Feeling twenty three

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Today is my twenty-third birthday and as I do each year, I am looking forward to new beginnings and adventures. I feel as though I turned twenty-two yesterday, but as we all know, time goes by so incredibly fast. I never thought that on my twenty-third birthday I wouldn’t be swallowing down an expensive martini, or that I’d be celebrating not only my birthday but 35 weeks of pregnancy. Life has a way of unfolding in ways we couldn’t have predicted. Life is terrifying and beautiful and I’m focusing on the beauty today.

I have an amazing fiancé and a gorgeous life. I’m so excited to meet my baby and to start a new, exciting chapter with Andrew. I am planning our 2019 wedding and I’m so lucky to have such amazing, supportive friends (more like family) by my side through everything. I’m lucky to have parents who help me when I need it, despite the fact that I’m an adult and fiercely independent. I’m also lucky to have found myself and for everything I’ve accomplished. After my twenty-first birthday I went through immense life changes, said goodbye to a relationship, and I also lost a piece of myself as I struggled to rebuild and revive. I then became a ballroom dancer and with the help of my old dance partner and teacher, Franddy I created a new life for myself. I became stronger, fiercer, and more independent. I chased shots and dreams, not people.

I am now happier than I’ve ever been in my life; Andrew has shown me what true love is and reminded me of what I deserve. Ladies, find a man who gives you the world and makes you his.* I wish I could go back and tell my younger self how beautiful and special my life would become. I wish I could tell the girl who struggled to exist after being raped that everything will be okay. If I could go back and show my younger self a slideshow of my current life (Andrew, baby Greyson, and all of my accomplishments), I know I would’ve understood why I had to endure certain losses, leave the past behind, and move forward. We never understand in the moment of change or heartache why we must go through what we go through, but once you climb your way to the top of the mountain, the view is everything.

Everyone views their twenty-first birthday as the milestone birthday, but twenty-three marks one of the greatest milestones of my life…the year I become a mom. This year I become a mom, a wife, and I fully let go of the past. I won’t be needing the past anymore. The shadows and ghosts that have been by my side for years are no longer with me. For anyone who has yet to turn twenty-three, or twenty-one for that matter, you will realize so much during your early twenties. You will no longer care about petty drama, finances will change, and you’ll view everything differently (and I mean everything). You may become a young mom, like me and find the man (or woman) of your dreams. You’ll look back at your distant high school memories, past mistakes, and lessons learned and take a deep breath because you made it. You’ll go out to eat with your lover on a Friday night and you’ll look to the right, noticing a group of loud, naive teenagers and you’ll smile. You’ll smile because that was once you and you’ll never be that loud or naive again.

My advice to anyone entering into their early twenties is to leave the past in the past…don’t look in your rearview mirror. You may say goodbye to familiar, comfortable faces and you may feel a little lost as you begin to write a new chapter. Remember, the view from the top of the mountain (your new chapter) is everything. Let the fire inside of you inspire you and focus on finding what ignites your heart. Once you find your passion(s), never let go. Always strive to be another year wiser and truly take in the moments that made you laugh, cry, and grow.

This year, I already feel as though all of my wishes have come true, but as I close my eyes and blow out my candles 🕯 I feel incredibly blessed. Here’s to feeling twenty-three and to 35 weeks of pregnancy with my little pumpkin ♥️

I wish all November babies a happy, healthy, and exciting birthday and a gorgeous year! Xx

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Love & Lifestyle by Lizzie

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lifestyle / personal

Current Mood?

I’m 34 weeks pregnant! I’m feeling more exhausted than I was last week, but I’m staying busy with work, our continuing home renovations (so excited to post pictures), planning for baby Greyson, and fall moments. I am loving the colder weather and waking up to a brisk, autumn breeze blowing through my window. I love drinking hot chocolate, cuddling under a cozy throw blanket, and wearing cute, fall essentials. This week I’m all about scarves, statement jackets, and heels. What are you falling for this week?

