Our Major Bathroom Renovation Revealed!

When we bought our home *almost* 10 years ago, a young couple with no kids, we didn’t see an issue with one full bathroom and one *kinda* full bathroom.

You see, downstairs in the laundry room, there were a toilet and a small shower. But it wasn’t a real bathroom. The only sink was the laundry tub and it was unfinished, as far as an exposed ceiling, crappy floor tile, etc. There were a bunch of shelves that we stored tools and paint and other miscellaneous items on and not to mention the washer and dryer were in there, so there was barely any space. It was never going to be a very feasible option for a bathroom. You couldn’t get ready down there or anything like that. We used it here and there when we had parties (it was the guy’s bathroom) and we never once used the shower. Here’s a pic to give you a visual (this was right before the demo that was about to occur).

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About five years ago, we had some massive plumbing issues and the downstairs *bathroom* became completely out of commission. We talked about replacing the toilet or trying to do something with that room, but of course, LIFE happened. We had two kids in that time and we just dealt with having one bathroom. Sure, many fights occurred about someone taking too long or someone needing to shower while the other needed to brush teeth and so on and so forth.

I don’t know what made us actually decide to do something about this issue. I think it’s the fact that our 7-year-old is now a little person who needs a place to get ready and our 2.5-year-old is going to be using the bathroom consistently now, too. As the only lady in this house of men, I needed another space. 🙂

In my head, I had this dream of what could be created in that area. On the other side of the laundry room was a wet bar. Yes, a bar we used OFTEN for parties back in the day. We have great memories of all our best friends coming over and putting their dishes of yummy food they made there or lining up some shots to celebrate a birthday, or just standing behind it and having a heart to heart. I have so many party pictures around this bar (that I could never post if I still want to keep my friends) so we will go with this one from one of our Halloween parties.

Halloween 2009 001That little spot was magical. But, after the parties died down because everyone had kids and no time, that bar became a place for storage. I would throw bags of kid’s clothes back there or old toys. In fact, the entire game room became a playroom. The bar was really just a wasted space, BUT, there was a sink, so there was plumbing on both sides of this wall, which was fantastic. Here’s a shot of the bar after we cleaned it all out:

IMG_5017IMG_5022My mom knew a contractor that lived in our area, so I emailed him and thus began the process. He told me we could knock down the wall you see behind the bar, open this space up and create a 6×8 bathroom (honestly bigger than my upstairs bathroom), and it would only take a few weeks. I couldn’t even begin to imagine this and my design brain went into overload.

After the demo, we realized that the existing plumbing was NOT going to work to put in a shower, because it would increase the cost by thousands, so we opted for a powder room instead.

I spent WEEKS before we got started on Pinterest and online, deciding what I wanted this bathroom to look like and I had a very specific plan coming into it. I get a little obsessive with projects (if you know me, you know this) and I want to thank my husband for letting me roll with everything and supporting me along the way. Also, my bestie Meesh for letting me toss ideas around with her and getting her expert design opinions!

I knew my plan was modern farmhouse. And I knew I wanted a vintage vanity, not a new one. That was the thing that took the longest to find. But first, more demo pics:

IMG_5032IMG_5035Crazy, right? And because the bar had a half wall, the contractors were able to use that, as well as the existing window to bring in some nice, natural light.

As the guys worked, I searched. I wanted an old dresser or table for the vanity. We must have gone to 20 different antique stores, Fleatiques, yard sales, thrift stores, you name it,  and nothing was just right. Too tall, too short, too wide, too old, too new.

I started looking at “new” vanities online and could not believe the cost. Most of the ones that were the right size and look were upwards of $800, most over $1,000 and I just could not justify paying that, I’m a bargain hunter.

Then one day I ventured out alone with my little guy (can you spy him in the mirror?) and we found her:

IMG_5047.jpgA 1930s dresser and yes, if you can see that price tag: $149!!!!!

Our original plan was to change the hardware, but spoiler, we ended up keeping it. Framing began to happen:

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It’s such a cool experience to watch a transformation like this. And my kids LOVED seeing it. Every day, after hearing the sounds of wood being cut or stepping over sawdust, they would just look in awe at the difference.

