Batsto

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lifestyle

A Walk Beneath the Trees 🌲

Batsto is a well-known historical village in Burlington County, New Jersey filled with ghosts from the past and a beautiful landscape. There are many historical structures still standing and trees that could tell you stories from a different, much simpler time. The Batsto Iron Works along the Batsto River was built in 1766 and since Batsto had the natural resources readily available to make iron, it became a hot spot during the Revolutionary War Years. Batsto manufactured supplies for the Continental Army, as well. Iron creation suffered a huge decline though in the 1800s, which lead to the birth of Batsto’s glassmaking community. Sadly, the glassmaking business deteriorated also, and the once busy Batsto Village began to fade from what it used to be.

Joseph Wharton, a Philadelphia businessman bought Batsto in 1876 and also purchased surrounding land. Wharton repaired and enhanced the beautiful mansion that still stands tall in the center of Batsto, and he did work on some of the other buildings on the massive property. Wharton passed away in 1909 and until 1954 the property and surrounding Pine Barrens land was managed by a Trust. The state of New Jersey purchased all that Wharton owned in the 1950s, naming the forest we love so much, Wharton State Forest. Those who resided in the actual village of Batsto remained there until they no longer wished to live in the area, or they died. The last house to be vacated was in 1989, which honestly wasn’t that long ago. To think, what’s now abandoned was someone’s home not that long ago makes you think of the historical site differently. Those dusty dirt trails once felt the pounding of wheels from horse-drawn carriages and the trees shaded children from the sun.

I love walking in the footsteps of those who used to care for and live on our now, historical and sometimes, abandoned land. I’ve been coming to Batsto and enjoying it’s quiet, natural atmosphere since I was a little girl and now I take Greyson there to walk beneath the pine trees.

When I was in high school and shortly after I graduated, Batsto Village and the cemetery next to the vast property became a popular ghost hunting area for me and my friends, and in case you were wondering, our experiences were haunting and chilling, to say the least. I even broke down in someone’s SUV in the woods behind Batsto Village, on a dark, narrow trail in the middle of the night and we swear until this day that we saw The Jersey Devil. I have so many unforgettable nights and days spent in Batsto and in Wharton State Forest. Regardless of what you believe in when it comes to legends and old tales, The Pine Barrens has an incredible history and we often forget to care about those who once existed there when we’re going for a stroll, or doing a photo shoot, using historical sites as a backdrop.

Wherever you go on your daily adventures, go with positivity and purpose, and take a moment to remember that many others have walked where you walk and the earth was once a natural place. I wish for my son and future generations that our main focus going forward is on the earth and all of it’s inhabitants.

Have fun exploring the world around you and be sure to follow me on more of my adventures 💗

Wanderlust & City Dust

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lifestyle

Facebook butchers photo quality, so I’ve decided to share some of my adventures and photos through my blog ✨

An evening on Chestnut Street, Philadelphia 🤍

Remember ladies, city streets are the real runways.

Follow me on more of my adventures 💕

Lost in Nature

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Fashion

Winter vibes are alive and well but we’ve experienced warmer weather conditions in New Jersey the past month, which means I have to be even more creative with my outfit choices. Instead of an overly snuggly sweater, I will wear a light sweater to avoid getting too hot.

I love a rustic, natural environment for a photoshoot. To achieve a winter, cowgirl inspired look all you need are pretty jeans and boots. Add a little fringe (my necklace) and allow your curls to be loose and messy, not pristine and tight. In my opinion, messier is always better.

I’m always asked how I keep my skin looking glowy and fresh, especially during the colder months. I only use BB Cream on my face (no foundation, primer, concealer, etc.). I use CoverGirl CG Smoothers with moisturizer and SPF. I also use a dusty, shimmer powder by Urban Decay that can be used on your face, neck, and body. It gives your body a summer, glistening quality. I’ve been enjoying a lighter lipstick shade lately and minimal makeup. I love a deep nude lipstick shade.

Follow me on more of my adventures 🤍

Wake up Sunshine

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Cozy

The early morning hours set the tone for the rest of your day. It’s a time to plan, take a deep breath, and look forward to a new, bright day. I start my day with gratefulness and positivity and by doing a few, simple trends as soon as I wake up, I ensure I have a good beginning.

I always make the bed.

Making the bed creates a fresh, clean palette for the next rest you take, whether that be a nap during the day, or your nighttime routine. It also motivates you clearly to start each day with organization and thoughtfulness. I love walking into my bedroom during the day and seeing my perfectly made bed.

I stretch and, or do yoga.

You need to warm your body up to another day of performing. By stretching, and if I have time, doing yoga I’m heating up my body and mind before I get going on my daily adventures. I also feel accomplished first thing in the morning, which makes me feel amazing.