Love

I’ve been asked throughout my pregnancy how being pregnant has affected my love life…the minute I found out I was pregnant I felt even more connected to Andrew, because we are sharing something special and life changing. I was scared, but fear faded away incredibly quickly. There are still moments of fear and stress (naturally), but those emotions come with any new chapter. Andrew and I have always been passionate and loving, but being pregnant has brought immense passion, love, and excitement to our love life and relationship. If you’re with the right person ladies, being pregnant will not change or alter your relationship, in a negative way. Yes, there will be moments where baby comes first (even before he or she is born), but a baby should bring you closer. I’ve had a beautiful and healthy pregnancy and I wish every mama to be (and those simply thinking about embarking on the pregnancy journey) nothing but happiness, perfect health, and special moments.

Pregnancy hasn’t slowed me down one bit, especially when it comes to sex and romance. But, I do understand that many are ordered by their OB to take it easy during their pregnancy, or, as I mentioned before, baby simply comes first. There may be a period of time where no sex is required and that shouldn’t be an issue in your relationship. Sometimes, you’re just too tired to have sex, or you’re uncomfortable. You and baby are more important than anything else, but if you feel amazing and you’re given no restrictions, have fun! You shouldn’t feel bad (or uncomfortable) about being intimate with your lover while pregnant, and I promise you, your baby doesn’t care!

Pregnancy isn’t a hindrance and I hate when women say, “Ugh, my life is over now that I’m going to be a mom”. No, you’re starting a new, exciting chapter and being a mom is something to celebrate, not mourn.* No one is forcing you to drive a minivan (unless you want to), start wearing mom jeans, or change your personality. If you’re pregnant and going through a mourning process, you’re doing it all wrong. You don’t have to change who you are, stop having fun, stop being sexy, or give up what you love in order to have a baby! You are who you are and your baby deserves to meet the best side of you! I’m asked constantly, how I’ve remained so happy and healthy throughout my pregnancy, and most of my glow has to do with remaining true to myself. I want my baby to know the real me and I’m so excited for my next chapter, alongside Andrew.

Your love life is what you make it. If you’ve found the one who ignites your heart, you’ll make it through each and every life changing moment (including a pregnancy) and you’ll only become stronger. Let each chapter in your life be bright and positive…

Lifestyle 

This week I want to talk about what inspires me daily and I want you to take a moment to write down what inspires and motivates you. What makes you laugh, smile, and cheers at the end of a long day? What makes you feel thankful, blessed, and special? What helps you get through the stressful, trying days?

When I’m feeling stressed and anxious, it really helps to remind myself what I’m thankful for, where my inspiration comes from, and what keeps me smiling. Life is short and it’s important to appreciate the little things. Of course, some days are more magical than others, so your daily inspiration can fluctuate, but always be mindful of what inspires you. My inspiration:

  • I’m inspired by feeling my baby kick, move, and grow with each passing day…
  • I’m inspired by nature, the sky, and fall mornings…
  • I’m inspired by Andrew; I’m inspired by the way he treats me, makes me laugh, reminds me of how much he loves me, and our moments spent together (no matter how simple)…
  • I’m inspired by my animals who love me unconditionally, drive me insane, and by the way they welcome me home each day with affection and appreciation…
  • I’m inspired by fashion…
  • I’m inspired by my mom who has been there for me through everything (including this pregnancy)…

It’s your turn! Take a moment to write down what inspires you and do it daily, to remind yourself of the beauty around you. No matter how dark the day is, there’s always light to be found.*

I wish my readers and followers a fun, inspiring, and relaxing week. Inspire yourself with fall trends, fashion, and have a spooky Halloween. I’ll chat with you Friday…XO

Follow my blog, www.takeabiteoutofme.com to stay updated on the latest and feel free to follow me on Instagram: lizziemognoni

 

