The Greyson Diaries

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lifestyle

Easter Planning With a Toddler 💜🌷🐥

Despite the dark cloud looming over all of us, I’ve finished putting together Greyson’s Easter basket and his Easter outfit arrived the other day. It’s adorable and I can’t wait to take photos with my family. Along with Easter basket planning, I bought enough plastic, pastel eggs to do an Easter egg hunt that morning. I will always think of Easter as a fresh, beautiful start to Spring. I vividly remember waking up to warmer weather Easter Day and putting on a pretty, pastel-colored dress, eagerly awaiting Spring adventures. This time of the year reminds me of forsythia bushes, tulips, and the start of something new. As a little girl, we spent the holiday at my grandma’s house in North Jersey. My grandma made the absolute best deviled eggs and colorful treats. She always had her bunny decorations and springtime decor set up. Rest easy Connie; I miss you and I wish you could’ve met Andrew and Greyson because I know you’d love them!

If you don’t have fond, holiday memories it’s never too late to create your own with your children. Every day can be special and filled with beauty.

What’s Inside Greyson’s Easter Basket?

I bought a pretty, decorative, storage basket to use as Greyson’s Easter basket this year from Marshall’s so that I can repurpose it after the holiday is over. I love using storage baskets around my home. Mamas, try finding Easter baskets for your kids that you can repurpose this year and make the most out of what you buy. If you haven’t done your Easter basket shopping just yet, be sure to do your shopping online (Amazon, Target, Pottery Barn Kids, Barnes and Noble, Michael’s, etc.).

Greyson’s Easter basket is colorful and filled with presents from the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny brought him several Spring-themed outfits, a book called How to Catch the Easter Bunny 🐰, a couple of containers of toddler puffs, a stuffed animal porcupine (he loved from Target), toddler approved candy/chocolate, and a card signed by the Easter Bunny. Greyson has so many wonderful toys (he’s a very lucky boy) and I didn’t want to make Easter all about new toys and presents, which is why I created a simpler Easter basket. If your child is on the younger side, like Greyson, Easter should be more about the experience than the basket. The basket filled with things is only entertaining for a few minutes when you’re a toddler. They’re always ready for what’s next!

I’m setting up an Easter egg hunt outside (as long as the weather is nice) in our huge, wooded field, which is right next to our farm. Greyson and I actually walk to the farm and the field from our house several times a week. The field is one of Greyson’s favorite places to roam and play. There are trails that lead through the trees and it’s a special, quiet place to enjoy and explore. He could spend hours out there!

If it winds up raining on Easter, I’ll set up an Easter egg hunt inside, but my fingers are crossed for beautiful weather.

What are we Cooking?

I’m making Easter lunch for my little family and I know it’ll be a good day with lots of laughs, love, and fun. What’s on the menu?

  • Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet treats

Spring is a time of renewal, transformation, and hope. The flowers and trees say hello once again, brightening our days with color and beauty. Birds chirp louder and baby animals open their eyes for the first time, looking around at a new, unknown world. As we emerge from a very strange and stressful winter, it’s a good time to focus on new projects, create memories with our family, and wave goodbye to the past.

Happy Spring 💗

Writing Topics

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Fiction

Hi loves. I know that many teachers and parents are struggling with the thought of school being home-based and anxiety from not knowing when kids will return to school. There’s an underlying fear that we will never return to a normal lifestyle and for parents and teachers that fear has become quite overwhelming. Writing has saved my life more times than I can count and has been a therapeutic outlet during times of stress, fear, and sadness. I also recommend reading every day and diving into a good story, which will take your mind elsewhere. You can swim with dolphins, fly with the birds, and be transported to a different era, simply by reading.

Please share my creative writing prompts with anyone who needs a little imaginative boost at this time, especially students who are at home and trying to remain engaged.

