Category Archives: Personal

A Perfect Day

Jackie and John Jr

Jackie and John Jr

Yesterday was such a perfect day.  With a wake up of six in the morning, I got to spend the whole day with my boys.

We went to get coffee together, and for a long walk on a beautiful spring day.  We went grocery shopping.  We went to Union Market for lunch.  We had a barbecue at my in-laws.

Yes, we pretty much ate the whole day.  It was the Mother’s Day Food Crawl of 2014.

It was also a good reminder that contentment is not in the things you receive or the places you go, but who you go with.

How You’ve Changed Me

On October 25, 2013 at 9:47 am, I became a mom. photo(1)Under the bright lights of an operating table, with surgeons, interns, specialists and nurses hurrying around, our little boy entered the world, forever adding a new title to my life’s resume.

In the 39 weeks leading up to that moment, my body evolved to enjoy all of the physical changes that come with pregnancy. I walked, led by my bump, a very round belly at the end. I felt the creaking of stiff joints, the discomfort of swollen feet. But I also never felt more beautiful; call it the “glow,” the hormone induced shiny hair, or the knowledge that something amazing and one of a kind was also evolving within me.

In the months since, my soul and understanding of my body has evolved.  My arms have grown stronger to hold an ever growing boy, and operate often with one-hand.  My eyes have become more clear, while bleary at the same time, to see the magic in small moments.  Though tired, my hearing is sharper to understand a fuss, a cry and a squeal.  My brain, though foggy and often sleep deprived, is mastering rhyming and funny voices.  My lips are ready for smiles, all day (or night), bubble blowing and our favorite game of “kissy, kissy, kissy, kissy, muah!” My body, which grew this amazing, exploring, wondrous little person, now sustains life, too.

And, my heart has grown to love more deeply, fiercely and resolutely. And, that, with the stains, strains and pains of early motherhood, is true beauty.

For the mothers who came before me, my own and my grandmothers; the aunts, sisters, and sister-friends who support motherhood; and the women for whom motherhood is a longing in her heart, not yet realized, I honor you this weekend, and everyday.

*Written with tears in my eyes, a smile on my face and baby spit up down the side of my shirt.

Revisited: Dream Bigger

I am revisiting a post from three years ago.  And, while the year has changed, the intention and relevance remains ever strong.  Dream bigger.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King.
From January 2011:
I have stood in this spot.  And in this spot, it is hard to not be inspired to dream a little bit bigger.  I cannot find words that compete or match the many bold, and much needed, words spoken at this spot. But on this occasion, but I share a wish for you:

That today, and on all days, you dream a little bit bigger.  You dream for those who have been told that their dreams do not count, and for those who do not yet have the courage to dream.  Today, and everyday after, is a good day to take the road less traveled, which will surely show you the path to human decency, kindness, compassion and goodwill towards all men, women and children wherever they may live, however they may identify, and whatever they may look like.

TNT: Flying Solo – Sort of

I am going to try something new; on Tuesdays the post theme will be about trying new things. Hear things could be big or small – a new recipe, trend or challenge. Stay tuned!


A few weeks ago, baby J and I went on our first flight. He was just shy of 8 weeks old. We knew people on our flight, which was very helpful, but we were sitting by ourselves and I was nervous as all get out. How did we manage? What would I do the same or differently?

1. To thine own self be true. Listen, if finances will allow it, book a flight on an airline you like at a time you are at your best. My 7 week old didn’t have a reliable schedule so it was more important for me to choose a flight time that worked for me. An afternoon flight meant time to sleep in the morning, shower, run last minute errands, etc, and have a bit more peace of mind.

2. Travel lightly. This was the first time in several years that I checked a bag, but not having to carry one more unwieldy item through the airport was very helpful. I wore baby J through security in a Baby Bjorn and carried a diaper bag that held my phone and wallet.

3. Dress smart. Realistically you’re not leaving anywhere with a new baby without some evidence on you – somewhere. So dress comfortably and with clothing that comes on and off easily. I’m nursing, so my scarf also served as a cover and a blanket.

4. Accept help and smile. . One tip I read before our flight was to ‘remember, most everyone else on the flight is also a parent.’ And I did. The woman next to me helped me fasten my seat belt, for which I was very grateful. Another woman told me I should have dressed my baby warmer, to which I smiled.

5. Time your meals. Assuming you’re not stuck taxiing or some other painful travel annoyance, the most common advice I heard – and followed – was to nurse or feed or use a pacifier for take off and landing. I did and baby fell asleep before we were airborne. The sucking they do when eating or using a pacifier prevents the ear pain that the rest of us are susceptible to getting.

6. Come prepared. I had 8 diapers in my diaper bag for a two hour flight. I had antibacterial wipes for the seat, which he never touched and two changes of clothes, which he didn’t wear. This is counter to the advice of traveling light, but the extras made me feel more comfortable and that was really mattered.

