Westley gets it…writing + communication + The Princess Bride

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Princess Bride. It’s utterly perfect in so many ways. You laugh, you cry, you jump, you feel like true love is alive. It really has it all.

**SPOILERS INSIDE**
If you haven’t seen this movie, go watch it first.

It also got me thinking about the great communication and writing lessons tucked inside.

Westley is at the center of many great examples throughout the movie!

As writers, some of our pieces appeal strongly to a certain group of our followers and not at all to others. For instance, in writing this right now, I’m neglecting everyone who has not seen this movie, but I’m really connecting to those that love it as much as I do.  

If I write a sports-related piece, only half of my audience is going to enjoy it. Not everyone likes sports and that is perfectly okay. But if my goal is to get people to go download my sports- inspired content cheat sheet, then they are my audience for the day.

Back to Westley. Oh, my sweet, Westley.

In the beginning, he’s quiet and docile. He loves Buttercup but realizes it will take time for this strong woman to show her vulnerable side and profess her love, so he waits and his words are simple and exactly what she needs to hear, “As you wish…”

When we write, we need to understand what our audience needs to hear. Do they need to connect with pain points, do they need positive reinforcement or support, do they need motivation and inspiration? Give them what they wish.

We don’t see it happening, but we know Westley must have really impressed the Dread Pirate Roberts because he didn’t kill him. In fact, he chose him to continue his secret life. I imagine Westley used his charm and knowledge of saying what only needed to be said to escape certain death.

A great lesson when writing. Less is more. Fluff doesn’t add anything but length. Keep your points clear, concise and memorable.

When Westley finally emerges and we find him facing the three men who kidnapped Buttercup, he again knows exactly how to talk to each of them.

When facing Inigo, even though they are battling with swords, they quickly find mutual respect. They chat throughout the whole duel, even complimenting one another on their skills.

This goes to show that even if your audience thinks differently than you do, you can build mutual respect by sharing knowledge that impacts. Maybe not everyone will get your humor, but everyone might resonate with the message of love or support you share in your writing. Who likes your writing might really surprise you.

Westley also intrigues Inigo and Inigo wants to know who he is. Westley doesn’t tell him, which is another good lesson. Always leave your audience wanting more when you write. If you have a 6-part series on sales and you publish it all in one article, there isn’t much more to share. Spread the content out over time. Mystery is a good thing. Leave that mask on a little bit longer.

Next up, he faces Fezzik, the giant. What can we learn from this? Never believe your writing isn’t good enough to stand amongst the giants of writing. Westley couldn’t beat the giant on strength alone, but he did beat him with persistence. He knew he could put the giant to sleep if he held on long enough and if you hold on long enough, you will start getting noticed, too. This isn’t an easy career. But it’s the most amazing one and if writing is in your soul, then you must write.

When facing Vizzini, he knows he’s dealing with a big ego. He also knows he has a powerful tool, an immunity to iocane powder, that he can use to battle Vizzini, who thinks he is much smarter than everyone else.

Our lesson here is practice makes perfect. Westley spent a year building up an immunity to the powder so he could poison both glasses. When we hone our craft, write every day, we become immune to the negativity and doubt that arises within. The doubt that ultimately kills our writing and instead, we flourish and thrive off that poison.

Lastly, even though I could go on forever with this…Buttercup realizes that the masked man is her Westley, only after she hears his signature phrase, “Aaaaaaaaaaas youuuuuuuu wiiiiiiiish,” as he barrels down the hill.

You need a signature writing style, brand, personality, etc. It’s already inside of you and once that mask comes off there is no stopping you. Not even by a Rodent of Unusual Size.

WRITE!

Go into that Fire Swamp of the unknown, battle your personal Prince Humperdincks’ along the way and come out at the end with the realization that your story is a beautiful one that deserves to be told.

 

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I’m tired of worrying, how about you?

As our two-year old flopped around like a fish in our bed last night, I couldn’t help but think, wow, the way he sleeps is the way my brain works.

It never stops. It’s always moving back and forth between feeling sane and totally insane and I never really feel truly comfortable. Just as he lay still for maybe a few moments, my brain is the same. It’s only when I get lost for a while, like during an amazing film or book or when I spend a day in nature or with my family and friends, that I forget to think or worry.

In 2019, I just want to stop worrying. I even worry about worrying. I worry about everything. I know you can relate.

