Top 3 Tips for Moving While Pregnant

Between my husband and I, we’ve collectively moved ten times since 2015, so I’m fairly comfortable making the claim that we have this whole moving thing down to a science. With this being said, pregnancy massively changes things.

You’re not allowed to lift much- not more than 25lbs, according to my Ob/Gyn, which rules out almost all furniture and most boxes. You could be tired, nauseous, or have one of so many other wild pregnancy symptoms that prohibits you from getting everything done that you’d like to do. And ultimately, nobody will let you do anything anyway, which can make you feel completely useless to the moving process.

So after moving twice while pregnant in the last six months, first from New Jersey to New Hampshire and then from our New Hampshire apartment into our house, here’s my best advice:

1- Rest. I know this is a complete no-brainer and everyone else in your life is probably telling you the same thing, they’re right. Nobody is expecting you to do much anyway, so why not take advantage? If your moving support is anything like mine, they’ll be happier to see you sitting down with some ice water and your feet up than trying to help.

2- Ignore all rules of fashion. This is a day for sneakers and your biggest, oldest t shirt, paired with your favorite pregnancy-friendly leggings or shorts. Seriously, don’t even try to look good. Moving is hard work and you will very likely be sweaty and gross, even if you’re not actually the one moving things, so lean into it and be as comfortable as possible.

3- Find some way you can be helpful, if you must. The hardest part for me in the process of moving while pregnant was feeling like I couldn’t do anything to help. Every time I’ve had to move in the past, I’ve always been the first one to step up and lift my end of a couch or carry boxes to the truck. I needed to come up with some way to keep from feeling totally useless, so these are a few things I came up with:

  • Bubble-wrap fragile items like plates, glasses, etc.
  • Pack boxes
  • Take down artwork and put it up again in your new place
  • Disassemble/reassemble furniture
  • Take care of the dog (or cat, fish, turtle, octopus, etc.) – keep the pets out of the way
  • Take care of your movers- keep them well hydrated and fed
  • Hold doors open
  • Supervise! – channel your inner interior designer and tell people where to put your furniture

Top Five Tips for Your Big Move!

I had mentioned in a previous post that my husband and I have recently made the move from our home state of New Jersey up North to New Hampshire, and despite the fact that everything went smoothly, from the planning stages to execution, moving is still one of my least favorite experiences.

Prior to actually making the move, I had read so many articles on planning to move, packing, and how to make relocating your entire life a little bit easier. Here are a few tips and tricks I picked up along the way that may be helpful whenever it comes time for your own move.

1- Research your new area. Deciding to live somewhere new is great, but can come with some surprises, so you need to do your research on what you’re in for. This could mean anything from knowing the floor plan of the house up the street that you’ll be moving to, or looking up the climate of a new city or state.

2- Start planning logistics early. This may be a no-brainer for some of you planners out there, but not necessarily to everybody who may be thinking of relocating. Whether you’re moving to a new state or up the street, you’ll need to figure out logistics like how you’re going to label your boxes and how you’re going to transport your bed and the kitchen table that has been with you since college. You will need to find out how much or how little space you’ll be shifting into and how everything will fit. Figure out who will be helping you and what vehicles you’ll have. Find out what your floor plan looks like and start mentally mapping out where everything will go.

3- Start packing ASAP. Start with non-essentials, like the China that you never use, or the extra blankets that you haven’t seen in years and are just taking up space in your closet. I also like to stick to the method of clearing out as I go- as I find items that I am truly never going to use or need or want anymore, I’ll either add them to my donation pile or throw them away without looking back later. Once the decision is made, though, you need to stick with it. It’s kind of like “Marie Kondo- Lite.”

4- Book your travel. If you need a moving company or UHaul, or even your best friend’s pickup truck, book it as far in advance as possible. Write down the details in your calendar- everything from what it will cost, to when you need to pick up or return any supplies. It also won’t hurt to keep track of what supplies you are renting, like moving blankets or a dolly to move furniture.

5- Make a schedule for moving day. Down to the minute. No, I’m not kidding. It helps so much to have a plan of exactly what the day will look like, who is going where, and when everything needs to happen. Our most recent schedule looked a bit like this:

  • 6:00am- Wake up, shower, prep for the day
  • 7:00am- Husband and brother- in- law to go get bagels and UHaul, including blankets and dolly
  • 8:00am- Parents coming to help pack truck
  • 10:00am- Brother- in- law needs to leave for other commitments
  • 11:30am- Husband gets on the road, driving UHaul from NJ to NH
  • 12:00pm- I go to Church with parents
  • 1:15pm- Dad starts driving to Boston, where he will pick up my brother to help, then go to NH
  • 1:30pm- Mom and I pick up dog after Church then start driving
  • 6:30pm (ish)- arrive in NH, unload truck
  • 7:00pm- order pizza, and unpack until bed

BONUS Tip: 6- Execute the plan, but be flexible. Everything might not necessarily go according to plan. For us, everything went smoothly- we were generally on time according to the schedule, but it might help to account for traffic on the way, how many trips back and forth you can realistically take, and the weather (including whether it’s going to be dark by the time you reach your destination).