I make a physical or mental list of my goals for the day.

I may have a busy day ahead of me or a calm, relaxing one, but regardless I always take a moment to make a list of what I need to do and most importantly, what I want to do that day. If I want to dedicate the day to exercise or creativity, I set my goal as soon as I wake up.

I drink water.

I drink water in order to refresh and cleanse my body and nothing wakes you up more than a cold, glass of water.

I take care of myself.

I always get dressed (even if I’m in loungewear for the day), finger through my long hair, brush my teeth and apply some makeup. I love starting the day feeling my absolute best.

I light some candles.

I love starting the day with a favorite scent and there’s nothing better than the glow of a candle.

Have a beautiful day my sunshines ☀️

The Greyson Diaries

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motherhood

What I’ve Learned in a Year

I’ve been living the mommy life for a year (Greyson turned 13 months on January 8th), which has made this the most important year of my life. I learned a lot about myself the past year and I’m proud of who I am, what I’ve accomplished, and how inspiring my son is. He’s a breath of fresh air in a world filled with negativity and I can’t imagine my life without him.

I couldn’t sleep our first night as a family of three and not because we were in a brightly lit hospital room, but because I couldn’t stop staring at Greyson, our beautiful boy. I remember feeding him around three in the morning after Andrew had fallen asleep on the uncomfortable hospital pull out couch and I felt so confident in my role as a mama. I held my baby boy closely and soaked up every second like a sponge. The first two, sleepless weeks were trying and a little overwhelming, but Andrew and I made an amazing team, and we still do make the best team.

Andrew has always been supportive, sweet, and our protector. He provides for us, works hard, and even if we argue, he takes the time to listen to me. You learn to listen a lot when you become a parent because your child is always trying to tell you something, even before they start talking. Greyson is always talking, knowing only a few, actual words but he never stops communicating. When he’s quiet and sucking his thumb he’s trying to tell me that he’s tired. When he’s dancing and smiling he’s telling me he’s happy and he wants to play. When he hands me a toy and lays his head in my lap he wants my attention. I’m always listening now to others, more than I ever have thanks to Greyson.

I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff and to let go of what I cannot change. I’ve learned that sometimes I’m difficult to deal with and it isn’t always the other person who’s the problem. We all have our issues and no one is perfect. Sometimes I am over emotional about something and then I have to take a step back and remember that I don’t have a high tolerance for bullshit and mistakes. I also feel things very deeply and as my husband says, I’m dramatic. I am. I’m a writer and I’ve always been expressive. It’s who I am and I have to remember that information when I get offended or upset because something minimal and small to someone else might actually bother me. I don’t apologize for who I am but I do recognize my own issues and I always try to remember that each individual feels differently. I realized my own demons and baggage affects me and my communication with others after battling with postpartum depression. I was happy and completely fine most of the time but my postpartum depression would sneak up on me when I was alone and made me feel secluded, not good enough, and it kidnapped my confidence and self-esteem. It took a few months to feel secure in my body again and I found a new normal.

Becoming a parent has taught me to appreciate my partner in crime and to never take him for granted. I look at Andrew every night and I love him even more than I did when we met, and I thought I loved you then. Andrew is my calm after the storm and he helps me remain levelheaded and relaxed. I’ve learned how important it is to be with someone who isn’t your twin. Opposites honestly do attract. If Andrew and I were exactly the same we would never amaze or surprise one another, we wouldn’t experience anything new, and we’d probably irritate each other. Although, when you’re parenting there are moments when you don’t agree and I’ve learned to listen, but never lose my voice and opinion. We respect each other. He brings out the best in me and vice versa. I’ve learned what true, unconditional love is by marrying my soulmate and becoming a mom to the best boy in the world. I look at them both and I see the rest of my life. I feel certain, happy, and at peace.

Being a mama has taught me immense patience and understanding. No one knows how to test your patience and drive you insane while making you smile all at once like your child. I’ve also learned to have more patience with myself. Often, the person we’re hardest on is ourself. We look in the mirror and we critique and we expect too much from each day, trying to attain every goal. Once I learned to give myself a break I became healthier, happier, and free. I live openly, colorfully, and without bounds. Some women fear that becoming a mom will take away their youth and freedom, but I found my freedom and a youthful adventure when I gave birth to my son. Greyson showed me who I really am and how strong I’ve become. I’ll forever be thankful for his influence on me. He allowed me to meet the best version of myself.

I’ll spend the rest of my life teaching my son lessons and showing him the world, but he’s already shown me an entirely different realm. I love him so much and I don’t think my life had true meaning before I became his mama. Thank you, sweet boy, for teaching me, loving me, and helping me live my best life.