7. Stay cool. Traveling is stressful and more so when it’s with a tiny human that can’t do much… at all. Things can happen – delayed flights, bad seat assignments, crying babies (either your own or others), the realization of just how small an airplane bathroom really is… Anyway, along with the wipes and outfit changes, pack some patience and a sense of humor. They’re good accessories for life anyway!

P.S. Prior to the flight, I picked up a bag of Hershey’s mini bars with the intention of sharing – and buying good will – if baby J wasn’t too happy. At the start of the flight I offered them to passengers around me and one man asked, “are those for him (the baby)?” No one took any candy. I had four pieces, which made the flight sweeter for all of us!

TNT: New Titles

I am going to try something new; on Tuesdays the post theme will be about trying new things. Things could be big or small – a new recipe, trend or challenge and while everything about being a new mom is new and there will be some baby related posts they’ll be in the context of TDB and not a “mommy blog” – not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Stay tuned!

life advice

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Where have you been?

new year advice

Hi friends,

I’ve been around.  I’m not making excuses or apologies, but I will share the highlights of the last year – over which time my posting went from daily to weekly to, “oh, man, it’s really been a while…”

Last December, I was officially promoted as the director of my department, for a job I love.  In the months that followed, I was very busy at work planning a fantastic conference for 1,500 eager teens and (seriously) amazing speakers.

On a personal note, my sister got engaged and we celebrated a 3rd anniversary and a few weeks later, found out I was expecting.

The months that followed were a blur of excitement – waiting, nausea, check ups, showers, maternity jeans, a babymoon in LA and Vegas (really!), more showers, planning for maternity leave and now a baby!

It’s been a whirl wind of a wonderful year and I am excited to slowly be back to blogging.  I’ve missed it and the new year is as good a time as any for a new start!

Thanks for waiting for me,


She’s in a Place of “YES!”

This weekend, my little sister got engaged!  Their sunset proposal is the perfect start to a new life spent together: filled with wonder, special moments and all of life’s blessings.


Midweek Thoughts: Gift Giving

A few winters ago, Mark and I were walking through Georgetown when someone’s “note” at the base of a J.Crew window caught my eye.  During a season when we shuffle between shops and sales it is important to remember what we all really need.


Midweek Inspiration: Hafiz

This summer two dear friends, Jake and Enrica, got married.  Printed in their wedding program was this sweet little verse from Hafiz.  It warmed my heart then and still does now.

Hello, Again

It’s been a while since I posted.  Too long.  All of fall has nearly gone by  and there were no new posts on the must-have boots or clever recipes for apples.  (Hopefully you found the perfect boots to wear apple picking in the interim.)  Over the past few months, my favorite past time, this blog, went on an unintended sabbatical.  These things happen, so, no need to twist into a knot over it.  The blog is coming back – I won’t promise there will be a sparkly new post every day – but there will be new posts often.

In the meantime, as I am posting on my 28th birthday, I thought I’d share some lessons from the past year.

  1. My advice as I look back on 27 is to expect the unexpected Life, or the life we plan, is just that, a plan.  Plans change.  The timeline we think we’ll meet isn’t always so and if you allow that to be okay, it will be. **If you stop reading now, you’ll be fine.  If you keep going, you’ll be better.  Here’s more advice, don’t skip around too much when you’re reading you’ll miss things.
  2. Ask questions.  When someone uses words you don’t understand, terms you’ve never heard or a tone you’re unsure about, ask them what they mean.  Be sure.  Being wrong because of your assumptions is worse that being embarrassed because you don’t understand.  Asking questions means you’re still learning.  Learning means you’re alive.
  3. Eat lunch, not at your desk.  Meet with friends, old colleagues, old friends, new mentors, eat lunch and break bread.  Share stories and laugh and really try to do it more often.  Give yourself extra bonus points for walking to lunch.  (This is something I am still working on.)
  4. Set goals and work really hard at them.  Determine what you want to have – a new job, a new title, a new skill, a new triumph.  And do it.  Take notes a long the way, follow up, put your head down and cross off every small accomplishment and relish them.  When you still aren’t at your goal (and the timeline doesn’t line up, reread #1) go back to it and work harder.  P.S.  When you hit that goal and you get that title/job/skill/life change, celebrate like the rockstar you are.
  5. Don’t feel badly about crying or not crying.  Sometimes the best medicine you can give yourself is a moment to cry.  Other times the best thing you can do for yourself is to not cry.  There are no rules.  If you think you’re crying too much, find something to laugh at.
  6. Celebrate, everything.  Celebrate good weather, celebrate small wins (see #4), celebrate friends, celebrate birthdays, engagements, weddings, graduations, babies and all the good moments that bring us together.  The human condition brings us together, if you bring cake the human condition becomes a party.
  7. Don’t be afraid to change things up.  The way “it” has always been done isn’t because it is the best way to do it, but rather because change takes thought, time and a little muscle.  Change is good and so is building up some muscle.
  8. Know in your head, your heart and to the ends of your finger tips, that you’re not done.  What you know at 12, 17, 24, or what I think I know at 28 should only be a shadow of what I know and will accomplish the next time I blow out the candles.

Here’s hoping all of my wishes come true… and yours too!