Life after sexual assault

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I’ve been wanting to write about this ever since the Kavanaugh case began, and I’ve always been very open and honest about what happened to me, years back, but I’ve also been trying to focus on only positive feelings during my pregnancy. For those who don’t know, I was raped when I was sixteen years old, by a guy who was one of my closest friends (at the time). He knew me as a person, was close with my mom, spent hours at a time in my personal space and old home, we went on adventures, and we helped each other through teenage drama/heartache. It was a late, weird night that turned into an actual nightmare for me, and a night which changed my life permanently. I watched every second of the Kavanaugh case and would like to say honestly, that it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch and the most frustrating for me; I don’t view this as a Democratic vs. Republican issue AT ALL. I view this as a societal issue and a true lack of compassion for victims, especially women who deal with any form of assault, whether that’s sexual assault, verbal abuse, etc. I would also like to say, I am not here to write about whether or not Kavanaugh assaulting Ford is true, or not. I know what I believe to be true, but that’s not what this post is about.

We need to start listening and changing the way we view victims. Victims of all sorts are always blamed. Does that make any logical sense? It doesn’t matter how long it has been since Ford said she was assaulted (it doesn’t matter when she told her husband, or the world), OR, what party she stands behind. I will say, as a survivor of sexual assault, coming forward and being open about assault doesn’t bring about anything for the victim, but PTSD, fear, and due to our societies lack of compassion, a lot of shame and regret. No one who was ever assaulted came forward to gain something, because there is no reward system for victims. I did personally feel incredibly brave and stronger after speaking up (at the young age of sixteen), but that didn’t wipe away the negativity and pain which followed my honesty. Coming forward is terrifying and Ford had nothing to gain from doing so, which I would know very well.

At age sixteen, I finally spoke up about what happened to me (a few months after the sexual assault) and I sat in a small, dank room with a rude detective, telling him the uncomfortable and scary details of that night (over and over again). I can still smell the coffee on the detective’s breath and the weird odor from the room I was in. I was asked questions which made me feel as though somehow, I caused the rape. He did, in fact, ask me, what I was wearing (classic shaming). Ladies, you can walk around naked and that doesn’t give ANY man the right to touch you.** I was made to feel embarrassed, foolish, and wrong, despite the fact that I had done NOTHING wrong. I pressed charges, charges which never went to court (weeks dragged on and I felt emotionally drained), because my local police department failed me, 100%. They allowed him to bring in close male friends (who went to our school), to be interviewed about what I was accusing him of, after he was waived up to age eighteen (opposed to the age he was when the sexual assault occurred, which was seventeen), and he was slapped in the face with serious sexual assault charges. I know he was shocked, because he never thought I’d say a word.

His friends who were interviewed called me provocative, a slut, and a liar. They verbally assaulted me in the hallways of my high school, threatened me, and I lost “friends” after everything I went through. Years later, when I was dating my ex, the same guy who raped me threw beer bottles and cans at my pickup truck and home (more than once), and he had a severe altercation with my ex, in front of my house. The pain and continued harassment lasted way beyond the night I was sexually assaulted. I had to explain to a newer officer of my township, after reporting the beer bottle incident to the police, that I had desperately tried to press charges against him when I was sixteen and no one would help me.

My mom went off on the detective who failed me (having my back as much as she possibly could), explaining to him how incredibly common rape is, even in the military (she handed him a packet of rape statistics), but sadly, many don’t speak up (because it’s traumatic). I never blame anyone for keeping traumatic experiences hidden in the shadows, because I truly understand how hard it is to say the powerful words out loud, but as a writer, I knew I could help others feel less alone by being brutally honest about the trauma I endured. I’ve had strangers reach out to me after I first wrote about being raped on my blog, years ago. I heard from people in other countries, people I went to high school with who had no idea and young girls dealing with different levels of bullying/abuse. I’m glad I spoke up. I was in therapy for years, was prescribed medication for anxiety and depression (I no longer take anything), dealt with sleepless nights, drank a little too much, partied hard, and I was diagnosed with not only major depression, but also Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

img_2819 (I tried my hardest to have a “normal”
high school experience, which was impossible…)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an adventure (and not a fun one). I am proud to say, I have come so very far since that time in my life, but I still have moments of insecurity and PTSD never leaves you. You learn to live with it. Pain changes you, permanently.