How to Live Your Best Life

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personal

While I said hello to 2020 and blew a kiss to 2019 I realized how monumental and defining 2019 was for me. I gave birth to Greyson at the end of 2018, I fell in love with being a mom in 2019, and I got married to my best friend in 2019. I went on beautiful adventures, became a stay at home mama, met new clients for my business, wrote meaningfully, bought some great books, shopped till I dropped for my home and closet, organized my life, I accomplished inspiring home projects, and I blossomed as a person. I’ve never been happier and I took some time this month to understand what makes me happiest, what adds stress to my life, and what I can live with/without. I also realized that I’m not alone in how I feel and after talking to people around me, I learned that they feel the exact same way. In order to live your best life, a life that feels freeing, fulfilled and inspiring, you need to evaluate your own happiness and address any concerns (personal problems, goals, strengths, and weaknesses). I believe that there are aspects to our modern, chaotic world, and to human nature that hinders happiness and progress and we all possess characteristics that aren’t always helpful. 2020 can be a year filled with growth, insight, and exploration if you let go of the old and embrace the new.

Leave social media in 2019

In a world filled with people connected to their phones and social media 24/7, it’s unique and refreshing to be the one who’s not. I deleted Instagram off of my phone and I don’t plan on re-downloading the app. You can still find and follow me, but don’t expect any new posts or activity on my account. I’m a free spirit and very connected to nature, my soul, and daily adventures and Instagram kills all creativity, positive thinking, and passion. Social media is a distraction and a way to hide away from real life and meaningful moments. It’s so important for my generation to realize that social media is not real…it’s a turbulent world filled with negativity, insecurity, and drama. Instagram is one of the worst, in my opinion. It was also named as one of the main reasons for anxiety and depression in teens and young adults, which isn’t surprising. I got tired of seeing people post constantly for attention, approval, and validation. I got tired of knowing people close to me are struggling with various issues, but they hide behind selfies and filters. The worst is knowing someone isn’t happy with someone, but on social media, they pretend. I feel as though the only way your world changes around you is if you become part of the change. It’s okay to be different and stand out from the crowd. Those who dare to be a little distinct make an impact. I got rid of what I can live without and something I feel is toxic. I feel lighter.

I still have my Facebook which I’ll use occasionally, updating my profile picture and sharing sporadic, beautiful moments with my friends and family, because I do appreciate photography, but I also use my Facebook for my business and writing. I’m even going to be scaling back on how much I post on Facebook for my writing and business though because the less time you spend on any social media accounts the better. Before you go to bed, silence your phone and eliminate the use of social media and technology. Removing your phone and all technology before you close your eyes promotes healthy sleep. I put my phone down two hours prior to going to sleep and I leave it alone until the next morning. Social media causes sleep deprivation, impulsive purchases due to influencers, anxiety, depression, a negative body image, and too much distraction. Why do we need social media? The answer is, we don’t. We make excuses and are afraid to break away from the norms of society, but I promise you’ll feel better without it. Leave social media in 2019. Be the one everyone wonders about…not the one sharing every second and thought.

Friends can’t always be there for us

Growing up I watched way too much Disney Channel and ABC Family and I thought that friends were like the cast of Lizzie McGuire and Full House, constantly walking into your home and surprising you with amazing moments. I was always obsessed with Serena and Blair’s friendship on Gossip Girl, but is that honestly a realistic pair? Blair forgave Serena for sleeping with her first love/boyfriend, rescued Serena from her toxic past by manipulating and scheming, and they always dropped whatever they were doing at the time (or whoever they were doing at the time) to hop in a cab and run to each other.

I expected my friends to be there for me through anything and everything, for our adventures to be movie screen worthy, and for no issue to ever come between us. Over the years I’ve learned that friendships in the adult world are very different from high school television series and stories we loved growing up. Life is scary and crazy and sometimes we feel alone, even in a room full of people. There are issues we must solve for ourselves and elements we need to handle on our own and that’s called adulthood. You are your own best friend and no one knows you better than yourself.

I realized that no matter how much I want and need my friends by my side, sometimes my friends (no matter how much I love them), can’t always be there for me. Also, once you get married your time and attention shifts. My husband and son are my best friends and that’s a deep, different level of friendship. They come first, always. There are many things you will only discuss with your significant other when you get married because marriage is a partnership and very personal, which is the way it should be.

In order to live your best life, you need to know that friends aren’t bad friends just because they can’t always be there for you. When you grow up you need to learn to trust and confide in yourself and to depend on yourself more than others. Friends become busy with work, family drama, passions, problems, and romantic relationships. If they don’t call or text you, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They could have so much going on and simply don’t have the energy to be social. As a busy wife and mama, I can’t just drop whatever I’m doing to be there for my friends, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them and that I’m not there for them.