As the guys continued to build, I started to find the other pieces of the bathroom. I knew I wanted a rectangular vessel sink, oil rubbed bronze faucet and light, vintage mirror, gray paint, gray and white flooring and distressed white shiplap for an accent wall.

I found this beauty at an antique store for $20. Are you kidding me?? I knew she’d be perfect for the room.

IMG_5604.jpgWe got the faucet, sink and drain on Amazon, the toilet, lights, paint, shiplap and flooring between Lowes and Home Depot. The shiplap was the giant splurge. To do one wall was over $220. But SOOO worth it. Wait until you see!!!

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This gray for the bathroom is a griege, something I learned only after I painted my living room what I THOUGHT was gray. You can see when I compare the bathroom swatch with the living room, how much bluer the wall looks. I have never learned more about paint in my life.

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The guys put up drywall and painting began:

IMG_5582IMG_5584This all happened so fast. This entire project was only about 2.5 weeks total.

IMG_5586As the room became an actual room, I started looking for the final pieces. A bucket for a trash can, oil rubbed bronze toilet paper holder and towel bar. Some simple mason jars with flowers, crate for extra rolls, cute signs for decorations and hand towels.

I got a lot of this at Michaels (for under $30) and I ordered signs from Amazon (under $10) and bought distressed frames at Marshalls for $10! (You can see all that in the final pics below).

I also knew I wanted reclaimed wood shelves and I found these on Etsy. I LOVE supporting family businesses. The shelves are gorgeous and they come with all the hardware. I did another little splurge on these, around $80 total.

img_5602-e1536765902541.jpgAs I bought, more happened. The floor, lights and shiplap went up and the window was framed.

IMG_5645IMG_5646IMG_5659IMG_5661Then one day, I walked in and saw THIS. My vision, my dream come to life!!!!

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The way the sides of the dresser and the shiplap compliment one another amazes me.

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The fact that this mirror almost looks like it was specifically made for this bathroom astounds me.

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This faucet is powerful! And I love the offset look.

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The window brings in so much natural light.

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The final touches were putting up the shelves, towel bar and decoratiions. And here is the other side of the room:

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I can’t even believe this is MY bathroom. And of course, I want to redo the entire house now (and someday, we will). But for now, we can enjoy our new, little slice of heaven.

*If you can’t find me, I’m probably down here getting ready. Now, someone hurry up and have a party and invite me so I have a reason to get all dressed up! *

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Why I Have To Stop Waiting for IT…

Waiting for the next day off.
Waiting for that weekend with friends.
Waiting for the kid to be done with school.
Waiting for someone to text me back.
Wating for the laundry to ding.
Waiting for the what’s next in my life.

You name it. I always seem to be waiting for something. How about you?
What happened to just living?

I had a minute to sit down the other day and all I could think about was something happening in the future. And to be honest, if I’m not thinking about something in the future, I’m thinking about something in the past.

Why is the present so neglected?
Why is it so hard to enjoy RIGHT NOW?

I have glimpses of this phenomena. Walking in the park and breathing in the fresh air, or feeling the sun on my face as I sit outside while the kids run and play or catching a sweet moment between my boys when they think I’m not looking. Or getting lost in a Netflix documentary or having a needed conversation with a best friend.

But this doesn’t happen enough anymore.

The older I get, the busier I am, the harder it becomes to just BE. Most of the time, I’m just waiting for the next thing to happen and I’m wasting precious time.

Working from home, I’m very isolated on a daily basis. I talk to people via social media or text or even a phone call, but sometimes I don’t see another person besides my husband and my kids for days at a time. And between mom life, client life, housework life, etc. it weighs on me. And the mundane tasks and crazy workload and loneliness take over.

So what do I do?
WAIT for something exciting to happen.
WAIT until I see someone.
WAIT until the day ends.

And all I’ve done is lost another day. Lost another day that I can’t get back, because it wasn’t as exciting as some other day?? That’s ridiculous.

