The Land of Bullshit

comment 1
lifestyle

Facebook has turned into a platform for racism, hatred, and ignorance. People follow, share, and like without ever truly standing up for anyone else or standing out for a cause. If you don’t believe in anything truly significant you’ll fall for anything and sadly, Facebook has become the land of bullshit. Girls share Tik Tok videos to share their political views, memes have become a form of communication, and people will believe anything that is posted on Facebook.

I naively posted a controversial statement on Facebook last night after receiving the news alert from CNN that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. I posted something because I needed to vent and share my thoughts on the subject, because the fact that a seventeen year old boy, who walked around with an AR-15, in a state that wasn’t even his own, after curfew, took the law into his own hands and killed, is not being charged with anything absolutely disgusts me. I will never support any seventeen year old walking the streets armed because I am someone who believes wholeheartedly in our need for stricter gun laws. This country has fallen victim to countless school shootings, one of the most heartbreaking incidents being Sandy Hook, movie theater shootings, concert shootings, racial injustice that has ended in gun violence, and people are STILL defending the shooter. If Kyle Rittenhouse had been a young, black boy we wouldn’t even be having this conversation because he would’ve been convicted in five minutes, or worse, killed for being a “thug”. I am so tired of hearing people say, “Well, if Kyle hadn’t had a gun he would’ve been killed himself.” Well, if Kyle hadn’t chosen to put himself in that situation, or he had parents who actually parented and told him not to go to the riot, he wouldn’t have had to defend himself. He could’ve been playing football, reading a book, going to the movies with friends, or working. He decided to be there, with an AR-15. He went to the riot armed and open to killing someone. No one will change my mind on how I feel on this subject, especially when it comes to gun control. I’m also outraged that his mother wasn’t concerned by the actions of her son. Whether she drove her son to the riot or not (I know that was a heated topic), it doesn’t matter, because she supported her son having an AR-15, and she clearly raised him in a household that supports violence and vigilantes. We should be raising our children to be compassionate, kind, caring souls.

NOW, with all of that being said, I know that there will always be someone who disagrees with me and I don’t think that everyone should feel the way I feel, but I am sick of Facebook being a place where if you dare to share your thoughts and feelings you’re instantly attacked for that. What happened to having a true, controversial conversation with a person and being respectful? I don’t comment on anyone’s posts on social media with the intention of being a bully, combative, or being an asshole. I rarely comment on anyone’s posts to begin with and if I do it’s usually a positive, constructive comment. People on social media love to fight just to fight and love to find drama. I am not that person and I cannot handle it. It’s not who I am. I am kind, respectful, and I stand by what I believe in, always, but I’m not going to sit there and listen to bullshit and nastiness. I don’t have the time or the patience for it. I wound up deleting the statement I posted, which I’ve never done before, after another person I went to school with called me insane and basically called me an idiot for feeling the way I feel, and I received two nasty messages via Facebook from ignorant bullies. I decided that Facebook is just not the place to have meaningful, controversial conversations, or a place to share real thoughts. It’s not a place to make impactful changes or to make positive waves. There are Facebook friends of mine who reached out to me and loved what I wrote, which I appreciate, but again, I just don’t have the time to argue with every person who disagrees with me.

I’m a business owner and it’s just not worth my time to argue or battle it out with people on Facebook. I’m not afraid to offend people or to be controversial (anyone who knows me knows I always stand up for what’s right and I have my strong viewpoints), but sometimes it’s just better to bow out and to take your voice elsewhere. I am taking my voice to the blogosphere because on here I can be me and I can be honest without being attacked and judged. I know that in the blog universe there are actual thinkers and true creatives who have beliefs and voices and whether I agree with everyone who has a blog or not, as creative people we are writing about how we feel and being productive. We are not hiding behind a computer screen attacking anyone and everyone simply because we’re bored. As a writer, I know that words are powerful and we need to focus on writing things on social media and on the internet that truly matter as opposed to writing something just to make a noise. Posting a meme isn’t a thought. It’s an easy, trendy way to get likes. You may be loud on the internet, but that doesn’t mean you’re right. You’re just the one making the most commotion. The ones who are calm, cool, and collected are the ones who make true waves. The ones who can listen to both sides without attacking and hitting below the belt are true adults.

To those who are also tired of the constant ignorance and negativity on social media, just sign off for a moment and take a breath. We cannot change the way others feel and we cannot block the hate, but we can be creative and find better ways to express ourselves. I run two successful businesses and much of my business comes from strong Facebook advertising, so sadly I will be on social media regardless, but it’s still okay to log off some days and ignore the social media world. You can do it too, if you feel that the social media break will improve your mental health. Last night I scrolled through my newsfeed on Facebook, which I don’t usually do, and I saw so many posts that were blatantly racist and hateful, which made me immediately sign off and delete my post, because I don’t want to engage with the racist, negative morons. It’s not worth it. Welcome to the land of bullshit, where being a racist is “cool” and conspiracy theories thrive.

I will leave you all with one last thought before I carry on with my busy Saturday (and I stay off of Facebook today for my sanity)…

It’s not what you take with you when you go, it’s what you leave behind that matters. Leave the world better than you left it and always give more than you take.

Xo

Coming Home

comment 1
lifestyle

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house ♥️

I am someone who loves decorating for the holiday season. Every aspect of the holidays makes me so happy, from the cold egg nog to the pretty decor. I always decorate earlier than everyone else, but I like to be merry for more than twenty-five days! There’s nothing better than watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade next to your Christmas tree. I bought our new artificial Christmas tree over the summer from The King of Christmas (an online retailer), because it was on sale, and I was so excited to finally put it up a couple of weeks ago. It’s a six-and-a-half-foot, snow-flocked tree. I am a firm believer in using an artificial tree as opposed to picking out a real one, for multiple reasons, but of course, that’s a personal preference. I am just loving sitting on the couch and looking over at our tree every day. It’s the most magical time of the year and I am hoping to inspire all of you to enjoy your space this holiday season.

I would like to start by saying that it doesn’t matter the size of your home, whether you’re in an apartment or a house, because every home can be filled with beauty and magic for the holidays. I know so many people with tiny spaces that make their homes look enchanting for the holidays. I’m always so impressed with beautiful home styling in smaller spaces. I also know many people who have huge homes that take a lot of time and patience to decorate. I grew up in a large house and my mom filled every single room with a fully decorated, three-foot tree, Santas, and angels. We also had a huge, artificial Christmas tree in our front room, that was lit up with multicolored lights, and decorated with millions of ornaments. My mom made our home feel like Christmas and I have continued with that tradition.