Creative Writing Prompts to Keep you Sane

  • Describe the weather outside your window in a beautiful way.
  • Write about an adventure you could embark on that would take you far away from the stress of today.
  • Be a dream catcher and write about a dream and how it relates to waking hours, or reveals the future.
  • Relive a favorite childhood memory on paper.
  • Write a short love story that would inspire anyone to open their hearts and let down their walls.
  • Create a story about friendship, the good and the bad.
  • What are the things you cannot live without? Write about what you love most.
  • Do a gratitude post and take a moment to soak up what you’re truly grateful for.
  • Compose a story about ”What could’ve been” and rewrite a piece of your past.
  • Focus on numbers that are special to you for any reason and put together a story, or poem about those numbers.
  • Create a story based off of your zodiac sign.
  • What scares you? Write about it.
  • Embrace good vibes. What makes you happy? What brings peace to your life? Create peace through your writing.
  • Choose a photograph (a person, place, or thing) and describe the photo.
  • If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
  • Make a list…about anything!
  • Describe your dream home and location.
  • Become an investigator and solve a mystery.

Allow words to heal your wounds and inspire your mind. Writing and reading keeps you sharp, wise, and calm. Take this time at home to grow, learn, and create. Even little moments can be filled with immense growth. I wish everyone the best this week ❤️

Coming Home

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Home Design

Cozy Buys While You’re Stuck at Home 🤍

If you’re like me and find comfort in strolling through a favorite store, it’s nice to be able to find some great finds online during this time and have them shipped to you. I bought a couple of things this week from Amazon and Target, just because. But, it’s also important to save your money and be smart the next couple of months. Please, remember that. There are so many suffering from a lack of stable income and at the end of the day less is more.

If you’re unable to make purchases as you were prior to the pandemic, that’s okay. Take extra good care of what you do have by cleaning every day and staying organized ♥️

What are my favorite, cozy purchases for sheltering at home?

  • Fluffy, cozy slippers for lounging around the house
  • Loungewear (sweaters, oversized cardigans, tank tops, lounge pants, and jumpsuits)
  • Makeup (take care of yourself even if you’re home)
  • Candles
  • Aromatherapy mists for yourself and your home
  • New towels (treat your bathroom and yourself to a new, warm towel)
  • Battery-operated LED candles
  • A new doormat
  • Succulents
  • Decor floor baskets for pillows, decoration, or blankets
  • Throw blankets and throw pillows
  • Books

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Coming Home

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lifestyle

Inspiration Can Always Be Found

I realize now, that every time I styled a room or took on a home project I was writing a little piece of my story. Any failures I’ve encountered and victories I’ve celebrated have become another chapter. It’s never easy taking on a home project or designing a space, but it should always be therapeutic. I was eternally destined to be writing down my thoughts, process, and advice regarding home design and styling to help inspire others to create the home they’ve always wanted. I’ve said this before, but it’s important enough that I feel the need to repeat it…your goal is never to achieve perfection. Actually, imperfections make a home a home. Homes are supposed to be beautiful but also lived in. That tiny scratch on the floor or the pulled thread on your favorite rug are a part of your story. Yes, things can be replaced and fixed, but sometimes it’s nice to admire those scratches and not so perfect details and let them be.

When someone walks into your space it should perpetually look clean, organized, and attractive, but it’s completely up to you how you achieve those points. If you enjoy a little clutter here and there (organized chaos), that’s okay. If you want every item to remain in the same spot and for there to be little to no extras in your space, that’s also okay. I want to inspire everyone sitting at home right now to make the most out of your home. Do you have any connection to the outdoors? Do you have a cozy corner you can collapse into and read? Do you have a bedroom that resembles a sanctuary to promote a healthy sleep? Ask yourself these questions and find some time this week to create beauty out of spaces.

I’m sitting outside right now as I write this blog entry, on my deck. It’s cloudy and a little windy, which is my favorite kind of weather (inspiration) and I’m making a mental list of new plants to buy for my deck at a local nursery. I want a few, flowery, colorful additions this year. I’m constantly buying plants and using them as decorating and focal points. I find plants to be the absolute best way to decorate your outdoor space and to give back to the environment. They’re special to me and I take pride in taking care of them and I feel awful when a plant doesn’t make it for whatever reason (it happens). You don’t need an expensive deck or patio. You just need a clean, pretty space, filled with nature (plants, a bird feeder, hummingbird feeder, etc.). Lanterns and solar lights are another simple way to add a little something to your environment. My entryway and kitchen are filled with small, colorful plants, and my outdoor space is the same. As we enter into warmer months it’s the perfect time to spice up your home with plants. In the winter, I suggest potted pine trees outside (any winter-hardy plant) and to focus on your indoor plants. You don’t need a huge space or a ton of money…use your imagination.

