What makes you happy?

25 things that make me happy:

1. Deep discussions with my dad during long car rides

2. Wine and fancy dinner with a group of friends

3. Rocking my daughter to sleep

4. A really good kiss from the love of my life

5. Playing with a puppy

6. Watching my baby discover something new

7. Hugging my friends who I don’t get to see very often

8. Listening to a feel-good song

9. Getting a call in the morning that I don’t have to go to work

10. A breath of salt air on the beach

11. Looking at a finished project or piece of artwork I made, after great effort was put into it

12. A long, healthy talk with my husband, at random

13. An early morning in PJ’s with a cup of tea and something to read

14. Puzzling with Poppop and making him laugh really hard and loudly

15. Running errands on a Saturday with my Mom

16. Walking into the Magic Kingdom in DisneyWorld

17. Christmas Eve at my Mommom’s house

18. Watching my husband enjoy a meal I made for him.

19. A lunch date with my sister

20. Eating slices of Mack and Manco’s pizza on stools in sandy bathing suits in the middle of a beach day with my Mommom

21. Seeing someone’s face after you just paid them an appreciated compliment

22. Hearing and seeing my daughter chuckle

23. Watching and reciting every line of City Slicker with my Dad

24. That perfect-timing hug and love from your mom

25. Walking the Ocean City Boardwalk on a summer night

*This post is dedicated to my beautiful daughter. May you read this and learn that your mom knows what matters in this world and thanks God every day for the small and incredibly beautiful gifts with which she has been blessed.IMG_0017

Spotify

A friend mentioned this app to me so I downloaded it, and I really like it so I wanted to share!

Spotify is a free music app where you can listen to music you know but also find some amazing new songs or artists.

There are categories to Browse through but you could also choose to Discover, use the Radio, etc. You can follow artists and create your own stations. I can’t wait to explore the app further!

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You should check it out!

Bears

My husband and I have been dropping our baby off at my mom’s house and seeing a movie every Tuesday night (we just learned that our theater has $6 movies on Tuesdays!). This is so fun for us because it gives us something different to talk about; it is like we are sharing a new experience! Anyway… a few weeks ago we went to see Saving Mr. Banks, which we really loved, and while we were waiting for it to start they showed a preview for a movie called Bears! It was made my Disneynature, was filmed in Alaska, and narrated by John C. Reilly!

Oh my gosh, I am a new parent and a nature lover so I cried by eyes out through this entire trailer. It really touched me, I can’t believe how emotional I felt. I was literally sobbing! I am so excited to go the week it comes out, April 18th to celebrate Earth day. For each ticket sold, Disneynature is donating to the National Park Foundation so not only are you getting an experience but you are helping too! I can’t wait!

Click here or click this photo, from the movie, below to see the trailer:

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An Update…

As if I needed another hat to wear, last week I added a new role to my list, student. I started back at school to get my BSN. I didn’t particularly want to take any more nursing classes but getting my bachelor’s degree is a personal goal. I want to show my daughter that her mom can finish what she starts. It is a financial burden and eats up a lot of precious time but I think it was all be worth it in the end.

My sister moved to North Jersey and I went to visit her new house for the first time yesterday. She is only 21 and she bought her first home on her own, is taking care of her 2 dogs, and working as an accountant! I am so happy for her and proud of her! Her new home is perfect for her at this time of her life and her town is adorable. We had so much fun! We went to a restaurant called Toast, wandered around Whole Foods choosing some really fun chocolate bars, tea, and goodies, and went to a place called Eagle Rock Reservation to see the skyline of NYC. Luciana had a blast visiting her aunt “Mo Mo”.

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Luciana is getting really big and more beautiful every day. She is the best thing that has ever happened to us and we couldn’t be happier. She is a really good baby and is a ton of responsibility but is worth every second of it. It has been awful going back to work because I LOVE being at home but I am doing my part to contribute to my community and make some money to take care of my daughter; my dad takes care of her most days while I work, we are so blessed! She sits up on her own now and plays so nicely on her own with her toys. It is fun to make her different foods. She loves sweet potatoes and pears. I am enjoying every day. Watching her grow is the most bittersweet experience ever; I love that she is healthy and learning new things but seeing her slip away from earlier stages hurts so badly. Here are some of our favorite photos from the last month, playing outside at the beach…

IMG_3023in the snow…IMG_2867in the custom Christmas pajamas I designed and sewed for her with her name in the fabric…IMG_2646and on Christmas Eve with Mommy and Daddy…IMG_2579Stay tuned for more inspiration, recipes, and much more!

Thanks for reading…come back soon!

The Monster

Everyone who reads this blog knows it is about achieving balance in life. Whether it is food, experiences, art, music, stuff, people or feelings, I feel like I need to control it all and keep it balanced.

I wanted to blog about something very real and difficult that I call “the monster”. I have to factor “the monster” coming and going in and out of my day as I try to achieve this balance. “The monster” is the feeling I get when a hormonal wave comes over me. I don’t feel overly sad or overly angry. I would call it a cousin or relative to the emotions: anxious and uneasiness. Some people would say its a type of PMS. Some would say it’s when you cry but don’t know why.

If “the monster” comes over you, especially after your body has just gone through a pregnancy, you are not alone; I am at least one other woman who experiences this.

I usually notice that it will take some kind of trigger to bring it on, it can be as small as spilling a glass of water on the floor or something not going as planned. It feels like a pit in my stomach and sometimes it takes triple the effort to take a deep breath.

Crocheting or reading help. A few tears shed sometimes help. Time and patience help it to go away as well. I beg my husband not to ignore me but to ignore “the monster”.