People come and go

I’ve said goodbye to so many people who I never thought would leave. There are also those people who we don’t say goodbye to, but they simply fade away. It’s life. It’s adulthood. You should be able to depend on your close friends, family, and of course, your soulmate/significant other, but goodbyes are inevitable. Sadly, we never know who will stay and who will go. Forever is a very long time and the majority of the people you meet aren’t meant to stay forever. I’m a firm believer in fate, the universe having a plan for us, and in lessons. Some people are solely lessons learned. Every lesson comes with a price to pay, which might be a broken heart by someone who we thought loved us. I believe in soulmates and I know that my husband was meant for me and then there’s my ex, who was a very painful lesson.

Sometimes, someone embarks on a journey that requires starting over and moving on, maybe even moving somewhere and that’s it. They’re gone and living a different life, without you. Never allow someone’s presence or lack thereof to hinder your progress and stop you from moving forward. Remember the smiles, the laughs, and the lessons, and move on.

Count your blessings

You should always lay down at night with a grateful heart and count your blessings. You may have had a long, stressful day, or maybe you didn’t, but you shouldn’t ever take anything or anyone for granted. If you have clothes on your back, good health, and a roof over your head take a moment to smile and feel thankful. If you have someone sleeping next to you who loves you, take a moment to kiss them and tell them you love them. Never fall asleep angry, envious, or spiteful. There are so many people around us that have very little and even if they have it all, they don’t. Everyone has a battle they’re facing and problems that keep them awake at night. Sometimes, it’s nice to actually write down what you’re thankful for and what made you smile that day because the positives usually outnumber the negatives. Life’s not about perfection or winning and you never will win, so don’t try to. Life is about appreciating what you have and every moment, even the ones we learn from. The grass is only greener where you water it. Let go of jealousy and insecurities and make your life the life you want.

I’m at a point where I’m even thankful for the lessons life has given me and for those who’ve broken my heart, because they made me so incredibly lucky to have my husband and my current happiness. I wouldn’t know what love really is without the pain from my past. Count every blessing and be thankful for every second. We don’t get a do-over. This is our story and this is it.

Handle your stress but don’t add to it

We all have a breaking point and some of us suffer from anxiety. I am someone who has always had horrible anxiety. It’s actually so much better now that I’m older, a mom, and married to someone who treats me right, but I still have moments of high anxiety. I remember being stressed over slight things when I was a little girl, which sounds odd. How does a little girl even know what stress is? Well, she doesn’t. Little girls and boys don’t say that they’re anxious and stressed, they say that their stomach hurts, or that they don’t want to go to school, or to that party at a friend’s house. Anxiety and stress exist in every household, every culture, and every age group.

I’ve learned that the only way to handle stress is to just handle it. You have to deal with whatever’s stressing you out and you can’t add more to your schedule until you’ve checked everything else off. You also can’t hide behind a smile and play it off like you’re fine, because two glasses of wine later you’re an emotional wreck. My mind never stops going and when you’re constantly thinking you tend to add to your already heavy plate. Take a breath and don’t make any more plans…seriously, put the notepad and pen away. Tackle one thing at a time, one day at a time.

If you want to accomplish everything in one day (and you’re able to), you can. But, if you can’t, stop making yourself feel bad about it. Stress has a way of inviting friends over to play, meaning once you’re stressed about one thing, suddenly you’re stressed and anxious about everything. Have you ever gotten upset with a friend or a lover and then you find yourself cleaning and reorganizing everything around you? That is because your mind keeps going even after you think you’ve dealt with whatever’s bothering you.

Instead of stress cleaning, home projects, and lists, just sit down for a while and have a glass of wine. Read a book or watch a movie that makes you laugh. The laundry will still be there when you’re done taking a break, the lists will continue to unfold, and your workout routine can wait. Learn to say no to anything and anyone that makes you anxious. I don’t go anywhere that I hate and I don’t spend time with negative, toxic people who add stress to my life, or my son’s life. If I don’t wish to spend any time with you, you probably have a negative vibe, or you stress me out. I stopped working in fashion retail and became a stay at home mom in 2019 because I added too much to my plate. Stop stressing yourself out and remove some of the weight from your shoulders. Don’t be scared to make changes that will, in the long run, make you happier.

Spend less, save more

The older I get, the more I appreciate everything that I have and the fact that I’ve never gone without. I happily donate items I don’t want or need anymore and I love to save money. It’s okay to splurge and spoil yourself, but one of the true marks of being an adult is living for more than just the present, but also for the future. By saving money you’re thinking beyond your desires of the moment. As a parent, I’m always thinking ahead for my family. It’s important to spend the rest of your life with someone whose also big on saving, thinking ahead, but who also enjoys each moment. I love that my husband is smart with our money, but he also enjoys a healthy balance, just like I do. You can’t take it with you when you go, so there’s nothing wrong with spending money on what’s important to you and what makes you happy. Find the balance of saving and spending.

