Family & Baby

pros & cons of moving from your hometown to a new state

^^ Sweet home Chicago 

A long, long time ago…just kidding, just like three years back really πŸ™‚ I moved away from the only home I ever knew, sweet home Chicago, 800ish miles away to the East Coast (first VA & now I’m somewhat nestled in PA). 

When I think about these experiences, it brings out a lot emotions in me, some good and some bad. I wanted to share some of the pros and the cons I have felt and dealt  with these past few years. For those of you who may be deciding to leave the only home you’ve ever known.  Or maybe you’re just moving a little further away.  It is by no means an easy decision. Moving away from family and friends is hard no matter what the circumstances are. Whatever the case may be, here’s what I have taken away from this experience thus far and I hope maybe it will help you in your thought process. 

Also, please keep in mind I moved away while I was 7 months pregnant, so being a new mom in a new state was very hard and altered my experience in many ways!

(Let’s start with the positives, shall we, since they say it’s good to look on bright side)

pros of moving to another state:

  • New experiences everywhere: probably my favorite part about this whole journey was when we moved into this amazing area called Arlington that was just a few miles from D.C. In fact, when my brother came to visit, he rode his bike to see the White House. Getting out and experiencing new places, new bites to eat, new sites, new opportunities were around every corner and every street. Now we live near farms and I get to experience a whole new scene: picking my own apples, blueberries, abundance of farmer’s markets (my fav), and all kinds of antique stores. 
  • You have a chance at a fresh new start: when I left Chicago, it felt like I could leave all the baggage behind and start new. I wasn’t the same person I was in college anymore, so any drama or unhappy moments just kind of disappeared. Any mistakes that I had made just didn’t seem to follow me around as much anymore. I was able to start fresh, to find a new identity, maybe even try out a new name. I totally did that one year at summer camp in middle school. I tried out Jessie and it totally didn’t fit/work for me, not to mention I never answered to it. 
  • You get to truly focus on you: you’ve been giving the tools you needed to succeed, and now it’s time to get out there and do something for yourself. You get to chose your own path, your own happiness, your future. Whether that is moving away to be with a special someone, or taking an amazing job opportunity, you do what you need to for yourself. It goes in line with one of my favorite quotes, “there are two gifts we should give our children, one is roots, the other is wings”. We will always know exactly where our home and our roots are, but we also need to have the courage and strength to leave them to explore new ground. No one will ever take away your home, because it’s more than simply a location or a pin on a map, it’s in your heart and in your mind. Moving to another state takes courage and energy, but you will be rewarded with strength and growth. Are you tired of the same scene? Are you tired of feeling like there is more out there? Maybe it’s time to explore something else. 

    cons of moving to another state:

    • I have not been able to “replace” my friends: I hate using the word replace, because of course, I can never replace the friends I have back in Chicago, they are pretty amazing and I would never ever want to in a million years, but mostly I have to yet to find friendships similar to them here. Like deep rooted friends, those you’d call in the middle of the night in tears, those friends for me are still 800 miles away. I’m still looking for a group I can feel a part of here, and sadly, I haven’t quite found it yet. Friends here and there, but nothing as substantial and deep as I had back home. But I’m happy doing my own things lately and exploring little bits and pieces of me in ways I haven’t before. Some part of me thinks I haven’t made as many friends as I would have hoped because I won’t let myself, (enter some type of fear here, maybe moving on?) or maybe because I found all my close friends during college and we had the time, energy, and cash from our shift to head out after work and blow it all on drinks at bars, come to work the next morning hungover and maybe even throw up in the back bathroom at work in between taking tables (say whaaaat, that never happened). What they say is true, you really do find your forever friends in college, before you “adult” and have children. You get to be stupid, fun, and make a million memories. Most days I think that my lack of opening up to meet friends is true, but most days, I’m like, I’m a mama, I’m tired. You want to grab a drink at 9 pm? Are you joking? Netflix & bed, mmmkay? Maybe I’m just looking for a girlfriend who wants to lay in bed and drink Merlot with me and chat about the good and the ugly of motherhood. If that sounds like you, come on over. Only if you bring wine of course. 
    • Holidays suck: the first are the worst, and then it goes like this, I’ll definitely be home this year for Christmas, but then something comes up and money is tight and you just can’t. And then you say, well I will DEFINITELY be home for next Christmas, and then it rolls around again and you didn’t make it. And it’s a real bummer. Holiday’s are a time to really bond and spend time with the people you love the most, so of course it’s a sting of sadness when everyone you love isn’t near. It’s so easy to think you’ll be back for everything and won’t miss anything, but then weddings and baby showers go by, and you only have so much money in your budget that you have to pick and chose. In 2016, I lost two of my closest friends in a one month span. Oh my heart. I flew back for both funerals. I feel a lot of regret moving in hindsight, knowing I could have had more time. But that is just how life works, right? 