I can’t do that anymore. I can’t just sit and wait. I can be excited for things to come, but more importantly, I need to be excited about right now.

Don’t you feel the same?

We wait, we anticipate, we build things up and then IT actually happens.

The day off. The vacation. The event. The thing we were WAITING FOR…

And then in the blink of an eye, it’s over.

Sometimes it’s great…

You saw that best friend you’ve been missing and had a glorious weekend.
You saw that concert you’ve been dying to see.
You got that gardening project done and it looks amazing.

Sometimes it sucks…

The day off didn’t go as planned and you ended up doing 10 loads of laundry.
The vacation was ruined by rain and those beach days turned into hotel pool days.
Your friends bailed on you and you spent the night alone.

Whether it was amazing or not, when it’s done, you’re sad. IT went too fast.

You’re sad that you have to wait another three years before you can visit your friend, or that that concert might never come back to your city or that your vacation was ruined or that your friends are changing.

We focus on the NEXT PART instead of IT. We have to stop waiting and start living. We have to be grateful and thankful for every second we get on this Earth.

You got to see your best friend! Memories you can carry with you forever.
You got to go that concert. An experience that you can share.
You did that gardening project. An accomplishment you can relish in.
Your day off was boring but you got that laundry done. A productive day to enjoy.
Your vacation wasn’t perfect, but you still got to go. A moment you can laugh about later. 
Your friends bailed this time, but it’s just an excuse to plan something else. A reminder to be grateful you have these people in your life. 

When IT is happening…Enjoy. Reflect. Take a breath. Take it in. Take the picture. Stay off the Internet. Make the friends. See the world. Write it down. Just be there for IT. 

And hey, I’m sitting here on a cloudy Thursday, with laundry to put away and dishes to do. And yes, I’m kinda waiting for the weekend…the next IT.

But I can enjoy the right now. The fact that I’m writing, which is my greatest love. The fact that I’m breathing. The fact that my son is sleeping on the couch and I get to go look at him anytime I want. The fact that I’m cooking a great dinner later.

I can live for today. Can you?

We get stuck in the monotony of work, sleep, work, repeat. But every day is a blessing, every little minute, and when it’s time for the big IT to happen, that’s just icing on the cake.

I might not be going to the beach this weekend or even seeing any friends, but I have a date with my oldest son to sit on the couch at 7 am on Saturday and watch the Royal Wedding. I’ll have a Mimosa, he’ll have an orange juice and it will be a memory I make, a simple moment I can enjoy, a time to be present.

Don’t wait for IT.
IT 
can be every moment of every day.
Live for NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Top 13 Favorite Sounds (it’s Friday the 13th, why not)

When you’ve freelanced and owned your own business for close to 7 years, you get the ups and downs. You’re used to the months when you have a ton in your savings and the ones when you’re charging groceries.

It’s a thrilling life, though, and I wouldn’t change one thing about it. Lately, I’ve been slower with client work. Mainly because I want it that way. I am working on my podcast, spending more time with my husband and our kids and getting back to writing my stuff, which is all I want to do anyway.

I still have that novel to finish. I still have hundreds of blogs in my head to write. And that takes precedence over laundry right now. I’m drinking my coffee (of course), feeling the beautiful *spring* breeze coming in through my window and sitting on my couch with the iPad on my lap, as my little man sleeps and my big man is in school.

It’s a good life.

I wanted to share a simple, happy, positive blog today… just because. There is not enough simple out there, right now. The world feels heavy and scary and complex.

I need a break and you probably do, too.

Since it’s Friday the 13th, I’m sharing 13 of my favorite SOUNDS and why I love them. Give yourself a point for each one you agree with and if you get more than 10, we’re most likely going to be best friends.

Here we go…

1. Rain (especially thunderstorms) – I feel alive when it rains. I put storm sounds on in the background when I work all the time. And reading or sleeping when it’s raining, well that’s just about as close to heaven as you can come. My oldest turned off the TV one morning to “listen to the rain” and I knew that I was winning at parenting at that very moment.