For anyone whose questioned Ford, based off of the details she remembers from that night (and again, I’m not here to discuss what’s true or not)…trauma snaps you into fight or flight mode. You may not remember every detail, because that is your body/mind’s natural reaction to a traumatic event (assault, car accident, robbery, etc.) and actually, a way of protecting you and keeping you focused on survival. I know from my own experience, that I didn’t remember every detail, but I remembered enough, which is what catapulted me into an unforeseen darkness. I remember what I was wearing, the temperature, the time he arrived at my house, what he was wearing, and the music I was listening to before he arrived at my house (Kenny Chesney). I remember the taste of vodka entering my mouth hours later after I was confronted head-on with the painful realization, and the hysterical phone call I made to my friend at the time, trying to explain to her what just happened to me (impossible).

I remember picking up my lace thong off of the floor, which he had ripped off of me, and looking at my changed reflection in my floor-length mirror. There were bite marks on me and by the next day, subtle bruising. I punched the mirror in my bathroom around three am, leaving a bruise on my fist and a small crack in the mirror, feeling angry, betrayed, and out of control. I felt as though he had taken something from me and I had lost full control over myself, my emotions, and my life. It was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever endured. I don’t think I had ever hit or punched anything either, prior to that night (totally out of character for me). I can tell you so many, painful details from the night I was raped, but I cannot tell you the exact date, nor can I tell you why it happened to me, or how a guy I once trusted turned into a monster. School doesn’t prepare you at age sixteen for what life throws at you with no warning. I was forced to grow up and after experiencing such an immense trauma, I lost my naivety and innocence.

Ford should not be blamed for only remembering certain details from her assault, because that is common and natural. No one should ever be questioned or judged the way she’s been (regardless of what you believe to be true) after coming forward with something as personal as assault. She also shouldn’t be blamed for coming forward, despite how many years it took for her to do so, and as I said before, this horrible case has nothing to do with political parties. It has to do with a wake up call; we live in a world that needs to change and a world that needs to teach young men (and boys) not to rape, assault, and shame women, regardless of their status or mindset. I don’t care how much money you come from, where you went to school, who you partied with, how educated you are, or what title you possess. I care about how you treat humans, animals, and the planet. I care about how you present yourself to the world and what you bring to the table, and I don’t think we will ever repair the damage that was done during the Kavanaugh case, but it is never too late to make positive waves. His case triggered emotions in many and it has awakened a lot of quiet souls.

When I turned eighteen I got my very first tattoo, a small script which reads “breathe” on my wrist. I got that tattoo to remind myself, no matter what I was, or am feeling during the day, to simply look down and take a deep breath. I could finally breathe again. I had survived so much and I would never allow another person to steal away my happiness and strength.

img_4536 (This was taken after signing for my first tattoo, in New York City, at age eighteen…)

I remind everyone whose endured trauma to keep fighting and to never give up…I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I’m thankful for beautiful days and the beautiful people in my life. There is light at the end of every tunnel and it takes time, but we learn to fight through the darkness, instead of fearing the dark.*

Love & Lifestyle by Lizzie

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Current mood?

I’m 33 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow and I’m feeling stressed this week, which is always the worst feeling. I do feel great, but I’m exhausted and it’s officially hard for me to sleep through the night, with my little pumpkin keeping me awake. Andrew and I are still plugging through home renovations, but the nursery is painted and I know it will be an absolutely beautiful space! I cannot wait to spend hours in there bonding with baby Greyson, especially during the cold, winter months. I’m wedding planning as much as possible, which is super exciting! Knowing that I’ll be marrying my best friend in 2019 makes me so happy. #lovestory

Love

What’s the universe saying about October love? Let’s have some fun with the monthly love horoscope for October! Last month was a nice, relaxing break after dealing with intense, summer emotions (and the heat), but October is actually another intense time for love and emotions (sorry!). September is a good time to rest, rejuvenate, and rethink, but October begins another journey…