I’ve simplified my life and I’ve realized I don’t need as much as I once thought. Anyone who knows me knows I love to shop for myself and my home (I also love buying gifts for my husband and son), but I’ve never been more organized and content. I donated more this season than I have in many years and I’ve fallen in love with an organized, fresh canvas. My home is fresh and positive and by surrounding myself with beauty and organization it helps me save and stay focused on what’s important.

For those who struggle with buying too much and a lack of saving, take a moment to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, because her book and words can help you beyond cleaning up your space. She also has a binge-worthy show on Netflix that will get you off the couch and creating the space you want (stay tuned for my blog entry about creating an inspiring space). Marie Kondo helps you to realize that in our materialistic world, less is always more. She repeats the same process of picking up an object and seeing how it makes you feel. Does it truly make you happy? If not, let it go. Now, I’m not a minimalist, but I do believe that there should be a balance. I love shopping, retail therapy, and beautiful things, but I don’t need to buy things in order to feel happy. Set a goal for how much you’re going to save each month and stick to it. You can be a little minimal and a little extravagant and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Decide what you truly want out of 2020 and allow that passion to fuel your savings habit. If you’re all about your home and creating a perfect space this year than save for your home. If you’re living for travel and experiences this year, than that’s what you’re saving for. If you’re staying humble and low key this year and you’re completely content, save for the future and what you want out of the next five years, and so on.

2020 is a bright, clean canvas and there’s so much time to make this year the absolute best for you and those around you. Let go of the negative and fill your life with positive thinking, inspiring moments, and people who are deserving of your time and energy. I wish everyone a gorgeous, healthy, and fierce year.

He’s Everything

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romance

He’s a strong shot of whiskey and an up all-nighter.

He’s the first snowfall of the season and the enchantment of Christmas morning.

He’s a bible on the nightstand and a sweet kiss goodnight.

He’s a wild, untamed stallion, and a powerful wave crashing against the soft sand.

He’s the comfort of a warm, cozy blanket on a cold, winter’s night.

He’s millions of butterflies fluttering inside of me and a pretty, date night outfit.

He’s a pair of cowboy boots and a long, hard day of work.

He’s the sound of my favorite song and the windows rolled down.

He’s a happily ever after and a sparkly wedding band.

He’s “I do” and “I love you, forever and always”.

He’s fulfilled promises and a meaningful conversation.

He’s a father teaching our son how to ride a bike and a fierce wolf protecting his pack.

He’s the light of a full moon on a summer’s night and the soothing sound of birds chirping in the early morning hours.

He’s the feeling of a hammer against a bare hand and sweat on hot, summer skin.

He’s the reason for my smile and the strong arms that keep me safe.

He’s the one who broke down my walls and ignited my heart when no one else knew how.

He’s the love song I play on repeat and the book I can’t stop reading.

He’s a reliable truck that never fails me and a dirt road to a peaceful destination.

He’s the kiss I crave and the voice that comforts me.

He’s my playful soulmate and a loyal best friend.

He’s the keeper of my desires, passions, and fears.

He’s my voice of reason and the only soul who can quiet my demons.

He’s my favorite phone call and a text message that makes my eyes light up.

He’s the most incredible father to our beautiful, little boy.

He’s mine.

He’s you.

He’s everything.

♥️

Bottles of Bubbly

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personal

I went to New York City with my best friend for a girl’s trip, celebrating the Holiday season beneath the bright lights of the big city. We embarked on a full Gossip Girl Day and stopped at all of the famous set locations, walked through the Palace Hotel and the gorgeous courtyard Serena van der Woodsen claimed as her own, and we ended the day with a bottle of bubbly at a cherished Manhattan restaurant. I sucked up how sick I was, recovering from a bad cold to enjoy a beautiful day with one of my favorite people, and it was so worth the entire bag of cough drops I needed the following day.

