I’ve heard it all the time, a girls’ trip is good for the soul…I never took it really seriously until this last weekend.

My three best friends from high school and I said “hasta la vista” to our kids, husbands, fur babies and other responsibilities and traveled to Saugatuck, Michigan for 3 days. Honestly, we didn’t want the trip to end.

If you’ve never been to Saugatuck, it’s a perfectly idyllic coastal town on Lake Michigan. We Airbnb’d an adorable yellow house with a big front porch just steps away from the water. The town is splattered with art galleries, ice cream shops and small boutiques.

We enjoyed an amazing brunch and dinner at Mermaid, which was directly on the water. We devoured delicious meals, like Street Corn Salad from Wild Dog Grille in Douglas, MI. We also jammed to some rap tunes from the Broadway play Hamilton from a Kenny Rogers lookalike, haha. My personal favorite meal was at Grow where we brunched on avocado egg sandwiches, carrot cake pancakes and chocolate milk infused cold brew coffee. YUM!

As for us girls, we laughed until we cried talking about old times and people of our past. We also cried until we laughed touching on some deep discussions on life, stuff I can’t really talk to anyone else about. There really is something remarkable about spending a few days with people who know you best. The people who have been there for you for as long as you can remember. It was a great reminder of how important best friends really are. It also showed me of how crucial it is to maintain and nurture these relationships even when we are in the eye of the storm of raising babies, wiping noses and trying to work all at the same time.

But back to the lake house, did I mention the peace and quiet?! We woke up every morning, sipped on coffee without little humans demanding breakfast and activities. The first morning, we sat on the front porch in our pajamas drinking Bloody Marys and didn’t even leave the house until almost 2 PM. Talk about relaxation!

We paddle boarded and frequented the beaches, and spent our evenings watching Netflix and laughing like elementary school girls at a sleepover.

Last night, I spent several hours at the Chicago airport working on my laptop, eating junk food and reflecting on the trip and the week ahead as I snap back to reality. I boarded my airplane and landed back in Columbus, Ohio. I grabbed my bag and rushed out the sliding glass doors. At the very end of the passenger pickup lane stood my husband, with the tailgate open and Luke and Eden screaming “MOMMY!” with pure excitement. I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness and relief.

The kids climbed over the backseat and ran into my arms. As I bent down to hug them, I slipped in a pile of vomit. I kid you not, some clown threw up on the ground of the airport and no one cleaned it up, so my black flip-flop fell victim. C’est la vie cute seasonal shoe.

Despite snapping back to reality and two ruined flip-flops, I spent last night showing my kids videos and pictures from our girls trip. I took them upstairs, tucked them in, prayed with them, and kissed them goodnight.

Having the opportunity to step away from my chaotic life was something I needed more than I even realized. And today, it’s reminding me how wonderfully fantastic my chaotic life is.

*Special thank YOU to my wonderful mother who kept the kids while I was gone and Jeff was working. You are a saint!*

xx

Girls Trip to Saugatuck, MI

Bloody ‘Merica at Saugatuck, MI

Girls Trip to Saugatuck, MI

Paddle boarding was really the only form of exercise we partook in all weekend long. Unless you count hot tubbing and porch chair rocking.

Girls Trip to Saugatuck, MI

My Very Best Friends (VBFs) from kindergarten at New Albany!

Girls Trip to Saugatuck, MI

I made them take quite a few “Instagram worthy” photos. hahahaha

Girls Trip to Saugatuck, MI

This town is filled with the cutest little cottages.

Girls Trip to Saugatuck, MI

My delicious breakfast at Grow in Saugatuck.

For the first time in 3 years, I’m ditching my kids and husband and going on a girls trip. Can we say E X C I T E D!!! I am not sure I can sing it loud enough.

A million thoughts are going through my mind the night before I leave.

  • What on earth do I pack?
  • Do I have to clean the house?
  • What about the laundry?
  • Oh, since the kids are staying at grandma’s while my husband works…I guess I gotta pack their clothes.
  • I always do, but this time I probably shouldn’t forget their toothbrushes.
  • Pack the sunscreen.
  • Stock the fridge with easy dinners.
  • Finish up what work I can, so I don’t have to spend vacay at my laptop.
  • I’ll actually have time to read! That’s a lot of pressure considering I haven’t read a book in a year… what do I choose?
  • Gotta get my nails done, or at least paint them.
  • Don’t forget to shave! Yow.