October is filled with stress and an overflow of thoughts when it comes to finances, intimacy, and love. You may feel insecure, overwhelmed, or haunted. It’s okay! Take a deep breath and enjoy the beautiful, fall days (regardless). I’m feeling the pressure from October emotions, just like everyone else. No one is ever alone in dealing with stress and emotions, which should make you feel a little better. October is a time to unearth everything you were trying to hide and avoid as we enter into our favorite time of the year. The secrets you thought you could ignore in your love life will surface, the financial issues you didn’t want to face will need to be handled, and the insecurities you may have tucked under the rug, will haunt you…just in time for Halloween! These unwanted feelings and issues are all thanks to Venus being in retrograde.

This retrograde is ultimately trying to remind you to put yourself first and to deal with issues head on (communicate and be honest), and to never allow your happiness to depend on someone else, or a materialistic desire. If you’re in a healthy, secure relationship there’s no need to panic, but insecurities from your past (old issues) may emerge. For example, if you were lied to and cheated on in the past (even if it was years ago), despite being in a new, healthy relationship, you may suddenly feel revisited by old, unwanted emotions, revolving around what you went through. Let’s call these emotions the ghosts of relationships past

This month, instead of ignoring the emotions you’re feeling, communicate with yourself and your significant other. This is the time to be honest with yourself, your partner, and the world. It also may be time to come to terms with what haunts you and set those ghosts free. It’s time to move forward in the right direction, with the one you love by your side. If you’re single, it’s still time to move forward and remain positive! We’ll get through October together, loves…

Lifestyle

As I briefly addressed above (thanks to October changes and new vibes), finances may be stretched and tight this month as we approach the holiday season. Are you feeling undervalued at work? Do you crave purchases you cannot make at this time (new clothing, a new vehicle, home essentials)? Are you stressing about the upcoming holiday season, gifting, and plans? Do yourself a favor and instead of planning ahead this month and thinking about possible, upcoming issues, take it day by day. Write down each day what you need to accomplish, conquer your daily goals, and worry about everything else later. Planning ahead can be wonderful, but it can also be damaging to our mental and emotional health. Too much planning can lead to stressing out over every detail, and there will always be aspects in our life that we cannot control. Life is unpredictable and messy.

An amazing way to shake off negative vibes is to go for a walk, alone. Take an hour to walk it off. The fall weather allows us to walk, cozy up, and spend some time bonding with nature. Don’t bring anyone or anything on this walk, and just breathe in the fresh, fall air, and try to manage your emotions. Sometimes, all I need is a little while in a pretty place to clear my head and start fresh. A walk is not only good for your body, but also your mind.* If walking around your neighborhood isn’t inspiring enough, drive to a local park, the beach (just bundle up), or another walking destination in your area.

I’m wishing you all a beautiful weekend filled with positive thoughts, cool breezes, renewal, and rest. Take a couple of naps this weekend and don’t overload yourself if you’re feeling stressed, or uneasy. Remember, you’re never alone in how you’re feeling…Xo

Follow my blog, www.takeabiteoutofme.com to stay updated on the latest and feel free to follow me on Instagram: lizziemognoni

Love & Lifestyle by Lizzie

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lifestyle

Current Mood?

I will be 32 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow and I’m feeling very thankful for a beautiful pregnancy, my close friends and family, and of course, for Andrew. I had an off day yesterday and I woke up feeling out of sorts and a little emotional, but despite my mood, Andrew got me through the day and made me feel so much better. I’m hoping for cooler temperatures next week and beyond! Work is keeping me busy as I prepare for the upcoming holiday season, a tree lighting, and new promotions/styles in our retail world…

Love

On this day, one year ago my entire life changed. I walked by a stranger in cowgirl boots and ripped jeans without knowing that the handsome stranger would become my whole life, my lover, my ride or die, and the father of my child. I knew from a simple conversation in a Tractor Supply aisle that you were the one. Andrew, I caught your eye when I walked by you, but you stole my heart instantaneously. You were goofy, real, and sweet with me from the second I met you. I’ll never forget the fact that you came in to visit me at work, every night for a week and you waited patiently to ask me out in person, regardless of already having my phone number. 