2. A song that reminds me of a certain time in my life – It’s usually Bon Jovi or something else from the clubbing years in college or Ace of Base or *NSYNC that reminds me of my childhood. It just makes my heart happy. And for some strange reason, I always remember the lyrics to songs I haven’t heard in decades. My brain is just storing that stuff somewhere deep and then all of a sudden, BOOM. Of course, Skee Lo is still top of mind.

3. My kids saying I love you or just saying mommy – I mean, c’mon. There really isn’t anything better. Unless they are saying mommy 300 times in a minute, then this is on a list of sounds I hate. So, there is surely a fine line.

4. My husband’s laugh – This guy can crack me up with his laugh. It’s infectious. I kind of want to put it on a loop and just carry it around so that when I’m having a bad day, I can just listen to it over and over.

5. My mom’s voice – No offense siblings and all other members of my family, but there is a comfort when talking to my mom. Plus, she’s hilarious, so I’m sure to hear a funny story at least once a day from her. Side note: one time a wrong number called her phone (a man) and he legit left a voicemail saying he dialed wrong, but he liked her voice, so feel free to give him a call back. That is just classic.

6. The opening of a can – That pop/fizz sound of any can opening – usually a beer. I don’t drink beer, but when we have friends over and I hear them go in the kitchen and pop another one, it makes me happy, because I know they are staying a bit longer and the night is still alive. Don’t worry, too many popped cans and Mama Tara will make them sleep on her couch. And I do provide breakfast in the morning.

7. Fire – We got a fire pit last year and it was the best decision ever. I love the sounds of fire crackling. I also put this sound on in the background when I work. It gives me a cozy feeling, whether it’s winter or summer. And is there really anything better than a bonfire with friends and family around?

8. Church bells – I like when they are far enough in the distance that I can’t even tell the song, but I know I hear them. When I was in the hospital with my oldest for 5 weeks before he was born, there was a church I could see from my window and every day at noon, the bells would ring. It’s just a beautiful and almost haunting sound. A peaceful sound. When I hear bells to this day, I think of my time in the hospital and remember how blessed we are to have this family of ours.

9. Slot machines – If you know my husband and I, you know we are obsessed with Atlantic City and we love casinos in general. We really aren’t big gamblers, but there is something about the humming of the slots that makes me feel that excitement that something big could happen. Every time you pull that little lever (and yes, I pull it. I don’t push the button. That’s lame) it feels a little magical. And once we have a few drinks in us, we totally cheer when we win like $5. People around us probably think we hit a jackpot and we’re cashing out with barely enough for a coffee.

10. The alarm on the morning you’re leaving for vacation – I hate alarms every single other time, but this one is the best. You are waking up early because you are about to start an adventure. Whether it’s a road trip or you’re headed to the airport, it’s a day away from the ordinary. And that alarm starts it all. We are taking a road trip to Georgia this year to see one of my BEST friends and her family and I can’t wait for the day of that alarm.

11. Ice moving around in a whiskey glass – There is just something amazing about the sound of ice swirling around in a glass full of some kind of liquor. For me, it’s rum. If I see someone on TV holding a glass and I hear this sound, I instantly want a drink.

12. Clicking of typewriter keys – If you know me, you know my obsession with vintage stuff. And typewriters (we’re talking circa 1930s) are my favorite. I have a beauty named Hemmy (after Ernest Hemingway) and when I type on her I feel like a “real” writer. I can just imagine the men and women back in the day that used that tool to create some of the most beloved stories of all time.

13. The ocean – It never gets old. As many times as I’ve been to the ocean, I still feel a heart flutter every time those waves crash. The beauty and size of the ocean makes her beautiful to look at and the calming sounds she makes takes my breath away.

Your turn! Tell me your favorite sounds. And what’s your score?? Are we BFFs??!!

 

 

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It’s different now…remembering the conversations that started it all

I started talking to you when you are in my belly.
At first, our talks were the normal mommy/baby conversations.

I can’t wait to see you.
I can’t wait to hold you.
I can’t wait to play and laugh with you.