If you don’t have room for a large, six-foot Christmas tree, that’s okay. You can buy a smaller tree, a slim tree (which is great for smaller spaces and there are some really beautiful ones available), or a tabletop tree. I also love adding some real pine trees and holly trees to my outdoor space (my deck and my yard), and I usually light them up with solar Christmas lights, and then we plant the trees in the springtime. I will be planting my two pine trees and my one holly tree at our farm in 2022.

If you have a smaller space, it’s important to make sure your home is organized before decorating to ensure that every bit of your space is functional. You don’t want your holiday season filled with clutter and a mess. It’s the perfect time to donate unwanted or unused items that you don’t need. I always clean our drawers, closets, and donate items in early November, before I decorate and before receiving Christmas presents. As a mom, I also donate some toys of Greyson’s before his December birthday and Christmas. As humans, we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff and it’s nice to cleanse our space.

I don’t have a fireplace with a mantle. I have a really pretty, farmhouse, electric fireplace beneath our tv, that I love, but I cannot hang stockings there. I know that a lot of other people are also lacking a mantle to hang stockings the traditional way, but that doesn’t have to stop you from hanging stockings. I started using a blanket ladder rack to hang my stockings a few years back and now I do it every year! Using a blanket ladder rack allows you to lean it wherever you’d like in your home, too. I use lightweight, plastic stocking hooks to hang my stockings on the ladder and the setup works perfectly. They’re easy to slide and move if need be and the ladder is sturdy so the stockings never fall or shift, no matter how heavy they become with stocking stuffers. I bought my stocking hooks on Amazon and they’re not expensive. I also love draping a Christmas garland on top of my electric fireplace, just like you would on a mantle. It looks beautiful and adds something special to our fireplace. Garlands are great because you can find one for every season and time of the year. I decorate on top of our fireplace every season, but winter is my favorite.

I love winter and I enjoy filling my space with winter-themed pieces for the holidays, opposed to just buying Christmas decor. Winter pieces can stay up until the end of the winter season, but Christmas decor comes down after New Year’s Day. If you’re me, your Christmas decor is packed up on January 2nd. I leave my winter decor up until the end of the winter season. I love snowmen, neutral colors, skiing decor, and pine trees that are not lit. I love every bit of winter and I always bring the beauty of winter to our farmhouse. I’m also obsessed with Nutcrackers and I have quite a few (I had to stop myself from buying more this year). My love for Nutcrackers stems from my love for The Nutcracker ballet, which I believe is the most beautiful tribute to Christmas. The music, the costumes, and the magic from The Nutcracker inspires me every year. I’ve always viewed Nutcrackers as protective soldiers that bring good luck during the holiday season, but they’re also really beautiful.

A few weeks ago, I had stumbled across a three-foot, indoor Santa that I really wanted, but I decided to wait on buying it. I went back a few days later with Andrew and Greyson to buy it and it was sold out. Greyson and I drove around for an entire day, to six different stores searching for one, but no one had a three-foot Santa. Andrew, who is the world’s greatest husband, decided to surprise me. He bought me the most gorgeous, three-foot Santa online. I almost cried when I pulled the Santa out of the box. It was so thoughtful and that’s what the holidays are all about…making the ones you love smile. I love falling in love with the season and soaking in every day spent at home. I love being home for the holidays and surrounded by my decor, Christmas tree, and my family. Take some time today to decorate, listen to Christmas music, and be inspired by the holidays. Have some egg nog and cozy up under a favorite blanket. It’s a wonderful time to relax, celebrate, and appreciate what you have. A home can be as magical as you make it. The magic lives within you.

Stay tuned for a special blog post (after the holidays) dedicated to transforming your Christmas tree into a winter tree, so that you can leave your tree up throughout the winter and enjoy it longer.

Xo

Sweating the Small Stuff

comment 1
lifestyle

Do you know the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff.”? The saying is a reminder not to worry about little things that don’t matter (and much of what people worry about consists of little things). Well, I am someone who sweats the small stuff, always. I am someone who suffers from severe anxiety and I have my entire life. When I was a little girl I would stay up until two in the morning organizing my toys and my room, decorating every inch of my space, and from day one I’ve been someone who needs to feel in control of my things and my life, hence my attention to detail. Having anxiety is something that’s incredibly hard to describe to those who don’t suffer from it, because when you have anxiety your mind operates quite differently. Your mind never stops and your emotions are overwhelming.

For me, having anxiety comes in waves. I’m standing on a beautiful beach and some days the waves are calm and steady. I can swim and enjoy the water. But, some days the waves are violent and are crashing all around me. The waves are dark and endless. I cannot keep my footing and I’m drowning under rough water. This week I happened to wake up in turbulent water, drowning. My anxiety has been overwhelming for three days and I’m just now starting to see a calm in the water and I can finally start to plant my feet firmly in the sand. When my anxiety is at a 10 (on a scale from 1-10 and 10 being the highest) I start to feel depressed and fearful. My anxiety has been at a steady 10 the past week. Sometimes, I just need to lay down and cuddle under a comfy blanket and cry. Anxiety is very real and very scary. It can be crippling and I know this better than anyone. It can ruin any day. It can make you feel alone, terrified, and angry. It is also a reminder that despite my weaknesses, I am incredibly strong.

When I was younger I could barely go to school some days because the feeling of being trapped in a building, or in a classroom with a ton of people, is terrifying to me. I’ve never been able to go to concerts or festivals because there’s just too many people and too much unknown (lack of control). I love intimate settings, spending time with my closest friends, being outdoors (the beach, the mountains, on my farm), and I even love New York City, but when I’m in the city the day needs to be on my terms (my plan). I’m also a true homebody and an introvert. I love being home, I don’t enjoy making endless plans, and I don’t need to be surrounded by people constantly. I’m actually okay being alone and I’m very independent. I am happiest when I’m home with Greyson, with no plans. I can cook, read, write, clean, go for a walk, or go to the farm for a couple of hours. I love feeling free.

Anxiety has consumed me for so long that it’s a part of me. It feels like a body part. If I no longer had anxiety I would lose a part of me and what makes me who I am. Nothing makes me more upset than when someone tries to make me feel bad, or crazy for having an anxiety attack, something I literally cannot control. There’s nothing meaner than someone calling you crazy, or telling you to get a grip when you’re in the middle of a complete breakdown. When you’re at your most vulnerable the only people that should be around you are the ones who take the time to understand and be there for you. If someone doesn’t care to understand or to even listen, they don’t deserve to be in your space and that’s the honest truth. I have lost friends, lovers, and acquaintances in my life who didn’t care about my emotions and they didn’t deserve the best parts of me, because they couldn’t handle my worst. We all have dark and light parts to us and that’s what makes us a complete person. I will never leave someone or judge someone based on their dark parts if they’ve shown me the beauty of their light.