    Overall, the ride has had a lot of ups and downs, but with time, the sting of being homesick goes away more and more. Of course I still have my days where I sulk around thinking about all my friends and family, but I’m truly blessed to have a new experience. I’d like to head back to Chicago one of these days, but for now I’m trying to find in this new adventure. 



    Family & Baby, Simple & Minimal

    secrets of motherhood | tips for becoming a successful & organized mama

    I love the idea of starting the new year off with cleaning & organizing.  Why not dedicate these next few cold, wintry months to spending a little more time – in between those warm cups of coffee and cozy blankets, of course – to revamp your motherhood lifestyle? Here are 10 of my favorite easy tips I use to keep every soul in my home happy + healthy.

    1. establish a routine- essential to the flow of the day and keeping my little one able to predict what’s next. Children thrive off of structure and routine. But remember to be flexible too, because some days you really do just have to go with the flow. You know what I’m saying, mama. 
    2. have a space to keep all of your essentials – you need a space to keep everything organized, whether that be a desk or a command center. I personally use a desk that has all my essentials close by. I have binders specific to a few things I find important (like meal planning, recipes, emergency contacts, my son’s pediatrician and medical information, files for recent paperwork I need to quickly refer to, etc.) I also keep important camera equipment here, as well as a variety of basic office supplies. Michael’s has some great, inexpensive books that can keep every aspect of your life on track – totally not kidding! 
    3. buy a planner + use it religiously – I recently purchased my 2017 planner from Walmart and it was a whopping $8, compared to the fancy ones you’d find elsewhere. I did go to Michael’s though and I purchased a “Mom Sticker Kit” to use with my planner. It has 1500 stickers perfect for my motherhood lifestyle. Play dates, meal planning, workouts, appointments, family time. I mean how cute is the “motherhood is powered by coffee and love” quote sticker?  β€ I think adding these little touches is what makes such a mundane task more beautiful and enjoyable. I check this planner daily, and although I also use the calendar on my iPhone while I’m out, I immediately transfer what’s in that calendar to this one. Im always afraid my phone is going to get smashed (with the way I drop it), or crash, and then I’m going to lose all my important dates, events, and birthdays. But most importantly, I love that I can hold my planner in my hands. Paper and pen would never go out of style if we’re up to me. Write, and add your own personal touches. In no time, you’ll  find joy in the ordinary everywhere you go. 
    4. “have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” ~William Morris | always keep a donation box somewhere in your home. Try to fill it up regularly. If you bring something into your home, it’s probably a good idea to bring two things out of your home. Clutter takes away from motherhood in a sense that you will spend more time cleaning than you would with your little ones. And that’s just not very happy or healthy for all included. 
    5. use Sundays to relax and to prepare for the upcoming week – and whether that’s meal planning, or prepping meals ahead of time, do whatever you feel will help guide you through the work week. Set out clothes you want to wear that week, and try to make yourself have less things to worry about during your busy days.
    6. eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep – if mama’s not happy, no one is going to be happy really. Us mamas in a sense are like the glue of the home. Take pride in this. We contribute in ways men can’t, and vis versa.  Take care of yourself and you’ll see that you have more energy to take care of the ones you adore. 
    7. have a nighttime routine – put a little end table next to your bed to be filled with books. Drink sleepy time tea, unplug, write in a gratitude book or you children’s baby books, make out your to do list, and make sure to star the top three most important things you want to get done for the following day. This keeps you on track and powers the next day with focus and direction. 
    8. research. study. learn. & grow – i always dedicate a little time to engulf myself into hobbies that benefit my family. Lately those include things like home apothecary, gardening, canning + preserving, essential oils, & DIY projects. 
    9. use Pinterest to become an organizational mothering guru – I get so motivated while browsing through Pinterest. I particularly love how much dedication there is to organization and ideas to simplify my life. And how so many other people love this kind of stuff too. I feel empowered when I can do things myself, and when I can find safe alternatives and DIY’s to products I don’t want to use in my home. If there are ways out there to make my life easier, happier, healthier and more peaceful, I want to discover it, learn it, and grow from it. 
    10. Follow other mothers on Instagram to get motivated – { with the understandimg that what you see is certainly not always what you get, and comparison can be the thief of joy } with that being said, there is an incredible community of mothers on Instagram who offer amazing advice and snapshots into how they keep the flow of theirs homes, and what they keep at the heart of it. Don’t be afraid to indulge a little into the lives of others, and to check out what other people are up do. Do so with caution. Always remember that you are your own person, what may have worked for them may not work for you, just be authentic in the process and you’ll find that you will learn and grow from this. Sometimes I find some really amazing ideas through these mothers. And sometimes I realize I’m not so different after all. And that motherhood is an adventure, scary at times, but nonetheless the most amazing adventure. And in a way, we are all in this together, so spread some love – you never know what it could start. 

    What are your favorite tips to becoming a more successful and organized mother? I would love to hear from you!