Apple Picking in Fairfield County, Connecticut

It wasn’t long after moving to Connecticut that I began discovering things that are quintessentially New England: calling liquor stores “package stores,” seeing a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, and having a preference for what style of chowdah or lobstah roll you like, to name a few. I soon looked forward to Autumn, for not only leaf peepin’, but also apple picking.

Last Sunday, on the first weekend after the Autumnal Equinox, we headed out to Silverman’s Farm. (Along with what seemed to be everyone else for miles.) No doubt, this is the perfect place to head to on a date or with a family when you get that first hint of fall weather. Continue reading

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7 Things I should have known before I moved across the country

Last week, I celebrated six months of living 1,690 miles from what I’ve known most of my life.

I use the term celebrated loosely. What really happened was that I started crying over something completely minuscule right after my son got on the bus, and minor setbacks throughout the day had me crying all.day.long.. Around 1 p.m. was when I realized it was actually the six month mark, so I can’t say it had anything to do with it. Upsets carried on into the next day, as well as my crying.

knew this was going to be hard.

I knew that growing pains occur with all change–that’s just how it is. But, still, I don’t think I was ready for this. Continue reading

Birdwatching in El Yunque National Forest and Loquillo Beach

Spring has certainly sprung over in our little corner of Coastal Connecticut! For me, that means spring cleaning every nook and cranny, yard work, and enjoying the heck outta the outdoors. But! I can’t let one more day go by without sharing the final full day we spent in Puerto Rico–it’s been a week and a half since we were there.

The visitor center at El Yunque National Forest was great- all outdoors, but well covered. There were many exhibits on the wildlife, Rainforest preservation, and we caught an English version of the documentary that shared all of this information in a way that our seven year old could bear.

El Yunque is the only forest in the United States National Park system that is a tropical Rainforest. With my obsession with National Parks (Remember, I eloped in one?), it’s suitable that we showed up to el unique El Yunque during the National Park Service Centennial.

Visitors Center for El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico Continue reading

D.I.-whY?

“Why do you do it yourself? Why not buy it instead?”

“Yeah. What’s your why?”

During Monarch Workshop, I was asked this, and I started overflowing with answers to the question. I thought I’d share some of my reasoning.

I’ve been a maker for as long as I remember.

When I was a child going through chemotherapy, I spent much of my time in the local children’s hospital, where they had a well-stocked toyland of a playroom on every single floor. Every time I was recovering from my latest treatment, all I wanted to do there was use their canvas and paints, and I could care less about any of the other toys.

The women before me were makers.

My Granny owned a business selling her pies. My Meemaw taught me how to embroider when I was five. One year, when our mother asked what we wanted to be for Halloween, my sister aInswered, “a princess on a pony,” and I, “a flower in a pot,” and that’s precisely what we were.

I have expensive taste.

Good design isn’t cheap. By the time lower-end manufacturers catch on to trends, their attempts at creating something “just as good” often falls short of the mark. (Not to mention that you have to consider HOW things are made cheap to begin with.) With a few tweaks and a fraction of the cost, I can get the look for less without breaking the bank. And who doesn’t love that?

I want to reduce my environmental footprint.

I’ve got serious guilt issues when it comes to throwing things away. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot, so I always wanted to keep what I did. It’s like the old ladies that survived the depression and hide money everywhere, I guess. When I was older and learned about how our consumerist culture is affecting the planet, it gave me fuel to my thrift-and-adjust or change-don’t-toss ways of life.

It is all mine.

Don’t you love the feeling when someone compliments something you’re wearing or something in your home? When you’ve got an awesome story about a great deal you got on it, it’s even better. But putting your BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS (or, more often than not, just a little bit of effort) into something and getting kudos without the other person knowing? Knowing that they can’t go out and buy it? Golden.

It’s the climb.

Cue Miley Cyrus when she was still a doe-eyed teenager. Yeah, it takes more time than heading to Target and making it happen. I find making things fun, though. Like prefer-it-over-a-Saturday-night-rager fun. Not that I’m invited to those anyway, I’m a cool mom, but not that kind of cool mom.

Pride.

I could finish projects a lot more quickly than I do. And it’s not because of piled up housework, responsibilities as a wife and mom. It’s not because of procrastination, or because I’m second guessing my creative choices. Though the latter plays a role in the time frame I start a project, what slows me down during the process is the roughly one hundred or so times I step back, admire what I’m doing, and get overwhelmingly excited about what I’ll be looking at upon completion. It’s the pause, the thought, “This is going to be so awesome,” the bask, then resuming.

 

I’ve heard of people saying before that their hobbies are like breath, they can’t live without it. It’s not that way for me–I can live without being a maker. I just wouldn’t chose to.

Why do you DIY? Leave your answer below in the comments.

Why do people Do it themselves when they can buy it in a store

 

The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Meeting Friends in a New Town

Disclaimer: this isn’t a cohesive guide. I’m still navigating how to figure out this one, and I’m definitely not ready to write the book. Just the blog post. 😉

Back in Houston, my friend Kellie (who has a blog about running and yoga and is a Houston transplant) once mentioned that meeting friends in a new city is a lot like dating. Now that I’m going about the effort myself, I couldn’t agree more: I put on makeup and dress smart-casual, worry over what we’ll talk about beforehand, obsess over “should I have said that?” afterward, along with “does she like me?” and “when should I call her to hang out again?”It’s an overly self-conscious matter, and for someone like me, who was very traditional in dating, it’s much more of a challenge than dating ever was. The fact that I don’t work outside of the home is just another obstacle in meeting people.

The house has been coming along, the weather has been warming up, and I’m finally putting myself out there more than ever. I’ve gone on a few “first dates,” so I thought I’d share a few ways I’ve met people in my new town. Continue reading

This February, I’m getting out of my funk

Man, what I year this last one was.

I know, I know. This started out sounding like the post that everyone makes during the first week of January. I’m okay with that.

Last March, after going through the first months of 2015 with fervor, focus, and a plan for the goals I wanted to achieve, I was caught off guard by a sudden life change: we were moving cross country. If you’ve read my blog the few times I’ve posted in the last year, you know this well. Maybe a little too well.

I touched on the subject a bit, but I hardly elaborated on the despair that I went through in the months preceding the move. Continue reading