As a mom, I am always honest about emotions with Greyson. I don’t believe in lying to my child about how I’m feeling, because they will experience the same emotions at some point. I will always be a safe space for Greyson to feel however he wants to feel. Children are smart and intuitive. They can see us crying, feeling overwhelmed, or getting angry about something. There’s no reason to lie or hide the truth from them. It’s so important to treat our children like real people. Greyson wouldn’t believe me if I’m balling my eyes out but at the same time saying, “I’m fine, I’m not crying.” Well, obviously I’m crying. He has eyes and ears and knows what’s happening. For example, if I’m feeling anxious and I start to cry I tell Greyson, “Baby, I’m okay. I’m just feeling very anxious and a little sad right now, but you make me so happy and my emotions have nothing to do with you.”. He’s my reason for smiling and I always tell him that. I love when I’m stressed and Greyson looks right at me and tells me that it’s okay. He’s so bright and sweet.

He understands. He knows when mommy is having a hard day or when I’m angry about something. I will always be open and honest with him because it will help him learn to express himself and his emotions as he grows up. I always tell him that emotions are big and powerful and it’s okay to be upset, but it’s important to take a breath and move forward. It’s not the way we feel that’s the issue, it’s the way we handle our emotions and move beyond them that’s important. Greyson is almost three so naturally he has tantrums, gets frustrated when something doesn’t work the way he thinks it should, and he gets overly excited from time to time. That’s normal, mamas. I allow him to be upset, but I always remind him to breathe, take a moment, and then talk to me about why he’s feeling the way he’s feeling. I never want him to feel ashamed of his emotions because they’re natural. It’s unnatural to hide your emotions and keep things bottled up. It’s not healthy to pretend everything’s okay when it’s clearly not. I also always tell him that if something makes him upset, it doesn’t have to make sense to other people. Sometimes, we don’t understand why others are upset, but the reasons don’t really matter…what matters is that they’re feeling upset in the moment and we should just respect their space and feelings.

I could write a book about anxiety and how to live with it and learn from it, and maybe one day I will, but for now I will leave you with one more thought…

Life is scary and overwhelming for everyone, so even if you think you’re the only one with anxiety, or the only one whose having an awful week, remember that you’re not alone. So many others are also struggling to stay above water and they too are feeling alone. You’re not crazy for feeling the way you feel. You’re human and you’re so much stronger than your worst days. The waves will always be there but the water won’t be rough forever. There’s always a beautiful calm after a storm. This too shall pass.

Xo

Catching Up

comments 3
lifestyle

Hey loves! I apologize for being absent for so long, but I’ve been incredibly busy and I haven’t felt inspired to write. I went from writing until three in the morning every night as a teenager to forcing myself to sit down, write, and blog as an adult. I love words, writing, and literature, but as a busy mama I have to remind myself that sometimes I need to just sit down, quiet the world, and write my thoughts. As a writer, I know I’m talented at inspiring people through words and writing used to be my favorite thing in the world…it was my outlet and it saved me more times than I can count. I am happy to be back!

I am going to be twenty-six on Thursday which feels absolutely insane. I can’t believe I’m going to be twenty-six years old, twenty-six laps around the sun, but at the same time, age has always been just a number to me. I’m not someone who cares too much about birthdays, but I do love to celebrate in style with a pretty outfit, a sparkly day, and gifts. Birthdays remind me of being a little girl, waking up with so much excitement and joy for the day ahead. I told my husband, Andrew that I want a low-key, cozy birthday this year spent at home. We are ordering food from one of our favorite restaurants, eating at home, and watching a good movie. Saturday, Andrew, my parents, my beautiful son Greyson, my best friend Danny, his boyfriend Noah, and I are going to New York City for the day and having a Gossip Girl style brunch on the Upper East Side, hosted by my wonderful family. I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life and I am sure that twenty-six will be amazing.

Andrew and I started a business over the summer and it’s been beyond successful, which I’m very thankful for. We are booked until the end of December and we’re already booking some jobs for the springtime. We are an exterior repair company that provides the highest quality workmanship on any exterior project from roofing to decks. I do all of the marketing, scheduling, and I manage the relationships with our clients. I’m so proud of the company we’ve built and I love being able to work from home and spending endless time with Greyson. I have a fashion and marketing background and I’m currently enrolled at Parsons getting my Fashion Business Certification which has also been keeping me busy. I am more than halfway done with my courses and they’ve been time-consuming, yet inspiring. I will always love my days in the fashion retail environment and somedays I miss it, but the best decision I’ve ever made is becoming a stay at home mom. I work (I run two successful businesses), but my main job is being a mom to an almost three year old. My husband is amazing for allowing me to be whatever I want to be and do whatever I want to do. I know that not everyone has the luxury to stay at home and I will always be grateful for my husband for providing for us, supporting me endlessly, and helping me to create the life I’ve always wanted. At the end of the day he is my best friend and we work very well together running our business. I’ve been asked multiple times, “How do you run a business with your spouse?”. Well, we both have the same goals, beliefs, and even when we disagree, we respect one another enough to listen to each other and to see beyond our own thoughts. He respects me and knows that he couldn’t do the marketing, or be organized the way we are without me, and I know that I could never replace a roof for a client without him. He is insanely talented at what he does and I am insanely talented at what I do. If you and your spouse are solid, great friends, and trust each other, you can work with each other. You find a perfect balance. We do what we do for our life together and for Greyson.

I started decorating for winter and the holiday season today, which made me so happy. My anxiety has been high the past couple of weeks and I don’t know why, which is the norm for me when I’m dealing with my anxiety. Some weeks I feel as though the waves will not stop crashing and other weeks I can feel the calm, peaceful water around me. Living with anxiety is never easy and I find that doing the little things that make you truly happy and at peace can change your mood and mindset. As soon as I woke up this morning (Greyson and I slept in until 8 am) we realized it was a colder, rainy day and I knew what I wanted to do. We packed up our fall decor and put it in the attic, went to Target and bought a few new winter decor pieces (snowmen, dish towels, candles, and a winter sheet set for my bed), and started getting all of our holiday decor down from the attic (I have so much holiday and winter decor that I am bordering on having a problem). I am obsessed with our home, decorating, and a beautiful aesthetic so this is my favorite time of the year. I get to be even more creative than usual. I can’t wait to set up our new, snow-flocked, artificial Christmas tree from The King of Christmas that I ordered over the summer (yes, I know…I am crazy). Greyson loves the holidays, too, which makes me happy. Growing up, my mom went all out decorating for Hanukkah and Christmas. We had a huge, 7 foot, artificial Christmas tree in the front of our home, in a room that was a fancy, small living room, that we would light up with colored lights, and decorate with millions of ornaments. Then, my mom would fill every room in the house with a 3 foot pre-lit Christmas tree and each tree was themed. She had angels and Santas everywhere and the fridge was always filled with homemade egg nog (the world’s best egg nog) and cookies. She made it a special, magical time of the year and that is why I have carried on that tradition. I feel the happiest when it’s cold, I am snuggled in a cozy sweater, and Christmas music is playing.