Those conversations changed at 29 weeks when we went into the hospital. My water was broken, you had barely enough amniotic fluid available and it was leaking every minute.

My stomach was just a tiny bump. I could see the horror in our visitor’s faces as they saw how small I was and that made me even more scared for you. I didn’t know what to do or what would happen. Having a premature baby wasn’t something I understood or had any knowledge on.

We talked all the time, me and you. After the daily monitoring of our heartbeats and my blood pressure and my temperature every few hours. But our conversations were different.

I need you to fight hard, little one.
I need you to wait a little longer until you arrive.
I need you to give me strength.

I needed you just as much as you needed me over the 5 weeks we spent on bedrest. I needed you to help me cope with this situation that I never saw coming. Even though the doctors and the nurses and daddy and all of our family and friends were there for us, it was really just me and you.

Some days, no one could visit. And it was just us. And we would talk. As the weeks went on, and you got a little bigger, and I got a little bigger, our conversations got more joyful.

I need you to keep growing.
I need you to keep getting stronger.
We are going to be okay.
I can’t wait to see what you do with your life. 

I was in awe of how you were fighting.

You weren’t in an ideal womb.
You’d had shots to make your lungs strong and just enough fluid to grow.

We talked about how I would figure out a way to stay at home with you. That work wasn’t important anymore and that I’d do anything I could to take care of you. It was in those conversations that my life changed.

I knew that I would fight, just as hard as you’d been fighting, to be the best mom I could for you. You gave me the strength and the power to make my dreams come true and start my own business AND be a mommy to you and eventually, your brother.

We know this story has a happy ending.

We know that our last conversation before you were born was…

They are inducing me tomorrow.
We made it to 34 weeks!
I will hold you tomorrow. 

And, I did. And you fought for another 3 weeks in the NICU and our conversations went from you inside to my belly, to you behind the glass.

But then you came home.

And we’ve had so many conversations since those days.

You are 6 years old now. And last night, you and I were laying down, getting ready to go to sleep and we started talking. And even though we talk all the time, this was different.

You were so funny and so grown up. You told me about school and we talked about Christmas. I wasn’t talking to a baby anymore. I was talking to a little man. And it made me think about your entry into this world.

And this morning, as you sat on the couch eating your Poptart in your little jammies you said, “I loved talking to you last night, Mommy.”

I should make more time for just you and I to talk.

I should also remember those early conversations a lot more.

I should remember them when you are talking and talking and I am too busy to listen.
I should remember them when you call out for me at 3 am and I’m so tired.
I should remember how lucky I am to have these conversations with you now and watch you grow and thrive and overcome all of your challenges.

You and I are best friends.

Even though I love your daddy and your brother exactly the same as I love you, we have a special little bond that can never be broken.

Thank you for all the conversations we’ve had.
I can’t wait for all the exciting ones to come!!

I love you, my big boy.

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Want to hang out? Finding ‘couple friends’ in our 30’s

I’m 34 years old and my husband is 35. Most of our “couple friends” are people we met at least 10, if not 15 years ago. They’ve known us through all the phases and life changes. They were there in the party days, the wedding days, the current kiddo days. We’ve all grown up together. There’s a really special bond and a whole lot of history.

But, how do you make couple friends when you’re in your mid-30s? When there’s no background, no context. You just meet someone at THIS particular chapter in their lives, without really knowing much about what they used to do or how they used to be.
Can the connection be as strong?

Just like finding love, when it happens, you’ll know.

You will meet a couple you connect with immediately and I have a little story to share to prove it.

My husband and I recently went to Austin, TX  for a wedding. I was in the wedding and this was one of my friends from college that hadn’t lived in the area for a very long time, so this was going to be a completely new circle of people.

I was in better shape, having gone to her shower over the summer, so I had met a lot of family and friends when I was there. But my husband wouldn’t know a SOUL.
Scary, right?

Some of the bride’s friends from high school live about 2.5 hours from us and we were all going to be on the same plane.