I’m probably forgetting 9,000 things but I can’t focus due to pure excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and husband but a little ‘girl time’ is good for the soul. So here I am, 10 PM the night before my 6 AM flight about to pack.

A couple of things I’ve noticed:

Trip for 5: start planning 72 hours in advance.
Trip for 1: start about an hour before bed.

Trip for 5: 73 loads of laundry to prepare.
Trip for 1: Everything smells fine, just throw it in the bag.

Trip for 5: largest suitcases in the history of transportation.
Trip for 1: carry-on.

Trip for 5: 10 pairs of shoes, at minimum.
Trip for 1: 5 pairs of shoes…I’m still a girl.

Trip for 5: 5-8 different electronics and chargers.
Trip for 1: the iPhone is all I need.

Trip for 5: bring enough snacks to feed a small army.
Trip for 1: enjoy a hot Starbucks at the airport.

Now excuse me while I throw some things in a bag and catch a few hours of sleep.

Bon voyage!

Bon Voyage!

Isn’t that the truth?!

Of course I knew it all back then. Don’t we all? It’s human nature to think at any given time during any given circumstance we know best. I can say with certainty that’s absolutely been the case through motherhood.

During my second and third pregnancy journeys, I wrote about the differences of baby #1 vs. #2 vs. #3. A couple of years and many, many, MANY sleepless nights later I’m revisiting the topic with recent observations on how different the third child really is from the first and second.

Child #1: Reading every book on parenting.
Child #2: Reading every article on siblings.
Child #3: Reading how-to survive manuals.

Child #1: Absolutely no TV or screen time until age 2.
Child #2: Starts watching TV when the older sibling is viewing a screen.
Child #3: Came out of the womb with a tablet in hand.

Child #1: Brand new clothes.
Child #2: Hand-me-downs from child #1 regardless of the gender.
Child #3: Here are some rags, the seasons don’t match up, so I apologize you’re wearing sweats in July.

Child #1: Listening to everyone’s advice on what it’s like to be a mom.
Child #2: Listening to everyone comment on how busy you are.
Child #3: Not listening to anyone. Three children deep, and I’m pretty sure I’ve encountered some serious hearing loss.

Child #1: Beautiful baby book filled with “firsts” and lots of photos framed around the house.
Child #2: Beautiful empty baby book, remains empty on 4th birthday.
Child #3: The child’s birth certificate has provided a wealth of information.

Child #1: Strangers lovingly ask, “Is he your first? How precious!”
Child #2: Strangers say, “Awww- two looks like a handful!”
Child #3: Strangers don’t even talk anymore. Instead they look at the 3 hood rats running wild through a crowded supermarket and scurry away hoping to avoid being hit by a flying cereal box.

Child #1: Please don’t let him play with those crayons, he could ingest them.
Child #2: Please keep a close eye on the baby to make sure she doesn’t eat the crayons her older brother is playing with.
Child #3: Did you know crayons are non-toxic?

Child #1: Hop in the stroller, let’s go shopping!
Child #2: Hop in the double stroller, be sure to strap in I don’t want either of you to fall out!
Child #3: Hey kid, can you sit on the ledge of that double stroller? If you fall out, at least you’re close to the ground.

Child #1: Hold my hand, we’re in a parking lot.
Child #2: Hold my other hand, we’re in a parking lot.
Child #3: Hold your sister’s hand, yes she’s only 4 but hopefully she’s responsible enough to not leave you behind.

Child #1: It’s so easy to find a sitter, people are thrilled to watch a baby.
Child #2: Sure, I’ll watch your two beautiful children.
Child #3: Grandma is really the only one brave enough to take on the tribe on a regular basis.

Child #1: It’s so easy to tidy up the toys.
Child #2: Let’s work together to clean up after ourselves.
Child #3: I walk room to room stepping over debris and whispering: “WTF happened in here?!?”