Before I sign off, for now (more posts to come this week) I wanted to touch on the fact that the older I get the more I realize how much of an introvert I am, which makes sense because I’m a writer and a creative person. I am a true homebody and I love being at home. I hate making plans and I’m not someone who needs to see friends and other people every day. I love my friends, my family, and I am a very friendly person, but I’d much rather be home. I take really good care of my hair and skin, also, so I love not having to wear any makeup and being able to keep my hair natural when I’m home. I prefer being as natural as possible because I feel that is the healthiest way to be. When I do go out, make plans, and have a reason to dress up I put so much thought and creativity into my hair, makeup, and outfit. I don’t know how people go out every night and fill their weekends with endless plans, but to each their own. I need my at-home, cozy time (every day).

I am so happy to be back and to be filling my blog with fun, inspirational posts again. Stay tuned for more this week from deep diving into the world of anxiety to motherhood. Thank you for reading and be sure to subscribe to my blog via email to stay up to date on the latest.

Xo

Celebrating Women

Leave a comment
lifestyle

Happy International Women’s Day to all of the badass women out there who’ve made marks on this world. To all of the selfless mamas that care for children (some of them without a partner) and raise the next generation of inspiring individuals, thank you. To all of the female nurses and doctors that keep us alive and comfort us in times of great pain with soothing words, thank you. To all of our favorite female teachers who showed us the power and beauty of words, wisdom, and learning, thank you. To all of the women who paved the way from Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt to Hillary Clinton, thank you for making waves, changes, and igniting the fire. There was a time when the glass ceiling described by so many women only had cracks in it, but we’ve now shattered that glass ceiling. We have a female Vice President! I felt so proud of America during the inauguration of Biden and Harris. It was a historic day in America and one I’ll never forget.

It’s unbelievable that not that very long ago women didn’t have the same rights as men. They weren’t viewed as equal. They didn’t go to college, work outside of the home, stand up to their man (or their father), and they weren’t allowed to vote. We’ve made tremendous, heavy steps forward but there’s still sexism in this world. In certain parts of India young girls are sold into marriage as young as thirteen and abused by their “partners”. Women every day are raped, abused, and told that they don’t matter. Women are still viewed as less than in the United States in various ways, companies like Victoria’s Secret, for example, exploit women to make a profit by selling a perfect, female fantasy, and funny enough VS was created by a man. That company has treated their models and the females that make them their money horribly. Now, that’s Victoria’s dirty little secret. Women are expected to act a certain way in this country, be a certain image, weight, and personality to attract men. But, as I said before, we’re in a better place than we were in the past and I’m proud of the women who walked before me, whether in flats or stilettos.

I find inspiration in the women I know and I’m insanely proud of the woman I’ve become. My story is beautiful and my life is exactly what I want it to be. I’m free to be who I am and to love who I want to love. I love and live without boundaries and that’s everything. I’m a mom, a wife, a stay-at-home mom, a business owner, a student, a ballroom dancer, a writer, and a farmer. My husband supports me, loves me unconditionally, and allows me to be myself. This world is filled with good guys just like my man who support and love women from their mothers and sisters to girlfriends and wives.

I can rock the vote and speak as loudly as I want, letting my opinion shake the ground. I can write a blog post that inspires women and men of all ages and feel the respect from my readers. I can have conversations with my female friends about our goals, dreams, and passions and know that whatever we want to do, we can do. We can crush our goals, create the lifestyle we want, and live without regrets. It’s an ever changing world and the women we love have impacted it in gorgeous ways. Take a moment to call your mom, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, girlfriend, or wife and tell them how amazing they are. Raise a glass to the groundbreaking, beautiful, powerful women who surround us and who empower us. We can be moms and powerhouses. We can be models and teachers. We can be farmers and truck drivers. We can be soldiers and doctors. We can be anything we want and it’s thanks to so many females that walked before us and paved a never-ending road for the women of today and the women of tomorrow.

To all of the little girls out there, remember that you’re full of magic, strength, and the possibilities are endless. Never allow anyone, man or woman, to tell you who you are. You tell the world who you are.

Happy IWD to all of the ladies 💜

The Greyson Diaries

Leave a comment
lifestyle

Life with My Two-Year-Old

Life with a two-year-old is busy, tiring, and beautiful and I wouldn’t trade my days with Greyson for anything. Being a mama is an adventure, but keeping up with an active, growing, little man can be exhausting. I thank the universe for Greyson, his sweetness, and his smarts. He truly amazes me. I’m lucky enough to be home with him every day, which allows me to see all of the special moments, but I also see all of the tantrums, because I’m the one there 24/7. Mamas, it’s okay to admit that our two-year-olds are a lot to handle at times. They don’t call it terrible twos for no reason! They’re discovering their little voices, but they still can’t fully explain what they want, need, or how they’re feeling, which leads to frustration and the infamous tantrums. I do have to say that Greyson is really good and I’m grateful for that, but he does have tantrums. How do I handle them when they do occur?

The key to handling a tantrum is to ignore most of the dramatics. Toddlers are famous for over the top gestures because their emotions are overwhelming and they know tears and fits will lead to attention. The fire will burn out and they’ll snap out of their agitated state fairly quickly, but yelling, spanking, and overreacting make the situation worse. I don’t believe in spanking, at all. I’ve lost my cool from time to time and have yelled at him when he’s had a tantrum, but I don’t like to yell, either. I remain calm, which makes a huge difference.

If Greyson is really having a moment I just sit him in his height chair, or on the couch in our living room for a moment, and I tell him to sit there until he calms down, which usually works. Sometimes, all you need to do is redirect their attention and focus. Toddlers don’t like when they don’t understand, or when something they’re playing with isn’t doing what they want it to do. If your toddler is playing with a toy that’s bothering them, take it away. Give them something else. Take a moment to show them something interesting, whether it’s a trick, a book, or something around them. They love to learn, discover, and feel as though they’re included. I’m always asked how I keep Greyson so well behaved while grocery shopping, or browsing the aisles at stores such as Target. Well, one Greyson loves Target…haha. He clearly takes after his mama. Two, when I’m grocery shopping I make him feel included in the process. I ask him what he wants (even though I already have a precise list), I give him his own little list to hold, I point out all of the colors, shapes, and foods around us and ask him to name them, I talk to him constantly, and I allow him to say hi to people, giggle, and talk, which makes him feel as though it’s a fun experience. It’s important to make them feel as though errands, chores, and daily activities are fun, not an issue. I’m a positive, upbeat person and I feel as though that rubs off on Greyson.