Only ONE of the girls was bringing her husband. In my head I thought, what are the odds that my husband and this guy actually like each other? Or that the girl and I have a lot in common? 50/50 right? You just never know.

We and this couple were already getting ‘set up’ and the pressure was on.

I remember sitting at the airport gate, scouring the crowd for the mystery couple. It was literally the same feeling when thinking about a blind date. What do they look like? What do they act like? Do they swear as much as me? Should I be myself right away or tame it down?

My husband and I aren’t exactly quiet.
We both have really big personalities and will do anything for a laugh.

We saw a big group of girls with one guy and knew it must be them, but we didn’t make a move for fear of looking like giant weirdos.

When we landed, we’d meet.
And that we did.

My friend came over to greet all of us and we were all awkwardly standing in a circle. I looked at the couple, the mystery couple, and they actually looked oddly familiar.

I figured it was a good icebreaker to tell them this, and the conversation started to happen.

Oh, where did you go to college and when did you graduate?

It then turned into how many kids do you have and how old are they?

This is where the connection either happens or it doesn’t.

When small talk has to become real talk.

We laughed over the fact that we both picked each other out at the gate, but didn’t want to seem strange and introduce ourselves. The girl and I talked about needing a weekend away and I could hear the guys start to chat behind us. Talking turned to laughter pretty quickly and I breathed a sigh of relief.

The boys were über comfortable with one another and were cracking jokes like old frat buddies almost instantly.

I got along with the girl so well, too, both of us busy moms that run small businesses.

 

I knew we had met our spirit animals for the weekend. 

We all went to lunch and bonded even further. It’s super rare for all four people in a group of couples to get along and genuinely like each other. But for us, we got really lucky.

 

The conversation felt so authentic. The similarities started to pile up and we almost forgot that we had just met them wee hours before. Numbers were exchanged and we knew the next day would be the wedding, so we’d reconvene.

And we sure did.
We had a BLAST!!
Dancing, eating, drinking, talking, laughing.

But then came the time to make the decision.

Does this ‘friendship’ continue or was it just a fling?
Are these new couple friends, long-term?

Sunday we were all staying in Austin, so it was that weird, “do I text them to hang out”  or “have they had enough of us” or “do they really like us or are they just being nice?”

As we ventured into the city, we sent a text to see if they were downtown, but they had already left. But we got an invite text to dinner with a hilarious, “If we are overbearing or annoying, just tell us.”

They were feeling the same feels as us.

We didn’t want to look like stalkers, but we really wanted to get together again.
And so did they.

Couples dating is a lot like real dating. In the beginning, you never want to be the person that goes too far, too fast. But guess what, if you don’t jump in, if you don’t make new connections and have new experiences, your life will be a lot more boring.

We got together for dinner and spent three hours talking and laughing and planning to get together back home.

It took Texas to bring us together, but the girl and I have already worked on some business together and we’ve made our first official double date for January which we’re really excited about it.

Meeting new people is always an adventure. And sometimes at our ages, we feel like we don’t need to make new friends or we’ve lived too much life to mesh into someone else’s without drama. So not true.

And guess what, as if by some serendipitous act, as I was writing this blog, I got a text from another couple that we met (you guessed it) at a wedding, about 3 years ago. They are coming to town from Florida over the summer and we are going to get together!

If you’re in a new city…
If your best couple friends moved away…
If you are foodies and need to find a foodie match…
If you go away on vacation and don’t want to be alone…

Find your couple connection!

Most likely, they are in the exact same boat, just waiting for someone to make the first move. 🙂

 

 

 

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At 34, it was still a summer of firsts

As I reflect back over the summer, I’m so happy that at age 34, I’m still having firsts! I’m exploring new places and trying new things. I never have the time to blog as much as I’d like, so I’m summing up the last three months in pics and stories.

First Airbnb stay. I never thought I was cool enough to try the Airbnb lifestyle, but when my whole family was headed to Connecticut to visit my brother (he works at ESPN), we realized how cost effective it would be to stay together.

The condo we booked was only 10 minutes from my brother’s place and it was seriously perfect. Note: Staying with your entire family is TOUGH. It’s hard not to have your own space and sharing one bathroom was NOT ideal. But, we powered through and there were a lot more laughs than tears.