Child #1: Oh, I’m so tired!
Child #2: Ugh, motherhood is so exhausting…I can’t wait to get a good night’s sleep.
Child #3: I haven’t slept in 5 years, and probably won’t for another 18.

Child #1: Love with all your heart.
Child #2: Love with all your heart.
Child #3: I didn’t think it was possible, but my heart just expands and has no boundaries with each child who entered my life.

Who’s ready for #4?! HA!

Real life with 3 small children.

My life motto as a mom of 3 small children.

This week I had the distinct honor to speak on a panel along with a couple social media experts at a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) event here in Central Ohio.

The subject was social media and I was asked to join the forum for my journalism background, my current role as a marketing director, and my life as a blogger. The questions were pretty in-depth as we covered topics such as “fake news”, affiliate marketing, and organic vs. paid posts.

I’m not going to bore you all with the geeky social media jargon, but one of the questions I was asked struck me. The moderator asked how challenging is it to be a blogger and have my life “out there” — my kids, my husband, my entire world on display, and how do I deal with scrutiny.

After 10 years in the news business I’ve grown a pretty thick skin. I’ve heard it all from “I hate your name” to “your lipstick is too shiny” to “it looks like my cat threw up on your dress” to “I love you, will you marry me?” and everything in between. Any journalist can relate, and many bloggers can as well.

What’s really amazing is I haven’t faced nearly as much scrutiny as a blogger, and I’m crazy thankful for it! I had an article go “viral” last summer about finding the ultimate mom-friend (you can read it here!) and I had quite a few people rip me for being too judgmental. *eye-roll* Some people just really can’t read sarcasm. My husband has always joked he’d like to create a “sarcasm font” and he thinks it would be his gift to mankind. And I kind of agree!

I follow many bloggers on Instagram and often read their apologetic comments when something wasn’t interpreted the way they intended. Oftentimes, the negative comments are deleted and trolls are blocked. I completely respect that.

It’s ironic that my first controversial post came the same day as the PRSA forum. Later that evening I posted a picture of my daughter and I at the mirror with a tongue-in-cheek saying. “Either my hair & makeup is done or I look homeless. There is no in between.” I really didn’t think anything of it, and thought it was funny, because #momlife is hard.

But I received a really long negative comment suggesting I was disrespecting homelessness and raising my children in an intolerant environment…… wait. what?!

Listen, I am truly sorry for those who I offended. In no way do I mean to turn my back on this serious epidemic. But my post does pose a larger question. When did we, as a society, become so extremely sensitive?

I didn’t delete the photo, because I think most of my followers understand the humor, and the commenter did delete his comment…perhaps he was a troll, perhaps not.

When the moderator asked me how I deal with scrutiny, my initial thought was to tackle it head-on. I know by being a blogger and very active on social media I have to take the bad with the good. I think the best way to handle backlash is to apologize when you are in the wrong, empathize with those you may be hurt or offend, and stand your ground when you feel you are right.

In this case, I felt as though I was right. However, I feel as though this is going to be an ongoing topic as social media continues to grow, expand and evolve over the years.

What about you? Do you face criticism on social media? If so, how do you deal with the backlash?

The Darker Side of Social Media

Here is the infamous photo.

PRSA Forum

Thank you so much PRSA of Central Ohio for including me on this awesome forum!

Thank you so much PRSA of Central Ohio for including me on this awesome forum!

The lovely ladies on the PRSA forum. Thank you!

 

My kids are obsessed with cookie dough. I think that just comes with the territory of being a kid. While I love making chocolate chip cookies with them, I’ve found something healthier and much easier to help curb their sweet tooth.

Introducing a simple 5 ingredient cookie dough bite recipe! Super simple, and super delicious!

  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup semi-sweet morsels
  • 3/4 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Mix all ingredients together. Roll them into bite sized balls. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

Kid tested, mom approved!

Simple 5 Ingredient Cookie Dough Bites

Simple 5 Ingredient Cookie Dough Bites

Simple 5 Ingredient Cookie Dough Bites

Fun for the whole family.

Simple 5 Ingredient Cookie Dough Bites

Easy for the kids to make too.

Simple 5 Ingredient Cookie Dough Bites

Kid tested, mom approved.