I walked in the footsteps of my younger self and it felt surreal, actually, looking back at who I used to be and remembering distant moments. I used to spend so much time in New York City that it truly became a second home. I not only spent a little too much time there as a teenager, but I also spent every holiday in the city as a little girl either at my brother’s apartment in Brooklyn, or at my late grandmother’s Greenwich Village apartment. My grandmother’s apartment resembled a scene from Gossip Girl, with floor to ceiling windows, an elevator, and an actual outdoor area with a patio, seating, and plants. Stepping into that apartment was like stepping into another world, an expensive one. I remember our elaborate Thanksgiving dinner each year and the joyous Passover seders. I could write an entire novel just about my New York City experiences and the best (and worst) places to be while in the city. Trust me, I’ve seen and done it all. I’ve explored Alphabet City, a bohemian haven, late at night with an old flame, trying to remember in which parking garage I parked my car (completely buzzed and unaware). I’ve shopped the stores on Fifth Avenue and dined at the finest restaurants on The Upper East Side. There’s nothing better than a Sunday brunch in the city. I’ve sweat it out on the hot, summer streets of Manhattan and discovered the hidden waterfalls in Central Park. I’ve been inspired at Bethesda Terrace (my favorite place in the city) and I got my first tattoo in the city. I turned eighteen in The Oak Room at The Plaza Hotel and drank my weight in alcohol, feeling just like Serena did after a long night with Georgina. I enjoyed the famous performance of The Nutcracker at The New York City Ballet and admired every holiday storefront. I’ve hailed a cab, stumbling a bit in designer heels and stood beside the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. I’ll always carry a piece of the city with me, wherever I am. I’ve always been half country girl and half city girl and I exist perfectly in both settings. I’ve seen the beauty that lives within New York City just like I’ve experienced the peacefulness of a country night filled with stars, fields, and a little whiskey.

The young girl that used to wander the streets of Manhattan and soak up the atmosphere was naive, heartbroken, and carefree. She drank a lot of martinis (gin never vodka) and wore eight inch heels, stumbling into the prettiest restaurants and the best boutiques. She escaped from the small town drama and teenage heartache to a world filled with chaos, beauty, and intrigue. As I walked through Manhattan with my best friend, years later, I recognized a world I used to worship, but the reflection staring back at me in the glass storefronts has changed drastically. I’m no longer naive and heartbroken. I’m strong, happy, and wise. I’m loved more than I could’ve ever imagined and although my outfits and appearance have remained the same, everything else has evolved. It was nice to take a walk down memory lane and remember who I used to be because at one point she was all I knew. She was a little inappropriate and crazy (in a good way). She wore her heart on her sleeve despite the pain she hid behind makeup and clothes. It was never easy for her but she made it look effortless and simple. She still inspires me to take a deep breath and just live. I hope she looks at the woman I’ve become and feels proud.

I like to think my younger self is still wandering around New York City, inspired by the lights and the chaos, writing in beautiful bars and just waiting to bump into me again. Sometimes, I need to escape to the concrete jungle to remind myself of a part of me I often forget about completely and to inspire new writing projects. The city has a way of inspiring you and pushing you towards your passions, fiercely. It’s a magical place and it’s where you go to experience the wildest part of yourself. I loved visiting the set locations of my favorite high school show, Gossip Girl and I realize now how much the show became a part of my real, every day life. I started wearing slip dresses around the house after watching Gossip Girl, realizing there’s nothing more beautiful than feeling good in nothing, and spending a lazy Sunday in a black, lace slip. I love a bouquet of hydrangeas (my favorite flower), just like Blair Waldorf. I’ve had countless, wild nights with people I once knew, people I once confided in, and our nights were pretty similar to a Gossip Girl adventure. The show is more than just a show for me, it’s a memoir. I’ve walked where the characters walked, ate where they ate, and made equally bad decisions alongside Serena and Blair.

As I enjoy the winter in the country, falling in love once again with the snow covered trees, and breathing in the cold wind blowing through the fields, I keep New York City close to my heart. Until next time, NYC. You know you love…Xoxo, Gossip Girl.

Enjoy some photos from my gorgeous, chaotic, and memorable NYC adventures…

Holiday Traditions ✨

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personal

As a little girl I always loved the magic and sparkle of Christmas. The love I felt for the holiday season traveled with me into my adult life and now I get to share that same love with my little boy. I have holiday traditions I’ve kept with me, but as a young mom I’ve started new traditions. Growing up, I didn’t live in the same house as my brother. He’s much older than me and I grew up living the life of an only child, and my big brother lived in New York City, immersed in politics and the quintessential adult life. I awaited the annual Christmas visit from my brother with childlike excitement every year. He would come down from the city early Christmas Eve and we’d go to a favorite Italian restaurant with my parents and my grandma. I’d wear a pretty, Christmas dress and listen to interesting adult conversation.

Christmas Eve was always festive, bright, and merry. We’d have dinner at the restaurant, return to my house for presents, and I’d fall asleep listening to my brother and dad discussing politics over late night liquor. I’d wake up to the feeling of Christmas morning, feeling as though anything was possible beneath the sparkle of our Christmas tree. Our Christmas tree was always colorful and over the top with homemade ornaments, expensive ornaments, colored lights, and a tree top angel. Every room in the house had a smaller, table top Christmas tree with a different theme and my mom always made her famous egg nog. The whole season was magical and I never forgot the way I felt during this time of the year.

I carry all of those beautiful memories with me and this year, for the first time in many years, we’re going back to that Italian restaurant for Christmas Eve. My brother doesn’t come down for Christmas anymore, but we just saw him for Hanukkah at his apartment in the city. It was so nice celebrating the first night of Hanukkah with my brother and my family (another tradition). I’ve always celebrated both holidays, growing up Jewish and Catholic.