You did everything right from the beginning and I remember sitting on your lap in our living room, as we repainted (there was stuff everywhere). I looked at you and told you I was falling in love with you, but to be honest, it was beyond falling. I loved you the second you kissed me. I loved you the second you made me laugh uncontrollably. I love the fact that you had a romantic plan to ask me out (somewhere amazing), but after dinner at Mark and Marcia’s (November 12) we got in the car and you looked at me with your bright grin. It was late and the sky was flooded with stars. The look on your face was sincere and you said, “I had a plan and an idea of when I was going to ask you out, but I was sitting at dinner tonight, looking over at you laughing and talking, and I was thinking, what am I doing? I need to ask you out and make you mine. So, will you be my girlfriend?” You blew your own plan, because you couldn’t wait to ask me out and I still think that’s so romantic and cute, because every second of us has been authentic. You swept me off of my feet from every true word you spoke and every thoughtful action, and I promise you, I’ll never forget the little things. 

We always knew we were something special and we talked about babies, marriage, our songs, and adventures since the beginning. I was hurt so many times in my past that it made it hard for me to believe it would all come true for me. Now, here we are, engaged and I’m so close to having our little angel. You gave me a real-life fairy tale and you’ve treated me like a princess, since day one. You still give me butterflies and ignite my heart when you look at me, hold me, and kiss me. You’ve already had my back through heartache, struggles, and have stood by not only me, but my family. I gave you my whole heart and my soul; I gave you every one of my flaws, strengths, secrets, and passions. I wish you and I nothing but happiness, love, and magic the rest of our lives. I love you Andrew, always and forever. #cheerstous

Lifestyle

The weather is FINALLY cooler this weekend and hopefully next week, as well (fingers crossed). I’m feeling happy today wearing boots, a scarf, fall makeup, and drinking a HOT Chai Tea Latte, for once. I am getting my nails done tonight to unwind after a busy, long work week at my favorite nail salon. What are your plans for the weekend?

It’s finally cool enough for bike rides, long walks, hikes, and if you’re a photography/nature lover, roam around somewhere beautiful and take some pictures! Share some beauty with your social media friends this weekend by going on an outdoor adventure with your significant other, friends, or by yourself.  If you’re a South Jersey guy or gal, The Historic Smithville Village is a great place to shop (charming, little boutiques), roam, and explore on fall days. Or, Batsto is also a perfect place to wander around and escape to after working all week. If you’re a fan of ghosts, haunted places, and long nights spent with friends, Batsto is also a fun AND creepy place to explore at night (just be safe and smart). But, Halloween is just around the corner and it’s a good time to go on some ghostly adventures.

A long, fall walk sounds perfect and I’ll definitely be doing that this weekend with my love! I am also touring the maternity wing at the hospital with Andrew and my mom tomorrow, preparing for the final days of pregnancy! Home renovations for us are continuing and moving along nicely (I cannot wait for everything to be finished). Sunday I am going to have lunch with one of my best friends, Danny. We always need our venting, therapeutic sessions to get through our crazy weeks! This weekend is perfect shopping weather if anyone wants to spend some cash and swipe their cards; fall clearance is already here as we see pre-holiday finds popping up in our favorite stores. The Promenade at Sagemore, in Marlton NJ (where I work as the Marketing Assistant) is having our annual Shop Like A Boss event starting tomorrow, and ending on National Bosses Day (Oct 16) to showcase our newest promotions, specialized services, and new merchandise. This event is for the savvy and trendy shopper and celebrates being a boss, whether you’re a female boss in every day life (running a business, household, or building your empire), or if you’re a boss at any business! If you’re in the area, come shop and sip at The Promenade!

I wish everyone a gorgeous, fall weekend filled with adventure and happiness. Have a great Friday and an even better weekend. Xoxo

Follow my blog, www.takeabiteoutofme.com to stay updated on the latest and feel free to follow me on Instagram: lizziemognoni

Love & Lifestyle by Lizzie

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lifestyle

 

Current Mood?