During the colder months it’s harder to keep your toddler active and sane (I know it’s a challenge), because we’re indoors for most of the time. Also, COVID-19 hasn’t helped. We really haven’t gone too many places, because we’ve been cautious over the past year. We did spend a lot of time in the snow, but Greyson got tired of it after a while. I’m a cold weather gal, but after the amount of snow we had this year I’m ready for summer! When it was too cold to be outside I let Greyson watch movies that he loves, play for hours with his toys, we’d eat lunch together, and I’d include him in my daily activities from cleaning to fun projects. We have a farm, luckily. Now that the weather is warming up we go to the farm once a day, at least and he runs around with his two sheep that we raised, Olaf and Juniper, and he spends time with the other animals (goats, sheep, alpacas, chicks, etc.). He loves the animals and being outside, just like Andrew and I.

I know that being a parent isn’t always easy, but your day is as good as your outlook. If you walk through life with negative energy, that vibe will rub off on your children. Greyson is very much like me and Andrew. We’re both optimistic and full of energy. No day is perfect and even the ones that are pretty damn close aren’t without minor inconveniences. Let the little things go, smile and laugh more than anything else, and enjoy the time with your children. You want your child to know at the end of every day that no matter what, everything will always be okay. It’s our job to make everything okay. I’ve also been asked what are my favorite foods to feed Grey because we all know toddlers can be picky.

I love healthy choices for myself and for my family, but Greyson doesn’t always want what we’re eating, which is okay. Usually, he does eat what we give him and if he doesn’t we try the same food again later. Don’t allow your toddler to dictate every meal, give them only a couple of choices per meal, and be firm with the choices. My favorites (and Greyson’s favorites) are…

  • Eggs (scrambled) 🥚
  • Organic, all-natural Apple Juice 🧃
  • Vanilla Almond Milk 🥛
  • Pears 🍐
  • Bananas 🍌
  • Kiwi 🥝
  • Pineapple 🍍
  • Cubed cheese (sharp cheddar, Colby Jack, or Pepper Jack) 🧀
  • Dr. Praeger’s organic, frozen meals (fish sticks, carrot puffs, broccoli littles) 🥕🥦
  • Organic chicken nuggets (sometimes with ketchup) 🐔
  • Goldfish (he loves these as a snack and they’re way healthier than most snack foods)
  • Cereal with fruit 🍌
  • Homemade pizza bagels (I make these constantly and he loves them!) 🥯
  • Homemade pita bread pizza with sauce and cheese 🍕
  • Corn muffins
  • Croissants 🥐
  • Apples 🍎

Life with my two-year-old is a beautiful chapter and I love that he’s my best friend. He makes me smile, laugh, and think about life differently than I did prior to becoming a mommy. I love hearing him say new words, discover new things around him, and play independently with his favorite toys. He’s such a light in a world filled with chaos and darkness. Also, allow your child to grow up at their own pace. Never compare your child to another because they’re all different and special. If your toddler isn’t ready for potty training just yet, that’s okay. If your toddler is still learning to put together sentences, that’s okay. Tell your little one how special, smart, and funny they are every single day. Enjoy the little moments because they’re the big ones.

Farm Life

comments 2
lifestyle

My husband and I both grew up on farms, with a ton of animals, and spending countless hours outside. We love to soak up the sunshine, raise animals, and spend time on our farm. We not only have a farmhouse-style home, but we live the farm lifestyle. Some weekends are spent solely down at the farm, we take long, scenic drives to pick up new animals, and winters are busy taking care of the animals in the cold. Greyson has grown up cuddling with baby sheep, bottle feeding babies, and bonding with chicks. Right now we’re gearing up for the summer months by building a new chicken coop, repairing anything that needs repair, and raising our babies. Olaf and Juniper, the black and white sheep are brothers who we’ve bottle-fed. They’re known as bottle babies and because of us bottle feeding them from the beginning, they’re incredibly friendly and affectionate. They even slept inside our laundry area for a week during the coldest nights in February. They follow us everywhere and they adore Greyson. Greyson calls them, “brothers”. It’s adorable. We just bought a dozen chicks and we’ve been holding them everyday, imprinting on them. Spring is on the horizon and we’re loving our days spent on the farm. Enjoy the latest photos from our precious farm moments.

Xo

Hardwood Floors & Glitter

Leave a comment
Dance / lifestyle

I was never someone who felt comfortable in school and girls were never receptive of me or who I was. Even as a little girl, I was always confident, outspoken, and different. I grew up differently than the girls I knew, surrounded by dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, and other animals that my mom and I rescued. My mom’s an artist and I grew up surrounded by art, knitting, sewing, bright color, and an unconventional parenting style. My parents never pushed me or judged me and I was always allowed to be who I wanted to be, do what I wanted to do, and explore what I wanted to explore. I didn’t have boundaries. I also lived an only child lifestyle, because my brother is much older than me, and he only lived in the same household as me when I was a baby, which forced me to be creative, independent, and fierce.

I went to a private preschool, a public kindergarten, and then I was in private school again until entering into middle school. I decided I didn’t want to go to a private high school. My parents and I figured it would be easier to transfer into public school in middle school, rather than high school, but it wasn’t easy at all. I was always treated like the new girl who wasn’t accepted or understood and I just never felt as though I belonged. I went to a school that in my opinion, was very polarizing towards many of the students. I’m a social butterfly and I can get along with anyone, but in a school environment, I never felt like the best version of myself. School was suffocating, scary, and unremarkable to me. I learned more outside of the classroom than I ever did sitting behind a desk. But, I was respectful towards my teachers and the other staff, I got great grades, and I pushed myself to do my absolute best while I was in school. I was accepted into all of the colleges I applied to, including The Savannah College of Art and Design, which I was thrilled about. Unfortunately, after enduring more than one trauma during high school I wasn’t emotionally able to go away to school.

During my elementary school years I was suffering from a stomach ulcer, which went undiagnosed until I was twelve years old. It was finally treated and by age fourteen my stomach began to normalize, but I still get horrible cramps now and then. Your stomach is a muscle and it remembers the pain and the trauma. It was hard as a child explaining to other children and adults that I was in excruciating pain and no one believed me. Even my teachers thought I was lying and making it all up for attention, which never made any sense to me. I remember in third grade my gym teacher, who was really nasty, had us running laps around an outdoor track. I began to cramp so badly I couldn’t breathe. I told her I needed to go home and she called me a liar to my face and made me sit in the corner away from the other kids. I missed so much school and I’m convinced that’s why I’m horrible at math. I missed too many of the basic math components to ever truly catch up. Oh well, I was never meant to be a math guru, but it made it harder for me to feel normal in school when all of my peers understood math and got good grades and I was constantly struggling in that subject area.