I want my readers to be reminded that bloggers of happy and inspiring things are also people who have struggles and challenges. I usually share to inspire but today I share to help someone feel less lonely when their monster comes.

10: Baby Products, so far….(1st 3 months)

Baby Products

So before I was a mom, I asked all my “mom friends”  what their favorite baby items were!

I received many items at my baby shower and I purchased some on my own. My daughter is 3 months old now and so I wanted to share our top 10 baby items…so far.

1. Fisher-Price, My Little Snugabunny Bouncer: This chair sits in our living room and whenever I need to get anything done, there she sits. It bounces with her movements but doesn’t move on it’s own like a swing. Necessity!

2. Prefolded Cloth Diapers as Burp Cloths: We can not live without these. We use them as burp cloths. In our experience they are best for absorption. We need one of these within a 3 foot radius of Luciana at all times.

3. Boogie Wipes: These wipes are unlike any other. They smell awesome and they are created to break down mucus. My daughter had a blocked tear duct for the first month of her life and these were our “go to” to wipe away the mucus. The scent called “fresh” is our favorite.

4. Medela manual breast pump: This pump is convenient and quiet. It is less work to clean when you only need to relieve engorgement. Disregard this one if you don’t plan to breast feed. I didn’t use mine right at first but am so happy I eventually opened and used it.

5. Chicco Keyfit 30: This car seat has been great. We have not had a problems with it. We bring our daughter everywhere we go. Best part is that it fits in to this frame, our number 6 top product…

6. Chicco Keyfit Caddy: This makes errands so easy! I am obsessed. I feel like my daughter is safe in this. We use it ALL the time.

7. Butt Paste: This butt paste is great when there is a little bit of redness. Clears it right up! Have not had a diaper rash yet (knock on wood).

8. Pampers Swaddlers: These are the only diapers we will use! We love them! They have a line on the front that tells you if it is wet or not. I don’t like the “baby dry” just the “swaddlers”. Also, there are always coupons for them, just keep an eye out!

9. Huggies Natural Care Wipes: We prefer the Huggies brand wipes. We have tried several but these are somewhat textured and come apart from each other with ease.

10. Summer Infant Bath: This is not the exact bath we have but its very similar and by the same brand. It has been perfect for us. We give our daughter a bath every night before bed.

 

In my opinion, don’t bother with these :

Wipes warmer

Rock ‘n play (unless you have a baby with reflux, I hear they are great for refluxing babies but we found ours unnecessary)

My best tip:

My daughter sleeps through the night, every single night. I am talking 8, 9, even 10 hours. I don’t know why but I personally think that it has to do with a few things…1. We always give her a bath at night. I believe it helps her understand the time of day it is. 2. I always nurse her after her bath for comfort even if she recently ate. Just for a few minutes if doesn’t need a full feeding. 3. I lay her in her bed while drowsy. She soothes herself to sleep. 4. I only ever place her in bed when it is bedtime. She does not nap or play in her bed. *You will learn the different cries. When I hear a “pain cry” I don’t hesitate to give gas drops. They help my daughter a lot.

I hope this is helpful! Comments welcome.

 

Blueberry Haiku

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Tart yet sweet to bite

Simply and beautifully blue

Fresh gift from nature

We must enjoy the very small things in this world to achieve the balance we so desire in our everyday lives. Choosing this pretty bowl to compliment the berries’ color, carefully photographing them on a well lit and natural surface, and writing the fun little poem above helped me to embrace them. I want to teach my daughter to create happiness from nature. I want her life to be rich with art. I want her to take her time, to look at things around her, and to appreciate simplicity.

Damn right I support it

“I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it”

~Macklemore, Same Love

I was in the car a few nights ago when I heard a man rapping on the radio. I don’t generally choose to listen to rap music but the lyrics above, of Macklemore’s song, Same Love, hooked me. I cried when it was done because of several emotions; I was so proud of this guy for singing what he was singing. I was sad that a song even needed to be written about something that seems so easy, equal rights. I thought of people that I know, who still don’t understand how wrong it is to hate and how sad I am for them. I thought about how some people, like myself, are happily in love, sharing their love for each other with the world, and it is the best thing in their lives; haters are robbing this privilege from others.

This rapper is saying that he doesn’t need to belong to a group to support them. It’s about respect for every other person. It’s about empathy for their personal struggles, experiences, and decisions.

I researched Macklemore a little more and found out that he is a small town guy from Seattle. His original thoughts, organic ideas, and a talent to express them have made people want to listen to what he has to say.

Below is a link to the video for the song, which is another incredible piece of art! The video is so well done and inspirational within itself. Click the photo or click here to check it out.

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*Thank you Ryan Lewis for the video

Destiny

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
~ Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)

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Are you trying to be a better person today than you were yesterday?

Are you living with a purpose or meaning? Do you believe in destiny?

What is your destiny?

After reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist about a boy who is searching for his “personal legend” (AKA his destiny), I can’t help but ask myself the questions above.

Every day, it is a challenge to balance my career, my relationships, my creativity, my hobbies, my diet, my “stuff”, my spirituality, and much more.

Sometimes, I feel that MY destiny, as a modern day, suburban woman, is to find the perfect and very delicate balance of all of the components listed above. I believe that one day I will be at peace with the balance I find and be satisfied. The very reason I write this blog is to share my own ways of balancing all and to inspire my readers who share in this destiny (which I think is very common).

I believe that doing the best I can to achieve this balance every day makes me one step closer to fulfilling my destiny.

Borrow this book from your local library or buy here. I hope that if you choose to continue reading my blog I can inspire you in some way…