If you don’t have an outdoor space or a deck, welcome plants into your home. Faux plants are also fun decor pieces and remind you of the outdoors, if you’d rather not take care of a live one. Succulents are the easiest and simplest plant to buy for a small space. They require little care and are amazing for your health. You can buy really pretty pots for them and some often come with cute pots already! Cactuses are another easy plant to care for and they go with any boho space. This is the time to support your local farmers and nurseries because their busy season will be immensely affected by the pandemic.

Return to the questions I wanted you to ask yourself…do you have a cozy corner? Cozy corners are great for kids and adults. Fill a corner with floor pillows, throw pillows, and a throw blanket and make it your zen space. I don’t have a corner, so to speak, but I do have a very cozy bedroom/bed, Greyson’s peaceful nursery, and a cozy area in our living room for whenever I want to read and write in those spaces. The space in my living room I created with a farmhouse floor lamp, a side table with a candle and books, and an accent chair. I always have throw blankets in storage baskets and draped over chairs to enhance the cozy vibes. I love candles, lanterns, and books to cozy up a space. You can place an accent chair (like I did), a ladder rack with blankets, and a floor lantern in a corner and call it your cozy corner. It’s whatever you find relaxing and peaceful. If you have a desk you can also make that space not only functional for work, writing, or doing your makeup, but for relaxing. I will talk about creating a zen workspace in another blog entry (stay tuned)…

Do you sleep well at night? If so, you’ve probably created a space that promotes a healthy rest. If you don’t sleep well at night, it takes you forever to fall asleep, or you feel distracted in your bedroom, it’s time to redo your budouir. I don’t mean you have to rip out the floor and repaint everything, but there are simpler ways to create the vibe you want in your exisiting room. I always buy light colored bedding and decor pieces because light colors are relaxing, pure, and symbolize goodness. White often means a successful beginning, such as a successful start to your day. The space you wake up in should always represent positivity and light. The light colored decor, bedding, and accents compliment my dark walls. I also have darker, farmhouse pieces in my bedroom. Darker colors such as burgundy, navy blue, and grey establish coziness and make you feel safe. A bedroom can be large or small, but the room should always feel cozy. I always make sure there is no mess or clutter in my bedroom because mess can make a person feel stressed or anxious before bed. Also, there shouldn’t be a mirror staring at you before you go to bed because mirrors are a distraction. If you have a mirror placed elsewhere (away from the bed) that’s fine! Candles and picture frames are a great way to add character to your bedroom. Personal items belong in your bedroom and they often make it a sanctuary (photos, wedding items, handpicked pieces, antiques). If you have a mirror placed elsewhere (away from the bed) that’s fine! Be sure to wash your sheets often and take good care of where you rest your head. Fill your room with books, if you have the space and make it another place to escape to and read.

During this trying time many of us haven’t left our homes except for the occasional grocery shopping trip, which means our home is more than just a place to rest our heads now…it’s a true refuge and a shelter, all day, every day. I want everyone to feel happy and cozy in their space, especially during this crisis. I am someone who always looks on the bright side, despite the dark clouds overhead and I view this time as a time to be more creative than ever before. I’ve taken on new home projects, online shopped for a few, fun additions to our home, and I’ve cleaned every day (the usual for me). I am making the most out of our current situation and I feel so connected to my home. It’s been my sanctuary for a long time, but quarantining has brought me closer to our farmhouse. I appreciate our space even more than I did before and that’s a wonderful thing. I’m so grateful for the roof over my head and the things that I love. I’m thankful for every laugh shared in each room and happy that I get the chance to clean and create. It’s a time to feel blessed for what we do have and I have a lot to smile about.