I’m so excited to share one of my favorite holiday traditions with Andrew and Greyson tonight. Christmas Eve dinner is one of many holiday traditions I’ve kept with me, but the new traditions are just as special. Andrew and I took Greyson on a Christmas hayride the other night and we took a photo with Santa. We looked at each other that night and realized this will be something Greyson will look forward to every year…a lit up hayride and saying hello to Santa. I’m obsessed with the glitz and the enchantment of Christmas, and I want to create the perfect experience every year for my son and my husband. I make sure all of the gifts are perfect, the wrapping paper, the Christmas tree, the moments, and the photos.

Andrew and I decided that we will wrap all of the presents tonight and we’ll stay up late, setting up all of the gifts as if Santa was just there. We’ll leave out carrots for his beloved reindeer, cookies and milk for Santa, and I even bought a card for Greyson from Santa himself. Every Christmas Eve, including tonight Greyson will get Christmas Eve pajamas and a holiday book. We’ll read him his holiday book and once he’s asleep Andrew and I will watch a Christmas movie together. I bought all of us matching plaid pajamas for Christmas Day, and we plan on staying in our pajamas all day, which is the best feeling in the world. I can’t wait for Greyson to wake up to an overload of presents and pretty wrapping paper beneath our decked out tree. That is just another reason why I love being a mom…creating breathtaking moments for my son.

You can recreate and create any traditions you want for yourself and for your family, which is the true magic of the holidays. Let each day be filled with joy, hope, and beauty. Hold onto the sparkle and the gorgeous time spent with the ones you love and never forget what it feels like to wait for Santa. I’m wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas Eve filled with laughter, great conversation, and love. I hope everyone wakes up to a perfect Christmas Day…Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year! ✨♥️

The Greyson Diaries

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How to be a Happy and Healthy Stay at Home Mom

I am officially back to being a full time stay at home mama and I’ve never been happier. I still have my own business, Petsitting by Lizzie LLC, but my animal care business doesn’t take away from my daily job as a mother. Any mom who cares for another life every day can attest to the fact that becoming a parent changes your life in ways you never could’ve imagined. It’s a beautiful, sleepless, crazy ride. I wake up every morning feeling so thankful and blessed to be Greyson’s mama. I’m also very grateful for my husband, Andrew, who wakes up before the sun and comes home late in the evening in order to provide for us.

There’s a country song by Craig Campbell called “When Ends Don’t Meet” and in the song he sings, “She knows I’m out there doing the best I can, trying to keep these wolves away with my bare hands” and those lyrics remind me of Andrew and the way he protects us, fiercely. He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever known and he accomplishes so much. Without him I wouldn’t be able to stay home with Greyson, and I know that not every woman has the choice or opportunity to be a stay at home mom. If you are doing what you need to do to provide for yourself and your family, please don’t ever forget how amazing you are.

You can call me whatever you’d like, a housewife, a homemaker, or a stay at home mother. I don’t find any of those titles to be insulting or offensive. I’m happy and comfortable with my life and the choice I made to be at home rather than at work. The world we live in is overwhelmed with judgement and titles cling to us, but there’s nothing wrong with being a housewife (or a homemaker, a stay at home mom, etc.). If you’re able to stay at home and it’s something you want for yourself, do it. It isn’t a lifestyle that works for every woman and I know many who would rather be working than at home. I know many who make fun of housewives and very often people picture the cast from Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise when they hear that word, but that’s not reality. I do dress up some days, go out to lunch with close friends, and I love a good shopping spree, but most days are spent at home, living the mommy life with my beautiful boy and getting things done. I clean, cook (use my crockpot lol), do laundry, take care of our household, and I hold everything together like a pair of bookends.

I fill our home with laughter and love and that’s my job. I have moments of relaxation and free time that I like to fill with reading, writing, projects, and outdoor adventures when the weather allows. I’d much rather be going on adventures with my son and be able to greet my husband at the door when he comes home than working. Again, I am lucky enough to be able to be home, but I did go back to work after having Greyson. I worked in the fashion retail and marketing world from age sixteen until I had Greyson last December. I’ve also had my own, successful business (pet sitting, dog walking, animal training, and animal care) since 2014.