When I was in first grade I joined my private school’s after-school dance program and I fell in love. I had an amazing dance teacher, the girls and I meshed well, and I was good at it. We did a little hip-hop and Jazz, but mostly we learned and focused on ballet. Ballet was so beautiful to me. I loved being able to express myself through body movement, the sparkly tutus, and the feeling of the lights hitting me when I was on the floor. Every day after school I had dance class and then every month we had our dance recital on a Friday night. I’ll never forget going with my dad to buy my leotards, ballet slippers, and tutus and feeling so excited to dance. Dance was the only time I ever felt absolutely comfortable at school. As soon as I stretched and stepped foot onto the dance floor I was home. My teacher was incredible, sparkly, and had been dancing her entire life. She instilled in us motivation, teamwork, and hard work, but she also was so kind, realistic, and easygoing. She never made any of us feel bad about ourselves, which isn’t always the case in the dance industry. I will never forget stretching every dance class to Jesse McCartney, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears…oh, the music of the early 2000’s. Take me back…haha.

I wound up switching private schools, a couple of times after my favorite school closed its doors. I was in the same dance class at my favorite school from first grade until third grade and I learned more than I ever could’ve imagined. I’m so thankful for those days and the experience. In fourth grade I went to a private school in Princeton, NJ and they offered a competitive and advanced ballet class. They also offered mandarin and french classes (fancy, huh?). The first week in the ballet class was all about impressing the teacher and actually placing in the class in order to continue with ballet. Anyone who didn’t place was able to choose a different elective and pursue a different passion, but after days of stressing and pushing myself, I placed in the class and I was able to continue dancing. We focused on ballet, but our dance teacher had a contemporary dance background, so we learned a lot of different techniques and I did two shows at the school during my time there. The shows were terrifying and very different than the dance recitals at my old school, which were casual and laid back. All of the girls I danced with were equally talented, or even better than I was in ballet and many of the girls planned on pursuing ballet professionally. A couple of the girls were already eating differently and trying their very best to be as small as possible, which was never my goal. I always wanted to be healthy. I was small to begin with and never believed in dieting or starving myself as a young, growing girl. I still don’t believe in any of that. I’ll never forget sitting in the ballet room in the fancy private school, admiring the light that flooded through the large floor to ceiling windows, the expensive hardwood floors, and the mirrored walls. I felt as though I was in a fairytale (or a Barbie movie) every time I entered that room. Dance makes you feel like magic.

I stopped dancing after I left private school in sixth grade, but I still danced in my room and choreographed little routines. I’d spin around and fall to the ground gracefully, with the lights dimmed and a favorite song playing loudly. When I was in my early twenties I finally exited from an abusive relationship and I found myself going to a Valentine’s Day dance at a ballroom dance studio that my mom danced at. I watched two talented dance instructors in a room across from me doing a sexy, dramatic, Argentine tango and I said to myself, “I’m going to learn how to do that.” and I did. A week later, I started ballroom dancing and I’m so thankful for the art form because it truly saved me at a time in my life when I needed some sparkle and distraction. I’ll never forget the first time I did Argentine tango and my previous dance instructor/partner looked at me, smiled, and said,”That’s your dance.”. I fell in love with tango (American and Argentine) and I excelled at it, but I explored other dances, and by the time I found out I was pregnant I had performed in countless showcases (the sparkly, holiday shows were my favorite), received recognition and awards, and had learned so much. My previous instructor/partner taught me that it’s never too late to become who you really are. Sadly, my previous instructor/partner left the studio, which is the absolute worst for a dancer, because you connect with a certain dance partner over anyone else. You need that connection in order to perform at your best and to show off your passion. I danced until I was about five months pregnant (with a different instructor/partner), but my equilibrium was off and I felt exhausted after my sessions, which made me realize I needed to focus solely on becoming a mom. I left the studio and after becoming a mama to the most beautiful boy in the world I took a little break from dance and didn’t return until right before COVID-19. I was actually accepted into Stockton Universities (New Jersey) dance program, but I decided to focus on fashion and marketing, which is my life by getting my certification in Fashion Business at Parsons School of Design-The New School (this year). I’m currently finishing up my first course, Fashion Merchandising. Who knows though, in the future maybe I’ll get a dance degree and open my own studio (which I used to dream of), but I’ve always seen myself sticking to fashion as a career. I have years of fashion and marketing experience under my belt and I can style an outfit better than most.

I decided to go to a different studio in 2020 and I met my now dance partner/instructor and I’ve enjoyed every minute of being back on the dance floor. My new partner/instructor is incredible and I’m so glad we have that connection. I danced through 2020, the pandemic, and our new normal. I try to go to the studio at least once a week, but as a busy mama (with other passions) sometimes my priority isn’t dance (that’s life as a mama). I’ve grown so much as a dancer over the years and I’m really proud of myself. I look at all of my dance costumes, photos, and videos and I smile. Dancers don’t dance because they want to…they dance because they have to. They can’t stay off of the dance floor and that’s always how I’ve felt. When I step foot onto the hardwood floor in my ballroom dance shoes the world falls still and I feel so alive. I’m so focused when I’m dancing and for that period of time, while I’m on the floor, nothing else matters. It’s therapeutic, beautiful, and a true commitment. It’s an expensive commitment to lessons, shoes, showcases, and costumes. It isn’t something you do on a whim. It’s something you do because you love it. Dancers watch what they eat, what kind of physical activities they participate in outside of dance, and they need to be careful not to push themselves too hard, or far. I’ve never hurt myself ballroom dancing but I have hit/kicked my partner accidentally (it happens) and I’ve done complex tricks that could’ve ended badly, but that’s why we practice over and over again. It’s a lifestyle, just like iceskating, horseback riding, and swimming. I don’t eat anything before dance because its always better not to dance with a full stomach, but I drink an abnormal amount of water. I don’t like to run because it’s bad for your knees and I have incredibly strong legs. which dancers need. You don’t want a knee or leg injury as a dancer. I love the feeling of pure bliss after a dance session, knowing I rocked it. I’m currently learning nightclub two step and as a country girl, I’m in heaven. During my last dance session I finally nailed the steps, which always feels great.