Stay tuned for a few, easy DIY projects posted by me to keep you busy while you’re home and stay positive, loves. In times of struggle and fear we often discover who we really are and emerge stronger, braver, and healthier.

Best,

Lizzie

XoXo

The Greyson Diaries

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motherhood

To Stockpile or Not to Stockpile

As a mama and a wife I wanted to make sure we had enough of everything for the next month, but I didn’t hoard toilet paper (in case anyone was wondering). I was not one of those people! I always have enough rolls in our pantry closet along with paper towels. I went shopping Friday morning, when everything broke and people began to panic buy. I also went shopping yesterday, once again to grab some more food and essentials just to be safe. I bought my normal Love Beauty and Planet shampoo and conditioner from Target, along with a few of my other routine purchases over the weekend. Andrew and I bought Greyson a new hoodie from Target and a couple of toys, shopping like we usually do. We were calm in the middle of mayhem.

Acme was fairly well stocked on every item, except for toilet paper yesterday. It depends on where you shop, but as someone who worked in fashion retail and marketing from age sixteen until twenty-four (last year), I know that shipments and restocking will occur shortly if they haven’t already occurred. Remember, anyone who is currently working in any retail environment is dealing with high levels of stress and chaos. Please, be kind to others during this time and don’t take your fear and frustration out on others.

Here’s my list of items I’ve decided to stock up on during the pandemic…

  • Toddler meals by Gerber and Happy Tot (these are great to have in your home, along with other meal options for a toddler and Greyson loves them)
  • Toddler puffs
  • Tampons
  • Dish liquid
  • Dove bar soap
  • Batteries
  • Canned goods (fruit, veggies, soup, beans)
  • Rice
  • Pasta (including alphabet pasta for Greyson)
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Infant Tylenol
  • Razors
  • Advil
  • Make up wipes
  • Water
  • Wine

Baby and toddler products and essentials continue to be well stocked in most stores, along with many food products, which is comforting. I cannot understand why so many felt the need to hoard all of the toilet paper, leaving the calm customers with no options, but there will be more for anyone becoming increasingly worried. If you cannot find meat or bread, get creative! Eat more salads and buy some fresh produce. I love a good salad. Wraps are wonderful, too if you can’t purchase bread. It’s a time that requires a deep breath and patience. This weekend should be easier for grocery shopping and the panic should fade away, with time. I want to thank Shoprite, Acme, Target, Wares Feed Supply, my local liquor store, and Amazon for keeping me well stocked during this crisis and for being kind despite the negativity surrounding us.

There are great delivery services for wine, pet food and supplies, and more! Amazon is still busy delivering packages door to door, so take a moment to thank anyone who works in customer service!

I wish everyone the absolute best 🤍

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The Greyson Diaries

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motherhood

Every Day is an Adventure

In the midst of all of the craziness surrounding the Coronavirus and the added stress the media has put on households, it’s the perfect time to create beautiful memories and unlimited adventures at home and outdoors. Nature is pure and filled with opportunities and it’s much better to be outside than in an environment crammed with people and germs. My son is too young to know what’s going on in the world around him and I find comfort in knowing he’s happy, calm, and healthy. He finds such joy in little moments and I wish everyone could be as happy as my fifteen-month-old in a time filled with such negativity and panic, but we can learn from children. It’s the perfect time to relax with your family, enjoy a good book, and organize your house. Fall in love with new ideas and projects and dedicate this time to a zen, positive way of thinking. My new blog series Coming Home is here to inspire you during this unfortunate time.

Every day is an adventure and filled with opportunities to learn, create, and laugh. If you’re on a mission to get in shape and remain as healthy as possible during this duration, do yoga, go for long walks or a run, and meditate. Find a few minutes here and there, quiet your mind, and center yourself. In a time like this, mental health is just as important as physical health. Writing and reading are also great ways to quiet the noise around you and to calm your nerves. The past week has been difficult and people are overwhelmed with emotions, stockpiling food, toiletries, and random items. Retailers are experiencing numerous concerns as people begin to panic buy and crowd the aisles. Events are cancelled and schools are closing. New York City entered into a state of emergency, and yet some don’t feel the need to change their routine at all. It’s a scary, uncertain time in a world accustomed to immediate gratification and unlimited options. As a mom and wife my top priority is keeping my family happy and healthy. I’ve always suffered from high functioning anxiety and moments like these test me. I remind myself that I’m in control of my own emotions and there are so many ways to avoid being sucked into the negative, downward spiral.