I’m 31 weeks pregnant (so exciting) and I’m currently feeling absolutely exhausted, after an amazing weekend. My fall-themed baby shower was Saturday and I love my people for making my shower so special. A huge thank you to everyone who came to the Champagne Brunch at The Smithville Inn to shower Andrew, baby Greyson, and I with love and support (thank you cards will be sent out shortly, Xo). Andrew and I are still busy with home renovations, but everything is coming together (slowly). We are so excited for the months ahead and I cannot wait to meet our little pumpkin!

Love

I want to address something that fell into my lap a few days ago, regarding attention and love. Someone asked me whether or not I viewed extensive gift giving as a gesture of love, or simply attention. I’d love to answer that question for everyone to read, because as women we grow up thinking men are supposed to shower us with gifts and overly romantic gestures, but that isn’t realistic. He doesn’t have to come home with diamonds everyday, but he DOES have to be loyal, loving, and thoughtful. There’s a huge difference between attention and love; attention can be given to you at anytime and by anyone (a guy at Wawa whistling at you, or strangers liking your social media photos), but when someone loves you, attention turns into affection and dedication. Love is an intense, terrifying, and beautiful emotion that can change a person’s entire life. Finding the right person, the one you wish to spend the rest of your days with is life-altering; A person who loves you will of course, give you attention, but it’s deeper than that when a person truly cares about you. It’s not an act of love, buying someone an expensive gift (and that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate gifts), but an act of love is coming home every single night and caring for your significant other. Yes, it’s okay to obsess over a present from your significant other and share it with the world (if you choose), but constantly posting about elaborate gifts is uncomfortable (and unnecessary).

To answer the question I was asked a few days ago, I don’t view extensive gift giving as a gesture of love, but rather attention. If a man feels as though he must buy his woman a weekly, pricey gift (we see this displayed on social media, constantly) I view that situation as a man who feels he needs to overcompensate, or who feels insecure in his relationship. When we feel insecure, we tend to go above and beyond to impress and express, because we feel as though our presence and thoughtful nature isn’t enough. Ladies, we don’t need our men to bring home jewelry, designer shoes, and purchase us brand-new vehicles in order to feel loved and cared for. We need our men to stand by us through sickness, health, financial struggles, bad days, and good. We need loyalty, respect, endless laughs, and beautiful adventures. Attention can be a dangerous thing and many crave attention in unhealthy ways. Remember, the man who doesn’t feel he needs to overcompensate, because he knows he isn’t going anywhere, and he trusts that you’ll always be there, will shower you with love, not just attention.* You want someone who does far more than just pays attention to you! Attention won’t be enough to get you through raising a family, dealing with an illness, or a financial crisis, but having the one who loves you by your side will get you through everything and anything. Treasure the little things.

Lifestyle

I want to help others dealing with home renovations and home improvement projects this October feel a little less stressed, because I know how exhausting it can be! Fall is a beautiful time and many embark on new adventures during the fall/winter months, including designing new, functional spaces. Renovating is exciting and fun, but it’s also a lot of money, time, and energy spent. Once you think everything is perfect, there is always something else! Take it one step (and project) at a time. If you cannot afford to get everything done, don’t stress…you’ll accomplish everything in time. Watch HGTV for inspiration and you’ll notice that some couples take months, even years to finish projects (you’re never alone), and NO home is perfect. Home renovations tend to cause unwanted fights and issues with loved ones, which may sound dramatic, but when our space is invaded, we feel trapped. We wake up feeling suffocated by ideas and tasks. Andrew is currently dealing with our home renovation projects, such as designing the nursery (exciting), putting in new hardwood flooring (I’m in love), and painting. There’s no clean or easy way to get through renovations, because no matter how hard you try, things will be moved, furniture will be coated with dust, and you will always lose your mind! I do have some advice though, which is vacuum, dust, and organize as much as you can, each day while you renovate. Cleaning lightly will make you feel better about the disarray of things! Clean out old drawers and pantries and get rid of unwanted items and furniture, BEFORE the renovation is done. It’s the perfect time (and reason) to donate and get rid of what you don’t need to make room for a fresh, new look.

