oversharing (and irony)

We live in a world of over-sharing. I realize that this is coming from a girl who has a personal blog and therefore may not be qualified to talk on this, but hear me out. Because I am also writing this article to myself.

Your hamburger makes it’s way onto Facebook before it makes it’s way into your mouth. You’ve posted more baby pictures of your child than you’ve actually seen of yourself (guilty). And everyone knows what kind of night you had last night. Shouldn’t have that last martini. Hashtag SoMuchFunTho.

Why do we do this? This question has been addressed by many, and it’s a complicated answer, but I think it has a lot to do with validation. If your life looks good from the outside (or the internet), and people see it, then your life must be pretty good, right? What is it about “likes” that makes us tick? Why do we need people to see what we’re doing in order to have a good time doing it? Could we try enjoying our life just for what it is…our maybe-not-so-glamourous, but beautiful, imperfect life that is ours to live?

Too often I see people hanging out together, at a restaurant or bar, or anywhere really, and rather than talking to each other, they’re looking at screens. I always thought it an ironic possibility that if they weren’t physically with the person they were with, maybe they would actually be communicating with that person on a screen from a distance. But since they are physically together, they are texting someone else, or telling the world that they are hanging out with so-and-so.

I try not to, but I’ve definitely been guilty of looking at my phone instead of the person I’m with, and I often feel a pang of guilt, but not more so than I do when I’m with my daughter. Sometimes I think she wonders why her mother is looking at this little screen, and I feel the worst when I can tell she just wants me to pay attention to her. I worry that I’ll look back and feel I missed some of her precious baby moments in favor of an online life that doesn’t really matter in the long run.

Why is it so hard to be exactly and fully where we are at that moment?  Be with your friends, and enjoy them for who they are. Look at that beautiful sky, and appreciate it because God made it for you to appreciate. In trying to document our life, we end up missing out on some of it. We miss the nuances – the sway of the trees, the old couple walking hand-in-hand, our baby girl discovering how squishy cheese can be. And yet sometimes we miss the big things too. And sometimes, worst case scenario, accidents happen because phones were watched instead of surroundings.

That article you’re reading can wait (unless it’s this one, of course). That funny video will be there later. Your followers likely won’t be on the edge of their seats wondering what you’re up to. (Unless you have super devoted followers, which I don’t, so maybe I’d think differently if I did. Who knows?)

So why, when something good or something bad happens to us, do we feel the need to tell the world about it? The other thing, I think, is that we just want to be known. We want to feel like we matter in the big picture, and this is more easily attainable than it’s ever been, thanks to social media and blogs. Everyone wants their corner of the internet (forgive me for using that phrase), and online fame is seemingly only a few hundred followers away. We sometimes put forth better, or even different version of ourselves because we think it will help us gain that following.

Thing is, you do matter. Your life matters and counts for a lot, followers or no followers. You’re worth much more than “likes” on the internet. You don’t need to try to be something you’re not. You were made to be a specific, special human that no one else can be. To quote the inimitable Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, “Find out who you are and try not to be afraid of it.” Social media can be great for connecting or staying in touch with friends, but too often it hogs our time, or crushes our spirits, or gets in the way of our actual lives and true passions.

So in closing, I leave you with three questions to ask before that next post. (Once again, myself included.)

1. What am I trying to accomplish with this post?

2. Will this make someone feel bad about themselves or left out?

3. Will I regret this post later?

That’s it. Thanks for being you, and for reading this.

redecorating

My house is so beige.

Back when we got married 7 years ago (!), I was really into earth tones. Just hang out in my “pumpkin butter” painted living room or my latte colored bedroom, admiring the goldish curtains and the brown furniture, and you yourself might turn into a clay pot.

Lately I’ve just been really tired of it. Even my carpet is like this off-colored cream. But uglier. So I’m on a mission to de-beige my house.