Guys, my oldest went to a kid’s birthday bowling party the other day and all I could think leading up to it was who was going to be there and was he going to like his shoes or slide and fall down or stink at it and get made fun of. I worried if he’d close his mouth chewing his pizza or say thank you enough. And I WAS THERE. Imagine my terror if I wasn’t. And *spoiler alert*: NONE of this happened. His shoes were fine, he bowled well, he had fun, he said thank you and it was a great day.

Why didn’t I just trust and believe it would be a good day?
Why did I go into automatic worry mode? 

It’s frustrating AF.

And it’s not just my oldest, I worry about my youngest, I worry about my husband, my family, my friends, my clients, myself, the world. The only good thing about my worrying is I am really open to talking about it lately and I’m realizing we are all doing the same thing. We can all be in a room at a party “having a good time” but we all have something in the back of our minds bothering us slightly.

I sat at the kid’s birthday party with a really close friend (also a mom) and we laughed at all the things we worry about in a day. It’s refreshing when you just say it out loud.

When I worry, I tend to spiral.

It’s called Catastrophic Thinking and I didn’t even know this was a thing until I found myself googling about it. Basically, you worry about one small thing and turn it into seventeen things after.

For instance, I could worry that I make a mistake with a client and they lose business because of me and then they lose all their money and then they lose their house and then they file bankruptcy and then they hate me forever and then they sue me and then I lose everything, etc., etc. You get yourself so far from the original worry, you can’t even get back to it. And even though it’s super irrational, you find a way to believe it could happen.

You get that terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach. You want to vomit, cry, run. And then maybe another day, that exact same thought doesn’t bother you at all.

There is a great quote from Michel de Montaigne (over 500 years ago) and he said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

SO true. 

There was a study done that found that a whopping 85% of the stuff we worry about, NEVER HAPPENS. And when things did happen to people, 79% of them said they handled it better than they expected.

So why do we do it?
And why can’t we be more present in the moment?

IF something happens, we can deal with it at that time. Trying to figure out what MIGHT happen is not productive. Our imaginations run wild. It’s a good thing when we are trying to be creative, but not so good when we are worrying.

Another great quote is, “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.” – Glenn Turner

Another super true statement.

I think many of us worry about things we did in the past, too. Things we said or didn’t say. Mistakes we made. People we hurt. Situations we handled wrong. Faux pas we committed. If we didn’t make amends or do what we could do then, there is nothing we can do now.

WE ARE HUMAN. We are not perfect. We all grow and change. The person I was as little as five years ago, is not the person I am today. And you probably feel the same. Experiences teach us and hopefully the people that love us can forgive us and support us. We can’t keep punishing ourselves and letting it affect the rest of our lives.

And I’m not talking about people who have committed major offenses. I’m talking about the time you said something inappropriate and embarrassed your spouse or the time you got really drunk and threw up in your best friend’s car or the time you were snarky at the woman at the cash register at Target because you were having a bad day. Or the time you royally messed up at work or the time you weren’t there for someone when they needed you and you lost a friendship.  You pick the scenario. Again, it’s in the past. You can’t change it now, so don’t dwell on it. Learn from it and be better, do better. If you can do something about it, like reach back out to that friend you lost, do it and just be honest.

If we let the past creep into our minds and determine our potential future, we completely lose the present.

Worrying isn’t worth it. Stress is a killer, we know this. Our blood pressure rises and it’s tough on our hearts. We have to find a way to breathe and stop the cycle.

I don’t have any answers. I just know personally that talking things out REALLY helps. And you can talk to whomever you feel comfortable talking to. Maybe that person is a family member, a friend or an outside resource like a therapist.

The next time you start to spiral down that worry path, think about the facts. 85% of that stuff will never happen. That should bring you some solace. And all that stuff in the past, I bet it’s bothering you way more than it’s bothering someone else.

I also try to distract myself if I start to worry too much. I’ll start saying my prepositions in alphabetical order in my head (learned that at age 12, haven’t lost it yet).  Or I’ll name every state and their capitals or my favorite – I’ll relive an entire day. A day that was amazing and beautiful. Like my wedding day.

I will try to remember each minute, from waking up, eating breakfast, getting ready, running in the rain to the hair salon, every little piece of it. And my brain goes to a very different place and the worry disappears.

How do you cope with worry?
Do you meditate?
Do you talk to someone?

I would love ANY and ALL feedback.

Cheers to a clear mind and a focus on the present in 2019!

Follow me on Instagram at @letsmeetforcopy and @apassionforthepen

 

 

 

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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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