Our host was fantastic and I felt really welcomed the minute we walked in. It feels so much more like home when you have a house to stay in versus a hotel and it’s killer that you can cook your own meals and even do laundry. It’s also fabulous if you have kids, since there is a lot more space for them to run around.

This trip was a great one. We got to tour ESPN, hang out at the ocean, eat a lot of awesome meals (either cooking them together in the condo or eating at restaurants) and simply spend quality, precious time together. If you ever need to stay in the Southington, CT area or want to see pictures of our place, check out where we stayed here. The kitchen was my favorite part.

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With my man 🙂

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The whole crew minus mom

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ESPN Tour

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ESPN Tour

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ESPN Tour

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Vincenzo

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Santino

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Mom, my sis, my bro and me

First time flying alone. This was a BIG one. My first time on an airplane came just a few short years ago, and I was with my husband, so I felt much more comfortable. This time, it was just little, old me and the anxiety leading up to this trip almost crushed me. But, you do everything for your friends and I was determined to get past this fear and get to Texas to celebrate one of my best friend’s bridal showers and bachelorette party.

The ride to the airport in the morning was terrifying. It was 5 am. It was raining. My mom (she dropped me off) was driving and trying to navigate construction. We finally arrive and I’m pretty much shaking with fear. I go inside to check my bag and I’m 1 lb over the weight limit, so I’m sprawled out on the airport floor, opening my suitcase, underwear flying out, as I pull out a hat and a floral coat to get under the limit. I’m now walking around the airport at 6 am with a Fedora, that flashy coat and a shirt that says, “Coffee saves, bro.”

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In the airport restroom, see the Fedora and the coat in the back!

I’m pretty awesome. I got to security and made it through pretty quickly, got over to the tram, found my gate, and plopped my ass down for an hour wait until it was boarding time. That was the worst. Just sitting and waiting.

I flew Allegiant, so I already secured the seat I wanted. I got on the plane, found my row and my seat and sat down. Aisle seat, of course, I don’t mess with windows. Then I spent the next 10 minutes trying to buckle my seatbelt, in a nervous frenzy, before the sweet flight attendant told me I was doing it backward. Whoops. I put in my EarPlanes, because in my head, without them, my ears would explode upon take-off and settled in for a three-hour flight.

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I pulled out my hardback book from the library (what a dork) and started to read. Three hours was far too long to be on that plane, but I survived!

On the way back, I got stopped at security and they had to search my carry on, all because of a change purse. I was also way over the checked baggage limit and had to pay $50 in fees. Whoops. Then when the pilot said we’d possibly be flying through the solar eclipse and not to look directly at the sun outside the window, I really started to freak out. I just imagined the plane being sucked into some alternate time portal (seriously, I did), as the super brave 8-year-old kid beside me whispered to his mom, “I’m totally looking.” Luckily, we landed just 10 minutes before, so we weren’t in the air.

First time in Texas. It was hot as hell, but it was fantastic. A lot of firsts happened here.

First time at a Drybar. I kid you not, my hair looked good for two full days. After an entire day of prepping and holding the bridal shower, to the bachelorette party, to the entire next day of shopping and then a really late night dinner. Beachy waves for the win!

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Drybar in Austin

First time trying a breakfast taco and Texas queso dip. Mine had sausage, egg, cheese and mashed potatoes and coupled with a hot cup off coffee and those chips and dip, wow. I’m salivating right now thinking about it.

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Taco Deli in Austin

First time co-hosting a bridal shower. I don’t mind being the center of attention around friends, but I was in a room full of strangers and I had to host bridal shower games. It was super fun and we all had a blast. The mimosas might have helped? 🙂

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Me + Bride to Be

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Me + Bride to Be + Snapchat filter

First time using Uber. In my area, Uber is around, but it’s not as available as it is in Austin. It was fascinating, just watching the driver on the map and getting the updates as to how far away they were. It’s a great and safe way to travel.