Lastly, I’d like to promote one of my favorite, cruelty-free makeup brands for Fall 2018 and beyond…NYX Cosmetics. NYX has been a committed member of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program since 2010. In 2014, though NYX was acquired by L’Oréal, a company who chooses to sell to China, where testing on animals is required. But, despite being acquired by L’Oréal, NYX Cosmetics has maintained their commitment to a strict no animal testing policy and is a crueltyfree brand! I buy as many cruelty-free products as possible, and I truly hope that all companies who continue to test on animals put a permanent stop to the unnecessary harm, because it would make shopping much easier and would save so many, innocent lives. NYX has beautiful displays at Target, and they’re fully stocked for Fall 2018 with new shades, along with ELF Cosmetics (also a cruelty-free brand). If you’re interested in investing in other cruelty-free, and Beauty Without Bunnies brands, please check out:

http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com

ethicalelephant.com

There will be another posting of L&L by Lizzie on Friday…enjoy the rest of your week and hopefully cooler, fall temperatures are heading our way. Xo

Follow my blog, www.takeabiteoutofme.com to stay updated on the latest and feel free to follow me on Instagram: lizziemognoni

Even when we’re ghosts

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Although, my boyfriend was recently upgraded to my fiance, I still want to wish my man a Happy National Boyfriend (fiance) Day! There’s a day dedicated to everything, even tacos, so I am sure as hell going to celebrate a day dedicated to the man who gives me the world. This is an updated thank you letter, to my partner through thick and thin. I wrote a lengthy thank you letter, on my blog to him months back, but our lives have changed greatly since then. I’m always thankful for us.

Dear Andrew,

I cannot believe how much we have to be thankful for and the fact that you’re no longer my boyfriend, but my fiance. You’re more than a label, baby. You’re my life and we’re more than just a chapter…we’re an entire book. I remember the feeling you gave me the moment you first kissed me (you pulled me onto your lap in your old truck) and that feeling hasn’t left. You’ll text me something sweet or call me just to say “I love you” and I smile so brightly, just like I did when we first met. Life’s an ocean with moments of still water and moments filled with intense currents, but I’m sure there’s no one else I’d rather ride the waves with, than you. When you asked me to be your girlfriend on November 12, 2017 you changed my entire life. Then, you asked me to spend the rest of my life with you on September 15, 2018 and you confirmed what I already knew a year ago…it was you. I love you always, forever, no matter what.

Thank you for loving me the way every woman wants to be loved and for treating me the way I deserve to be treated.

Thank you for holding me tight and for making me never want to leave our bed in the morning.

Thank you for renovating our home and for making everything perfect for us and baby Greyson, despite long days and intense projects. I really am so appreciative and I know how much work it is.

Thank you for never giving up, no matter how long or trying the day, and for always giving me strength on the days I need it most. #mysuperman

Thank you for being a sarcastic pain in the ass and a thoughtful, romantic gentleman all at  once.

Thank you for coming with me to doctor’s visits, hospital nights, and for being by my side through every step of the pregnancy. We’re almost there…

Thank you for putting up with me on my stressful, dramatic days and for always reminding me, that everything will be okay. You’re my balance on the days I need positive vibes and love.

Thank you for never fighting with me and for always being open to communicating and talking about whatever is on my mind, or yours.

Thank you for making me feel special, loved, and blessed (every single day).

Thank you for being there for my mom, family, and myself through everything we endured over the summer. We’re stronger than anything life throws at us.

Thank you for proving to me with actions, not just words, that you’re the one for me and for continuously sweeping me off my feet. 

Thank you for surprising me with thoughtful words, gifts, and special moments.

& thank you for finding me, my love.

I love you and I could write a novel, thanking you for days, but I know you’d kill me if you had to read that long of a letter. Remember, even when we’re ghosts…#lovestory

Xx