I’m really into the look of white, bright, minimal decor (like everyone else these days, I guess). Here are some images that have been inspiring me lately. I hope to eventually totally revamp our living space and when that happens, I will share.

 Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

3 favorite recipes

I think I’ve mentioned before, my motivation to cook comes and goes. I’ll go along for a couple of weeks being Betty Crocker and then it will be takeout for a week. Everyone needs a break once in awhile, right? And a Kit Kat.

When I am on a cooking spree though, for some reason I always am wanting to find and make new recipes, when I have like a ton that I’ve made and know are good and that Joseph would really be happy if I’d make again. I should work on that.

Anyway, there are a few that make a regular rotation in our house. Here are three:

1. Spaghetti Bolognese
This is just solid comfort food. It’s pretty easy to make and is wonderful as leftovers. My only changes are to halve the amounts of cinnamon and nutmeg and to use spicy italian sausage where it calls for regular pork sausage.

2. Spicy Black Bean Burgers
Great meatless meal. I usually serve these with avocado, tomato, lettuce and spicy mayo.

3. Salty Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies (picture by Bon Appetit)
This is my current go-to cookie recipe. Excellent cookies. Now, there are tons and tons of recipes out there for ‘perfect’ chocolate chip cookies. I even have at least two other recipes that qualify as ‘really really good if not perfect’ cookies, but these are what I’m making these days in a pinch. And there are a lot of pinches.

the early months / depression

Depression is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean really not funny.

Because when you’re in it, it feels so real. It is real. You feel like life is so hopeless and you lose your motivation to do anything. You lose your enjoyment of the small joys in life (and the big joys too, I guess). You don’t care about what food you eat, or if you see your friends, or what TV show you watch…if you even want to watch TV. You just don’t want to do anything, but you have to, because a tiny human is depending on you.

And by you, I mean me. Let’s just cut to the chase here. We all knew that’s who I was talking about.

I experienced a dose of postpartum depression. It could have been much worse, but it was there. There were moments when I would catch a glimpse of my former self, brief periods of happiness when I was out with friends or, let’s be honest, having a glass or two of wine. But most of the time I just slogged through life, just making it through each day, only to do it all again the next day – and that in itself was daunting.

The thing is, that though depression is real, oftentimes the things you’re depressed about aren’t real. Your life can be beautiful, you can have a beautiful baby girl and a loving husband, supportive friends and family, all your needs met, and you can’t even appreciate it. (Whoops, I’m doing it again. I mean me.) Life can feel hopeless when it’s really not. It’s very crippling.

I remember when Simona was somewhere around 4 or 5 months, and I was still having bouts of crying  and some of those same feelings of hopelessness. I thought, how can this still be postpartum stuff? Doesn’t that go away within the first couple months?

I guess not. I think it can last even longer than I struggled with it, which was about 5 months or so. Maybe even 6. I still have my days, even now at 9 months. But maybe that’s not related…maybe those are my own issues. Who knows? I have problems.

We considered getting help, but I felt embarrassed and like something was wrong with me, and didn’t want to share my feelings with a doctor. I felt like I should surely be able to conquer this…to just snap out of it. But as Joseph kindly phrased, “If your leg was broken, you wouldn’t feel embarrassed about going to the doctor. This is a real thing.”

Depression is real, but it isn’t really you. It may feel like you, it may feel like your new reality, but it isn’t. I remember a particularly bad night, feeling like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and Joseph telling me, “I know you’re in there somewhere.” That was hope in itself to me, because he was recognizing and letting me know that this wasn’t truly who I was.

I’m so thankful for my loving and supportive husband. Without him, I think I would have just been curled up in a corner somewhere, crying, with Simona somewhere nearby, crying too because her mom is a nutcase. Joseph was patient with me, and kind, as he always is. And so was God. And my mom. And now I feel like I’m making an Oscar acceptance speech. I’d also like to thank chocolate.