First time experiencing the cocktail culture. My friend is a fan of the cocktail and she took us to some pretty spectacular places for her bachelorette party. I’ve never had drinks this delicious in my life and I’m bumming as I come home to my pathetic Bacardi and coke. It’s always fun getting all dressed up and experiencing the nightlife in a new place. As a mom of two, getting these special girl’s weekends are so sweet and so needed.

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All ready

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Me + Bride to Be

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I had a “Don Suave” at Red Ash in Austin

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I had a “Cafe Blue Mountain”  at The Townsend in Austin

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The Roosevelt Room drink list

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Of course, I had “The Hemingway Daiquiri ” at The Roosevelt Room in Austin

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I had “I Carried A Watermelon” at Eberly in Austin

And lastly, cheating a little on this first, but I have a First Grader! Are you kidding me? He’s more mature and grown up than I’m ready for and I’ve already told my 16-month-old he’s not allowed to grow up that fast.

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Big man

So it truly was a summer of firsts. I also got my first iPad (talk about late to the party), it was the first time I was summoned for jury duty (got out of it) and my first time betting on The Belmont (on my actual birthday) and winning.

34 is already shaping up to be one hell of a year. 🙂

Tell me about your favorite firsts.

 

 

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It took a few hours of quiet to see this…

It’s raining. I’m sitting in my quiet house on a Thursday evening, sipping a glass of rum. I think it’s the first time I’ve taken a deep breath in two weeks.

Life is crazy. My summer has not been easy. Having a 6 year old and a 14 month old home all day, every day while you try to run a business is equal parts disaster and insanity.

My client list and my dreams keeps growing, but so does my stress level. How do I do it all? Why are these kids so loud? When do I get a break? When do things get easier?

Not to mention, the upcoming out-of-town wedding that I’m in which has me planning bridal shower games and organizing travel arrangements. And shelling out a lot of bucks. I love you, Cait, but you’re an expensive friend to have right now. 🙂

And of course, there’s the trip to see my brother in Connecticut, more expenses and more time away from work.

And the student loans and the credit cards and the home repairs and the laundry and the dishes. And the never ending list of STUFF we have to handle.

Then a moment like this comes and I remember to count my blessings. I am sitting here, perfectly healthy and capable. I am able to do what I love every day. I have an amazing support system in my husband, my kids, my family, my friends. I am not alone or scared. I have dreams. I have plans. I can do whatever I want.

Sure, I have anxiety attacks and bad days where I think I might just take the car and keep driving until I get somewhere that nobody knows me.

But all in all, my life is full of purpose and passion and that is what matters.

I had a pretty bad couple of weeks, so today as I wrote this, I thought back to all the fun I’ve had this summer. Playdates with new friends and old friends. Bonfires and birthdays and silly nights with best friends. Sitting on my mom’s porch, enjoying family and stillness on lazy Saturdays. Date days with my husband. Plenty of laughter and memories.

And there is still so much to come…

Our trip to see my brother, more playdates, my first ever solo plane ride to a new state to celebrate with my dear friend for her shower and bachelorette party, our fantasy football draft, the McGregor/Mayweather fight. I mean, how could I leave that out?

I need to stop wasting away summer, trying to get to the next day, the next week, the next month, the next ‘to do’ off the list. I’ll be sad when Vincenzo is in school and Santino won’t have his partner in crime at home all day. I’ll be sad when the weather starts to get chilly and the daylight runs out too quickly. I’ll miss the chaos.

It will be a new busy. It’s always going to be some kind of busy. At least while I have young kids and a growing business. And all that busy is worth it.

I’m trying to tell myself not to whine, or complain or dream about what I don’t have – because everything I need, is right in front of me.

Love harder. Listen better. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And remember to breathe.

Every season of life is an important one. Embrace each, before it passes you by.

I miss blogging, so I’m going to try to be here more often and keep you updated on all these fun summer events and share pictures and stories. Because that is what I love to do, tell stories. And when you stop doing what you love, you lose a piece of yourself.

Tell me what you love to do and how you plan to do it more!

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