stress Away and Lavender
For soothing and relaxing, my family’s #1 choice is this combination of Stress Away and Lavender. The vanilla and cedarwood in the Stress Away blend along with the classic, herbal peacefulness of Lavender are perfect for bedtime. Diffusing this before bed is a great way to wind down after a long day.
I cried in the Dunkin Donuts drive thru line this morning.
It started innocent enough. A image of my dad holding his coffee mug while shuffling to his home office and my mom yelling at Cindy and I to run to the car as we will be late AGAIN for school ran through my mind as I waited for my coffee and bagel breakfast. But then I thought about Omi’s Christmas cookies, and how dad would hoard his cookie tin from all of us because he loved to drink his coffee while eating them. And how on Christmas Eve mom would make us take naps so “Santa” would come and when we woke up we would open presents before heading to church that evening. Santa always came on Christmas Eve at our household. Maybe because we had to drive two hours on Christmas Day to see dad’s relatives. Santa was on a timeline you know.
I miss them. My parents. My sister and I were talking over Thanksgiving how memories are growing thin, especially with dad. 18 years now since he died. He would have loved Bryce. Bryce loves trains just like he did. They would have bonded over that. The funny thing though is the year before his death was hard. We were not close as a family. Mom and dad had just moved us from South Jersey to North Jersey and the transition didn’t go well. Mom would spend all day in the bedroom depressed and dad would sit at night alone in the basement playing his old vinyls. And the fights. So intense between them. And then all of a sudden he died. Less than a year after we moved. Just like that. No nice ending, no goodbyes. No I am sorry and I love you please don’t leave me. It was bad and then it was over. And mom fell apart. Her depression, along with her injuries from the car accident left her unable to care for us emotionally. She never recovered. And with it our relationship with her never recovered. When she died in 2015 Cindy and I were only talking to her sporadically. When I got the call from the hospital at 1:00 AM saying she had passed I remember screaming in my head “NO! I never was able to fix us! It cannot end like this!” But it did. It ended messy, with no kodak moment goodbye like I had envisioned for us.
But oh do I miss them. Because before it was bad it was oh so good. My sister and I had a great childhood. Mom and dad loved us and provided for us. We lived in our little bubble in South Jersey where we had a pool and a dog and during the summers we would swim all day and play too many video games. And along with our other relatives, holidays, birthdays and vacations were amazing. We had fun as a family. So that is what I choose to remember. The good.
As Bryce gets older I am starting to incorporate family traditions from my childhood. This year we are doing one of those chocolate advent calendars with him. Last night while opening the little door and extracting the chocolate prize I clearly remember doing that with my sister and mom. I love that I am passing it down. Because in the end those family traditions are what you will remember when you start crying in the Dunkin Donuts drive thru at 7:30 AM on a Thursday.
Life is messy. We all will have regrets when it comes to our family and life choices. But you can’t let it consume you. I encourage all of you out there who are challenged by the holidays to just embrace the good. Hold on to those good memories. And create new ones where you can.