It’s a little odd writing these things now, especially since I feel pretty much like myself again. But I think it’s important to be honest and to share what I went through, just to prove, as Joseph kept (keeps?) telling me, that it will get better. You may be in a really dark phase, but it will pass. That’s just a fact of life. You’ll probably even get to learn from and it and grow too, or something like that.

3 products

These past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of family reunions and weddings. Well, just one of each, but then all the stuff that goes along with a 3-day family getaway and being in a wedding. All good, all fun, but there’s something nice about getting back into the swing of normalcy. For me, at least.

These are three things I’ve discovered over the past couple of whirl-weeks that I’m really loving:


1. Small Talk 3/4-inch styling wand by Bed Head
I’ve been looking for waves like this for my short(ish) hair, and I’VE FINALLY FOUND THEM. Everything else I try leaves me with one or two weird bumps (in my hair) that go away the next day. Picked this up a couple days before the wedding and used it to do my hair for the big day, and the waves were perfect. Not too tight, not too loose. And they lasted until the next day, and even looked pretty good the third day, and now you know how long I wait until I wash my hair sometimes. The picture above was second-day waves.

2. Halo hydrating perfecting powder by Smashbox
Another pre-wedding purchase, as I’ve been looking to get a good powder for some time now. So…I didn’t plan on spending this much but the lady put some on me at Ulta, and by the time I had gotten home I decided I wanted to buy it. It’s just really good. It doesn’t look cakey or powdery at all and actually manages to even out your skin tone (and add glow too?). It’s kind of all you need on a daily basis, but then slap on some primer and/or foundation underneath it for special times. It’s the stuff.

3. Trader Joe’s Watermelon Cucumber cooler
This is super refreshing and delicious. That’s really all there is to it. I think it’s new, cause I’ve never seen it there before…and that’s saying something. It’s a bit sweet, but I like sweet. And if you like cucumber water, you’ll love this.


Disclaimer
: No one is paying me to say these things…but they should be.

things no one told me about being a mom – episode 1

You learn so much as a new mother. You learn about yourself, your baby, your husband, and even your parents (there’s definitely a new appreciation there). Some things you (thought you) were prepared for, and some things completely blindside you. I’m going to share some of the latter in this new series.


1. YOUR HOME WILL NEVER LOOK THE SAME

I used to say I would not let the baby stuff take over my home. As I’m sitting here typing this, I can look to my left and see the baby bouncer, look in front of me and see a slew of toys and a baby gym, and look to the dining room to see a highchair and a pack ‘n’ play. It is virtually impossible to keep at bay. I would vow not to get bouncers and gyms and tons of toys, maintaining that my baby would be happy to play on the ground with a cardboard box and a measuring cup. All the time. Also she would never cry and be a perfect sleeper. And I would keep a perfectly clean home, just as before. Duh.

But somehow it happened. I didn’t mean for it to, but now I can buy toys with the best of ‘em, and I love my “lawn” for bottles, and I don’t know what I would do without the baby gym. So things change.

And things get messy. You may do a good job of keeping the baby gear away, but things will still be messy. There will be dried spit-up on the carpet, dried baby food on your clothes, God-knows-what in the carseat…and you won’t really care. The dishes may pile up in the sink you used to keep impeccably clean, and you just don’t worry about it like you used to. I used to get really hyper about cleaning the kitchen after a meal, or straightening up the house, but having a baby tends to rearrange priorities a bit. It goes something like baby, sleep, eat, work, housework, work out. Husband and myself are in there too, but I’m not sure where.

Having Simona has made me much less of a control freak about cleanliness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not living in filth now or anything, but I’ve realized it’s okay if I don’t get to clean to bathroom this week. Or next week. And the laundry will wait patiently while I scrounge for some good clean underwear. The dishes will get done. But maybe I want to sit on the couch first and have a sandwich.

It’s just inevitable that when you add a new person to your family, you add new things to your life, and new chores to your list. I don’t know why I thought I could get away with having a baby as a neat, poopless accessory. Of course there’s more to it than that, but you know what I mean. As minimalist as you are, you have to at least have clothes and diapers. And then you have to wash those clothes and change those diapers.