When the world turns to the chaos you need to be strong enough and content enough to make an adventure out of an ordinary day at home. I’ve been a proud and happy stay at home mom for awhile now, but my pet sitting and dog walking business has been put on pause, eliminating my need to leave the house if I don’t want to. My clients are working from home for the time being, cancelling trips and travel, and are feeling the weight of the current situation. As of Friday, everything changed. Plans changed overnight and despite the panic I’ve remained as calm as possible. I feel as though New Jersey will enter into a state of emergency shortly, closing nonessential stores and businesses. My husband is still working and his company is doing what they need to do in order to keep employees and customers safe and healthy. Who knows when and how things will change over the next week. The only thing we can do is stand tall and strong, pushing forward despite doubt and fear.

If you’re a mama to a toddler or a baby, reading stories aloud is a great escape, hearing beautiful words come to life. It’s therapeutic and a learning tool for young kids. Greyson is fifteen months old and is incredibly smart, funny, and independent, but he’s still too young to enjoy certain games and experiences. I love letting him explore and play in his nursery while I watch him, and sometimes I’ll even read while sitting there with him, which gifts me with a moment of relaxation. Andrew bought Greyson a ball pit a few weeks ago and it’s stimulating and fun for our boy. Order some new toys and books online, and have them shipped to you if you don’t feel comfortable shopping at the moment. Kids love discovering something new and engaging. If your children are older and at home with you, get them involved in cleaning and organizing. Cleaning has always been therapeutic for me and I know that although it can be a pain, it’s also a good way to keep busy. Make it fun and enjoyable for your children and they’ll be happy to help.

Do yourself and your family a favor during this trying period and stay off of social media as much as possible. Social media can instantly put you in a bad mood and cause you to worry. The media has created a monster and it’s only going to get worse over the next few weeks. It’s crazy, how one post on Facebook can lead to thousands of people running to the grocery store, leaving the shelves sad and empty. Escape from the madness by walking beneath the trees, listening to the sounds of nature, and tending to your yard. Fill your bird feeder, clean out your garage or shed, and plant a tree. If you need to drive in order to be close to nature drive to a trail, the beach, or a pretty field. I walk Greyson every day, as long as it isn’t raining and we’re fortunate enough to have a farm and a field that he can enjoy. Every weekend Andrew and I work on projects at the farm and it reminds us of what’s truly important. I want Greyson to soak up nature and the beauty around him as much as possible and we compose our own adventures.

Mamas, I know this isn’t what we wanted as the warm weather arrives and I know we didn’t think the world would be dealing with a pandemic as spring approaches, but we’ve got this. We won’t allow the world to stop us from taking care of our little ones or having fun at home with them. It doesn’t take much for a good day, just a good attitude. This too shall pass.

I’m sending healthy and happy vibes to everyone and wishing for better days ahead.

🤍

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Coming Home

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Home Design

Planning

There are three key points I always approach first when establishing a desired space, Organization, Neutrals & Natural Elements, and Personal Details.

Organization is Everything

Before you take on a home project, it’s important to make sure your space is organized and clutter-free. You can coat your walls with a fresh coat of paint, but if your space is a mess you won’t even notice the new paint color. Every item in my home was handpicked for a reason and each decor piece represents me and my family. I look around our home and I smile, feeling content and inspired. Some pieces hold so many memories and when I look at them I see a part of myself. I feel proud knowing we’ve brought our space to life. It may feel overwhelming at first, reorganizing, but once you cleanse one room it will become an obsession. You’ll feel motivated to clean another room, and then another. You will find yourself thinking before you purchase an item because not every find fits your lifestyle. Any time I’m shopping I ask myself, ”Does this purchase support the lifestyle I’ve worked so hard to create?” Spend some time today making a bag (or two) of donations and let go of whatever it is that you no longer need or want around you. Search for unique, functional storage solutions and have fun with organizing and finding balance. The storage you choose doesn’t need to be plastic containers. For example, my home is a farmhouse and a lot of my storage consists of wicker baskets, galvanized tubs, and wooden crates. I believe that storage should be functional and purposeful, meaning that your storage solutions were chosen for a reason and they reflect who you are.