I decided to go back to work as a Brand Representative in September at a pretty, bohemian store called Altar’d State. I was a loyal customer and in many ways I am the brand. I’m a young, spiritual, bohemian woman and that is the target audience. I loved the clothes, the brand, the customers, and my coworkers. I loved doing what I have done for years and doing it well, but I felt stressed, tired, and my days became pretty complicated. I piled so much on my plate that my physical and mental health were being affected. As a committed mama, my health is far too important to take lightly. I left my job right after Thanksgiving and although it was a bittersweet feeling, I immediately felt relief. My mental state improved within days and I already feel healthier and happier. I am able to work out again whenever I want, diet the way I wish, and do whatever makes me smile each day. I have time and freedom and that feels amazing. The best version of myself is who I am right now, drinking a glass of wine, playing with my baby boy on the floor of his nursery, and waiting for Andrew to get home from a busy day.

I know that sometimes being a mama can feel lonely and exhausting. I know that some days are harder, or longer than others and that parenthood is a never ending journey. I know that falling asleep at night feels a little different, because your mind never stops going, and you’re constantly making lists, worrying about your little one, and planning ahead. I know that it takes a little longer to get ready to go places and that you spend a lot more money. I know that running an errand isn’t as simple as it used to be and there will always be people in your life that simply don’t understand. If you look pretty, you’re smiling, and you’re breathing, it must’ve been an easy day…right? No, sometimes you’re just incredible at hiding how long and hard the day was. I know all of this to be true mamas, but I also know another truth…it’s the best job in the world, being a mom. Sadly, we aren’t offered promotions, paid vacations, or raises, but we are raising the next generation. What’s more important than that?

As a stay at home mama, I take my job seriously and I never take it for granted. I enjoy every second and I love teaching my angel to be the best boy he can be. Every moment is a learning experience in our household and it’s so beautiful watching him grow, learn, and laugh. I stay happy and healthy by doing what’s best for me and by smiling often. I let go of the little things and I don’t let stupid issues ruin my day. I accept the fact that I’m not perfect and no day will ever play out the way we expect it to, no matter how many lists we make. I say I love you more than anything else and sometimes I put my phone in another room…it’s not as important as the moment I’m in right now. Be present and be aware. I get dressed up, put on makeup, and do my hair, but I also love the days I stay in my pajamas and don’t wear any makeup. I don’t care about selfies or posts on social media, but I do care about taking photos of my gorgeous boy and the moments that matter. I eat as healthy as I possibly can (but I also treat myself) and I believe a glass of wine every night is good for you. I do yoga and, or workout every night and I remind myself that failure isn’t who I am as a person. It’s never an option. I try to speak as beautifully as possible in front of Greyson but I’m only human. I curse sometimes, say stupid things I don’t mean, and I get angry from time to time…duh. It’s okay to be human. Embrace your emotions and be unapologetically you.

There’s no rule book or any true guidelines to being happy at home with your child, but it’s a choice only you can make and you have control over your days and your environment. My best advice is to let go of anything that makes you feel stressed and upset when you wake up in the morning. Whatever it is, it isn’t worth the negative emotions. I allowed a job to affect my mental and physical health because we live in a world that makes us feel bad for not working, but if you have the option to walk away…walk away. If you could never imagine yourself being a stay at home mom than continue working. I still have a business of my own, many passions, and I get to do what I love most of all and that is taking care of my son. Try to find a happy medium and go from there. If you can scale back and work part time instead of full time, or maybe you also have a business of your own that allows you to make your own schedule, or you have great passions, you can explore all of your options. If you’re a single mother, or your household needs two incomes, that’s okay. Remember, you’re doing what you need to do for the ones that matter most and that’s strength.

My husband and I communicate about everything and he knew I wasn’t happy working anymore and I knew that he wanted me home. He wanted me to wake up every morning with no worries and to fall asleep at night feeling at peace. I love him so much for always considering my feelings and for supporting me. Communication is so important when you’re a stay at home mama because it ensures that you and your significant other are always on the same page. It’s important to have a monthly budget, to save money, and to stay on top of tasks and projects. Before you make the leap and decide to ditch your current routine and be home long term (or short term) communicate with your partner. Speak honestly and openly about what you want, what you need, and what you can live without. Also, allow your inner child to speak to you and with help from your childhood spirit have fun with your daily life, especially if you are at home full time. As a parent, some of the best moments are the ones where your inner child comes to visit, whether you’re playing make believe and storytelling, or you’re embarking on an adventure. You’re never too old to read a fairytale, watch an animated movie, or play with toys.

I know that if my boy ends his day with a smile that it was a good day. Little victories are big victories and small moments are much larger than they seem. I have learned so much from Greyson and although he’s only been alive for a year (he turned one on December 8th), he has so much wisdom and there’s a lot to be learned from an innocent heart. I am grateful for the life I have, my boy, my husband, and the choices I’ve made for myself. Mamas, you know what’s in your heart and no one can ever tell you you’re wrong for knowing what’s best for you. Live and love fearlessly and the rest will fall into place.

Best of luck to all of the mamas and parents out there ♥️ Keep up the good, inspiring work and never forget how strong and resilient you are.

Xo