So your home will look different. Maybe just a little different, or maybe ‘overhaul’ different. It’s a home where a tiny human will slowly grow into an adult, and that’s a beautiful thing. It is a messier, more chaotic life, but it is one filled with joy and love and baby coos. It’s filled with tiredness too, but that’s another story for another time. The long and short of it is that it’s worth it. I’d never trade the literal bundle of joy that now resides in my house, not for all the clean carpets in the world.

five things friday

We have a perfect day to enjoy here in Chicago! It’s sunny and 70 degrees and spirits are high. You can just feel it. Hope your weekend is beautiful and happy! And hope you enjoy these links from around the interwebs:

An amazing time capsule home.

Can’t stand how cute these moccasins are.

Have you seen this dramatic little girl?

I don’t have tattoos but this is one of the most tempting I’ve seen.

We had these incredible pastries in Paris and now Bon Appetit is telling us how to make them (a really big project though…)!

pinterest in real life – no-bake granola bars

First of all, I realize that I should be taking pictures of my attempts in this endeavor, but I’ve been too lazy. So here’s to not being lazy. I took one picture!

This week I had to try these no-bake granola bars. They looked so healthy and easy. Turns out, they weren’t quite as easy as I’d hoped, because I had to toast oats and coconut, and soak and puree apricots and dates, and chop a whole buncha stuff. Is that a lot of work? Maybe not. Like I mentioned, I’m lazy.

The recipe is nicely modifiable, so I used peanut butter where I had no almond butter, and almonds where I had no brazil nuts. Otherwise, it was really nice to use up all these dried fruit sort of things that I happened to have sitting in my pantry, because I literally had all of the other ingredients on hand(minus hemp seeds, but who has those on hand?). Sometimes I have no idea how I collect these things.

These bars were pretty tasty. My favorite bites are when you can taste the dates and apricots, and because I had some trouble getting a nice smooth paste out of my apricots and dates, those flavors didn’t quite make it all way through the mixture. If you can get a good paste out of them though, I suspect it’d be pretty enjoyable.

I can’t say that I ate these with the fervor with which I demolished the coconut macaroons I made the other day, but they are good. (Maybe it’s not fair to compare macaroons to granola bars. Yeah, probably not.) And the nice thing is that I cut up and wrapped the remaining bars into individual sized portions and stuck them in the freezer, so we have snacks or breakfast in a pinch!

Verdict: Unsure
For some reason, I wish these were a tad easier to throw together. Maybe they would be better with a different nut butter or something, but I don’t see adding these to a regular rotation. I’ll keep the recipe for now, because it’s healthy and tasty.


first picture is mine, second picture is from the original recipe post

life lately

We’ve had a busy past few weeks. I have a feeling though, that this is just how life is going to be now. So maybe we’ve had a normal past few weeks. Whatever.

I’ve been making tons of baby food, trying out new recipes in my new dutch oven, trying to keep up with housework, permanently doing laundry, enjoying the warmer weather (and by warmer I mean over 40 degrees), hosting and attending dinner parties, attending other events and even going on a couple dates. So it’s been all good, but it’s been all tired. I mean I’m all tired. What day is it? I swear I just can’t go like I used to.

Here’s some iPhone snaps of recent days.

Paddington Bear for Baby Gap head to toe (on Simona). That stuff is dangerous.

She can feed herself, kind of, which makes things convenient for Joseph.

We celebrated our anniversary last month. My mom was kind enough to watch Simona overnight and we stayed in the city. I also got this fabulous print of the date from Ashley Barlow.

Her first time on the swing. She didn’t really seem to care.

We frequent this diner for brunch on weekends. Best pancakes ever.

A new hat from a friend.

Simona has a thing for jackets, I guess. Like her mom.

A Sunday walk.