Fall for Neutrals and Natural Elements

Color is a beautiful thing but I believe neutrals are essential to any space. The power of neutrals is their ability to create a fresh, clean canvas. Neutrals allow furniture and details to shine and don’t take away from the personality and story of your home. You can use neutrals on your walls in the form of paint, as your flooring, furniture, or accents. I feel that neutrals and natural elements connect you to the earth and keep you centered. Natural elements are my favorite part of home design and decorating. Having a space filled with elements that enhance your mood make a home more inviting and lively. Wood, cotton, stone, branches, and anything that can be found in nature are natural elements. With natural design aspects, you’re able to create the true mood that you desire, such as a tranquil cabin, or a rustic escape. Play with decor pieces that you enjoy when you’re outdoors like the feeling of water, towering trees, and pretty rocks when designing a room. If you love water you can incorporate a tabletop fountain, wall art of the ocean, or beach accents. You can even make your room resemble the movement of waves by selecting interesting furniture and the perfect wall color. For a lover of trees and forests, wood, rustic tables, and branches can be incorporated. If you’re spiritual, add some rocks and crystals to your sanctuary. There’s a lot of wood, earth tones, plants, faux greenery, cotton, and some metal in my space connecting me to the outdoors and the farm lifestyle.

It’s in the Details

Once you’ve finished creating a beautiful, strong, functional space it’s time for the best part…its time to add the finishing touches that make a home a home. Framed photographs, vases, throw pillows, books, and statues are all considered decor pieces and there’s something for every personality and theme. As you walk the aisles of Marshall’s, Target, or even an antique store, what speaks to you? What makes you smile? What would bring a little piece of you to the room you’re decorating. Don’t buy something just to buy it. Buy what resonates with your soul and heart.

I love candles, farmhouse accents, photographs, and plants (faux and real). I have farmhouse vases with cotton, forsythia branches, and real plants throughout my home. When I was a little girl I fell in love with the color and look of blooming forsythia branches. The bright, lively yellow reminds me of springtime, the countryside, and my childhood.

I love making tea in the morning and looking at my real plants, taking care of them, and feeling as though I’m creating a healthy environment. In the spring, summer, and fall my deck/patio and yard are blooming with flowers and plants. I have two bird feeders and a hummingbird feeder that become a hub of activity in the summer. There’s something calming about watching hummingbirds dance around the feeder. The little things make a home special and tie into the story you’re telling.

Finding what you love and filling your space with special details shouldn’t be stressful or a challenge. If you’re feeling stressed, then you’re putting too much pressure on yourself and have taken a step off of the right, unwinding path that leads to a finished space. Sit down for a moment and write down a few of your favorite things and what makes you happiest. Incorporate some of your favorite things and your strongest feelings into your home. Your space is you and you’re in control of the vibes you create. In a world filled with chaos and doubt, you want your space to be an escape. Dream on it and see what comes to you.

If you’re sitting on the couch, or you’re cuddled up in your favorite chair, looking around at a space that you’re proud of, and you can see yourself in your furniture, decor, the floorboards, and the walls, then pat yourself on the back. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on creating your sanctuary and for listening to your heart. Grab a drink, kick off your shoes, and take a deep breath. You’re home 🤍

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Coming Home

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Home Design

Creating Beauty Out of Spaces

Welcome to my new blog series, Coming Home

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been creating beauty out of spaces and falling in love with organization and home projects. I remember staying up until three in the morning when I was barely seven years old and reviving my bedroom, designing a space I wanted to dream in. I loved falling asleep to the sounds of HGTV and searching the aisles of Marshall’s for pretty decor finds. My friends and family have always been amazed at my level of committment to cleaning and organzing. I’m often called a perfectionist, but that’s not the truth. I don’t believe perfection ever exists and true beauty comes from imperfections, but I do have high standards for where I live and spend my days, because that’s my sanctuary.