The dance industry isn’t always welcoming, comfortable, or pleasant. As a girl who used to do ballet I know that the dark side exists and I’ve witnessed various issues. Girls literally kill themselves to be the absolute best, the prettiest, and to make it to the top. Body image issues are a huge problem in the dance and gymnastics world. There have been studies and books published about the dark side of the dance industry, dance addiction, and social isolation due to dance. Studies have shown that many dancers are incredibly isolated and lonely people. Some women spend too much money on competitions, travel, and over the top costumes. Others starve themselves, recreate their image (spray tans, hair, and nails), and become a dance addict. But, many like myself dance because we love it and it’s never become an issue in our lives. I will admit that at one point I was spending way too much money on costumes, shoes, and showcases, but now that I’m a wife and mama my priorities have shifted and that’s not who I am anymore. I save my money and I’m careful with any purchases. Dance will always be a part of me and I cherish every routine, song played, and moment on the dance floor. I’m that girl that hears a song and immediately goes, “I did a dance routine to that song!”. Dance lives within you and dancers aren’t born…they’re taught. I’m thankful for my connection to dance, for hardwood floors, and for glitter

xoxo

Fashion Talk with Lizzie

Leave a comment
lifestyle

Downward Cycle of Popularity

Not every brand makes it to the next generation and some are currently holding on for dear life as I type. A downward cycle in fashion means that the brand is spiraling downwards and losing its popularity and base. There are so many stores I adored as a little girl and as a teenager that are either closed, or on their way out. Henri Bendel, Juicy Couture, Macy’s, Abercrombie, and Forever 21 are just a few examples. One store that’s currently on a downward cycle is Victoria’s Secret.

In the ’90s Victoria’s Secret danced into the fashion scene and defined the word “sexy”. The company made its mark as the go-to destination for fantasy and luxury intimates, became the largest and most popular lingerie retailer in the country, and solidified its place in the market by smart advertising campaigns and a sexy in-store experience. The company also branched out into activewear, creating the PINK label, which became famous among middle school and high school girls who wore nothing but their leggings, sweatshirts, and logo. PINK stores began to open separate from Victoria’s Secret and were supposed to be where the daughters of the younger, trendier moms who shop at VS could go shopping for their activewear and underwear. PINK isn’t as provocative and is more connected to comfort and daily activities, opposed to sex and fantasy. VS stood out among the competition and invented a new way to get women (and men) to shop the brand when they hired elite “Angels”, beautiful, famous supermodels to be their top marketing strategy, strutting down the runway during the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in feathered angel wings and the brand’s latest lingerie, and promoting the intimates on social media, but over the years VS has embarked on a downward spiral in sales and popularity.

When VS entered into the retail scene it was a different world and young women, in particular, viewed themselves and beauty much differently than young women do today. Even older women have redefined what it truly means to be beautiful and sexy. Brands have reinvented themselves and newer brands burst onto the runway right off the bat with real women as models, from normal college girls and young moms to transgenders and plus size models. As hard as VS has tried to be an inclusive brand, especially with their signature PINK collection, geared towards young women between the ages of thirteen and twenty, they will always be the overtly sexy brand that used supermodels and stereotypes from the very beginning to gain sales and growth. Very few women relate to those supermodels and what they’re trying to sell and it has literally deteriorated the brand’s popularity and base over the years. Society’s definition of beauty has been redefined and we’ll never go back to the idea that only a size 00 model can be sexy and sell clothing.

VS has been most popular among Millennials and Generation Z (ages 13-34 years), with many of these customers using social media as their number one engagement tool. They love to follow influencers and models who promote the brand and the image they carry through selfies and glamour. The younger generations don’t look at catalogs or even frequent malls, which has been a huge change to the fashion world as a whole. Although Millennials grew up going to the mall every weekend, (I am guilty of this…just ask my poor father who went with me every Saturday) Generation Z and Y are living a very different lifestyle. They mainly shop online and stare at Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook for outfit inspiration before purchasing through the store’s website or app. on their smartphone. VS has always been more popular among a certain life-stage group, such as single, young women who aren’t necessarily settled down just yet. Although there are moms with daughters who shop the brand, the majority of women who shop at VS and PINK are single and without children. Most moms and married women have moved on to other brands that are more comfortable, inclusive, and less expensive. Moms, even those who are trendy, are looking for affordability and practicality. Of course, the brand’s demographic is mostly women, but over the years a lot of men have started shopping at VS & PINK for their daughters, girlfriends, and wives. My dad shopped at PINK for years with me and when I worked at PINK very briefly before getting pregnant (I was literally only there for a month and a half before I had to leave due to medical reasons), many boyfriends came in to buy bras, leggings, and underwear for their girlfriends. VS has always been expensive and is geared more towards families with a slightly higher income level, which is why you’re able to find the stores within upscale shopping centers and malls, next to Coach, Michael Kors, and Abercrombie. The VS I used to shop at was wedged between Apple and Michael Kors.

L Brands, which owns VS sold much of its stake in the brand to a private equity firm named Sycamore in February of last year (2020), right before COVID-19 threatened our daily lives, decreasing the value of the lingerie brand substantially. During COVID-19, VS decided to close some of its stores without permission from Sycamore and breached the contract they made during the initial deal, but VS argues that they had every right to protect their company during the pandemic. Many of the once beloved VS stores have closed post-pandemic, including one in an upscale shopping area near me that I used to shop at in high school. The VS Fashion Show was cancelled due to a steep decline in views, which damaged the brand’s marketing and image. The brand suffered after society’s views on beauty changed. VS has also been criticized for exploiting women’s bodies to create sales, for being too provocative (especially by parent’s of young girls), and for refusing to embrace real women and real bodies. The brand also struggled with embracing new fashion trends such as offering more comfortable styles (bralettes and sports bras) which are more popular among the younger generations, which other brands like Aerie (owned by American Eagle) and Lively have pushed fully. Finally, the brand suffered tremendously after the founder, Lex Wexner’s relationship with the now infamous, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was made public. The ties between the two were splashed across magazines and websites and their relationship was even discussed in detail on Netflix’s documentary series, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. On the series, L Brands and Victoria’s Secret were both mentioned, along with Lex Wexner’s background and connection to VS, which looked beyond awful for the brand that was already struggling to remain above water. The company was also bashed by its own models for how they were treated, for inappropriate behavior towards models (including by Jeffrey Epstein on a few occasions), for refusing to hire and support transgender models in our ever-changing world, and for bullying and misogyny within the company.

In 2019, after 123 years of business, Henri Bendel, a store I cherished as a teenager, that was owned by L Brands went dark and closed all of their stores for good. I was a Bendel Girl and loved their fun, luxury items and was crushed when they closed. I still miss their brown and white striped bags, pretty displays, and fun merchandise. When VS began to struggle with sales and other issues within the company (as I discussed above), L Brands decided to close all of their Henri Bendel locations, including my favorite on Fifth Avenue in New York City and focus on VS and Bath and Body Works. The closing of Henri Bendel was a way for L Brands to hopefully increase shareholder value and was one of the first signs to me and to many others that L Brands and VS were in serious trouble, spiraling downwards. Of course, closing Henri Bendel hasn’t helped VS or L Brands and sales continue to decline, but it’s certainly interesting how a brand once worshipped can permanently fall from its pedestal.