I’ve created countless spaces that inspire me from my small, childhood bedroom to our beautiful apartment and I’ve experienced big wins and small failures. Not every plan unfolds perfectly and sometimes what you write down on a piece of paper, or envision in your head doesn’t work in real life, or your space. Some people don’t have room for a formal dining room or a mud room and that’s okay. Your space is there for you and you should always appreciate your home. It’s where you shelter yourself from the cold and the rain. It’s where you laugh the most and speak honest, true words. It’s often where you fall in love and become the person you’re meant to be. Homes aren’t supposed to be perfect…they’re supposed to be lived in, comfortable, and a representation of who you are. Wherever you feel most relaxed and yourself is where you draw inspiration for your home.

I want every person who reads this blog series to feel happy and excited about coming home, regardless of where they’re living. Any space can feel cozy and beautiful. I’ve learned that it truly doesn’t matter the size of your home, whether you’re renting an apartment, or you’re buying your third house. It doesn’t matter if you’re living in suburbia, in an oceanfront escape, or in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rollings hills. What matters is how you feel when you’re walking barefoot through the kitchen and cuddling up on the couch with a glass of wine. It’s the way you feel when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or watching the birds at their bird feeder outside your window. It’s the little things and the personal feelings that make a home a home.

I found my true lifestyle and our home’s story when I fell in love with my husband and became a mama. Before I met Andrew I was in the process of recreating my space and expanding. I was newly single and was recovering from a very destructive, emotionally abusive relationship and unfortunately my home experienced a lot of tears and fights. My ex-boyfriend even punched a hole through my wall, leaving a fist shaped hole above my antique desk. The place I worked so hard to design went from a creative haven to a place I no longer felt safe and peaceful. My space needed some work but my personal touch was everywhere. My space was very bohemian and beachy, just like my fashion style, but over time my home’s story evolved and I changed along with it. Andrew, my husband helped me create a gorgeous, airy, and relaxing apartment and I couldn’t have done it without him. I look around and I see us in every piece of furniture and every little detail. A lot of hardwork and love went into our home and I’ll never forget the memories we’ve shared here, regardless of where we are in the future. You will find your home’s theme throughout your journey and I hope your ideas represent you at the end of the day. But, your theme doesn’t have to be straightforward or a single word description. You don’t even need to have a theme, but I find it helps to define your style and priorities. It’s easier to shop for your home if you know what story you’re trying to tell.

Our home is a farmhouse and no matter where we live in the future that will always be the central theme we choose, because at the end of the day that’s who we are. We’re connected to animals, nature, and a simpler time. We’ve combined modern touches with farmhouse pieces and sometimes I really love an industrial element. You can incorporate anything and everything that makes you happy into your space. We use a lot of neutrals and natural elements, such as wood. We also love galvanized metal, simple accents, and rustic details that tie into our story. Pops of color make life fun and I think they’re crucial in any space. Color also adds balance and symbiosis. Go on a walk somewhere wonderful or embark on an adventure and write down five things that inspire you, whether that be a glamorous city skyline or a tranquil river. Before you redesign your space or transform a blank canvas, it’s important to take a look at what inspires you to be your most amazing self. Would you feel more at peace and creative in a bohemian, colorful cottage, or a contemporary apartment? Maybe you’re like me and feel most at home in a farmhouse…

I find my highest level of insight when I’m surrounded by nature. I love farmland, beaches, and mountains, but farm style and country living have always spoken to me in a language I understand. There’s something poetic about rustic accents mixed with clean linens and antique furniture. I find true peace in caring for animals and enjoying a quiet, country evening. Remember, there are no rules to designing a space you love and anywhere can be a dream. If anything, I hope my new blog series gets you motivated to organize your closet and makes you want to buy a new rug, or a gorgeous vase.

After years of creating beauty out of spaces I’m finally coming home and I’ve never felt better about the story I’m telling.

Xo

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.