Fashion Talk with Lizzie

Leave a comment
lifestyle

Introduction

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved fashion, styling, and shopping. I vividly remember crying over a cheetah print coat at Target when I was a little girl. I wanted a Barbie set and the coat, but my dad told me I had to pick between the two (a huge decision for a five year old), because they were both pricey. I took a moment to think about what I really wanted. I grabbed the coat. I chose fashion over toys. How many little girls choose outerwear over Barbies? From a very young age I felt a connection to clothing and sytling outfits and this connection has only grown stronger over the years. As a busy, twenty-five-year-old mama and wife, fashion is still an essential part of my life. I’ve decided to add another blog series to my blog called, Fashion Talk with Lizzie because I have years of fashion and marketing experience, a lot of stories, and a ton of passion. I know there are countless women, moms included that not only love fashion, but who also appreciate learning and knowing more. Why are you drawn to a certain brand? Why do some stores disappear with each generation? What’s behind the scenes? What makes up the fashion world we grew up worshipping? What affects the fashion industry and current trends? I’m here to explore it all with you and help other fashionistas learn and grow. Welcome to class, loves.

I started in fashion and retail in 2013 as a Seasonal Sales Associate at PacSun and I ended as the Marketing Assistant at an upscale shopping plaza near me, right after becoming a mommy. I love the industry so much that I’m currently enrolled at Parson’s School of Design-The New School, working on my Fashion and Business Certification. I wanted to continue to learn and dive into the world I’ve always loved and I want to add a little more bling to my resume. I’m so happy being a stay at home mama, but one day when Greyson is older and in school fulltime, I’ll want to return to the fashion and marketing world. I decided to share with my lovely readers some fashion history, my favorite brands, interesting facts and statistics that exist within the fashion world, and what makes up the fashion world (the behind the scenes), because it’s a world unlike any other. It’s also a world that is everchanging. COVID-19 has had an immense impact on the fashion industry and many stores we grew up going to are shutting their doors permanently, which makes me sad, but I saw it coming. With each generation trends change, stores must know how to grow and adapt, and generational needs/wants differ immensely. Anyone in my age bracket (twenty five-forty), if you ask your parents about their shopping habits when they were our age, what was in, and what pricepoints they shopped, you’d discover how different we are from them.

Generational Differences

Millennials are probably the most discussed generation of all time, but for good reason. A lot of events, trends, and of course, the technological advances have made Millennials very different than past generations. Even Generation Z is changing the game and is different than the Millennial generation. Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1996, making me a Millennial by ONE year. I was born in 1995 and I just made the cut. Millennials are between the ages of twenty five and forty years old, representing a huge majority of the world’s population. We define so much, including the fashion world. But, Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2015) are also contributing to the ever changing world of fashion and design. They’re much different than my generation, which is crazy, because the birth years are so close. For example, Millennials grew up going to the mall every Saturday with friends and parents, but Generation Z prefers shopping online and via social media, finding the absolute best deals, and are way more price conscious. Those little details affect the industry immensely because marketing and advertising now needs to be geared towards the online, Instagram shopper, opposed to the in-store, mall shopper. I consider myself to be very unique because I am on the border of both generations. I did indeed grow up in-store shopping, going to the mall every Saturday (my dad is a Saint, lol), but I also discovered the perks of online shopping during my late teen years. Especially during a pandemic, so many stores have now discovered that the way to survive is through smart, creative social media campaigns and easy, fun online shopping experiences. Influencers are the way into the hearts of young girls who stare at their Instagram feed more than anything else. It’s crazy how quickly women and men my age adapted to the online world, falling in love with social media and new marketing strategies that catch our attention, but luckily we discovered social media as young adults, not as children. Some of my favorite brands currently ONLY exist online (Lively and Pink Lily), which is such a change from my childhood-early teenage years.

Unlike my generation, Generation Z grew up immersed in the world of technology and fell in love with social media at a very early age. Instagram didn’t exist until I was a junior in high school, I didn’t have an iPhone, until my junior year, and none of my peers cared about selfies, or social media until we were entering into our senior year. Anyone remember the popular, pretty flipphone called the Envy? Well, that was what my friends and I had! I had the orange one. The same phone the glamorous, Upper East Side beauties in Gossip Girl carried around on Season One of the show. Yup. Even GG and other shows changed once they started using more technology. My friends and I didn’t have a frontfacing camera for selfies, we didn’t have social media icons on our screen, and we weren’t glued to our phones. It’s a very different world. Many of the Generation Z population had smartphones and laptops way before I and others my age ever did. A lot of children growing up today, born after 2015 (like my son Greyson), know technology better than any previous generation. My son sees me with my iPad, MacBook, and my iPhone, but when I was growing up my parents had landlines, beepers, and eventually a Dell Laptop with DIAL-UP…oh, the horror of waiting for your computer to “dial-up” so that you could logon to the internet, check your mail, etc. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, Dial-up refers to Dial-up Internet Connection, which came before High-Speed Internet Connection, the kind we are all used to now using a WiFi connection. Dial-up used a modem and a phone line to connect you to internet services and was incredibly, painfully slow. You could cook a meal, write a letter, and pick out an outfit while waiting for your computer to finish dialing up. Teenagers today will not know the struggle and the pain of Dial-up internet, which is a shame. They also won’t know the excitement of getting a message on AOL Instant Messenger! I’m actually really thankful that I grew up before technology was so advanced and I honestly miss the simplicity of the past.

Many of my childhood friends didn’t even have a computer! Now, everything is instant and immediately available on our smartphones from shopping and booking events to paying bills and buying homes. I remember all of those dinosaur-like technologies mentioned above and my son will never know what a beeper is, a landline, or “Dial-up”. Wow…I feel old. The fact that Generation Z is so tuned into technology and fast, immediate experiences from shopping to medical care will have an earthquake-like affect on the fashion industry. The retail world is already changing and many stores cannot hold on much longer. It’s also important to note that many Millennials, grew up before 9/11 changed our world forever, but myself and many others grew up in a post 9/11 world. Parents became more cautious and the way we view events, places, and people changed in an instant. Events and political issues affect the way we shop, travel, and spend money. At this point, malls even make me nervous! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d rather shop in smaller boutiques, or online instead of in huge, busy malls where attacks (shootings, bombings, etc.) are more common, and that was my thought process BEFORE COVID-19 infiltrated our daily lives. Now, I’m super cautious because if I don’t need to go somewhere I’m not going to, especially with my two year old son.

I’ve watched so many stores that I loved growing up close permanently since 2000, such as Limited Too, Blockbuster, Zany Brainy, Henri Bendel (this one hurt the most), Borders, Wet Seal, and Toys R Us. There are also plenty of stores that are on a downward cycle of popularity, which will make them the next to go. I read the other day that due to COVID-19, by 2025, 100,000 retail stores will be closed. In my next Fashion Talk with Lizzie, I’ll talk more about some of my favorite stores as a teenager that are on the way out, and why they’re slowly fading out. I’ll also talk more about what a downward cycle in fashion and retail really means.

Xoxo