We Got Married… Now What?

Getting married is one of the most exciting events of a person’s life. You get to spend the rest of your life with your greatest love and your best friend. It’s a profound moment and one that I’ll never forget.

But when it’s all over, then comes the big question— what’s next?

After all of the literal blood, sweat, tears, and planning that goes into a wedding, in an instant it’s done. For some it’s a moment of relief. There’s no more planning to do, no more decisions to be made, no more conversations to be had about napkin colors and flower arrangement height. For others, a wedding being over brings sadness that the fun is over, or playing the ‘Monday Morning Quarterback.’

I fall into the first category— I was glad for it to be over. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy every minute of my wedding, I was just glad I didn’t have to keep planning it and thinking about it and agonizing over every detail. After spending the whole day talking to 140 of our closest friends and family, I was excited to not talk to anyone, instead spending two weeks on a beach in the Caribbean with my new husband.

Having lived together before getting married, day-to-day, nothing much changed. We’d still have the same routine, but I will say that something did and does feel different. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is, but I think it comes down to the concept of being bound together for life that sort of differentiates pre-marriage life from the rest of life.

So now what am I doing?

When we got back from our amazing Caribbean adventure, we started the process of moving from NJ to NH and have been here for the past month or so. After planning and executing the wedding, you could say that this was the next major logistical event to orchestrate. (I’m starting to sense a planning theme in my life.) Having moved quite a bit in the last few years, I can tell you quite honestly that moving is truly terrible, even when everything goes smoothly. But that’s a post for another time!

ANYWAY- The moral of the story is that our wedding was amazing, and once it was over, I’ve been almost immediately onto the next event, though definitely (thankfully) not as large-scale. Enjoy every minute of it and enjoy the calm after the storm… which can also be considered the calm before the next storm… Either way, take it all in.

It is what it is

If you know me in person, you know that I say this all the time. I even have a bracelet that says it. It’s my daily mantra and reminder to let things be as they are.

But what happens when you don’t like how things are??

This is a question that I struggle with, because I really am not sure of the answer. I think in my yogi-philosophical brain it makes sense to say that you just have to let the situation be what it is and it will pass and become better eventually. Though this sentiment may be true and rather insightful (if I do say so, myself), real-life me is thinking that this is bulls***.

Some stuff in life can super suck and maybe you don’t want to always “live in the moment,” or whatever. It’s hard to pull yourself out of reality and step back for a minute into “rational” thinking that the sucky stuff will pass. Sometimes you just want to get out of a situation and into a better one, rather than waiting around for the storm to pass.

So why do I constantly say “It is what it is?” Am I not just contradicting myself?

Simple answer- because despite the fact that I don’t like some situations, I do need to accept what’s happening in order to move forward. Put it this way- if you’re in denial that anything is happening, then there’s nothing to change, right? If you don’t accept what’s going on as the truth of the situation, then you can’t do much to improve where you are.

If you accept the situation for what it is, you’re saying “this is the deal and I want to do something about it.” From there, you can take steps to improve whatever spot you’re in.

So it’s not really contradicting myself. If anything, these two concepts are complementary to each other. It’s expanding upon the concept of letting the situation be exactly what it is, and taking it further to embracing the suck and moving forward.

I guess the point here is that you can allow a situation to just BE, while also seeking improvement or forward-motion. The acceptance of it is key, because as soon as we accept what’s happening, we can move on.

3 Reasons to Stop Comparing Yourself to Your Friends

We all have that one friend (or group of friends) who you look at and think to yourself, “how is she so pretty and talented? I wish I could keep up!” It happens all the time, and I’ll absolutely be the first to say that I’m constantly playing this competitive game that ultimately nobody wins. So here are three reasons to stop comparing yourself to your friends:

1- They are awesome, but so are you. “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”- Zen Shin. I think this quote is awesome because it’s showing that nobody has to do any better or worse than the other in order to coexist, which is completely true, particularly because you may be at different stages in life. Friends don’t often take the exact same paths, whether in career or personal life, so there really is no direct comparison. You’ll always be comparing apples to oranges, so why bother comparing at all? There doesn’t have to be levels of awesomeness, but a mutual, unspoken agreement that you both can “bloom” simultaneously.

2- You have different strengths. I’m not a fast runner, but I can bake the best brownies you’ll ever have. I’m not a great musician, but I can write fairly well (if I do say so, myself). I don’t have super shiny hair, but I can walk on cobblestone in heels without breaking an ankle, which takes a TON of talent. Point is- there’s always going to be something you don’t do well, and there’s always going to be something you excel at, so focus on the things you do well and let your friends focus on their own strengths.

3- They’re probably feeling the same way about you. Every single thing you feel toward them, I guarantee they’re feeling, too. They’re probably sitting here wishing they could bake or write or not fall over in heels, just like you’re wishing you could run or play music or make your hair stop frizzing in all this damn humidity. It’s a two-way street, and I think this realization will help to see our own strengths, not just our perceived shortcomings.

Conclusion- stop comparing yourself to your friends because you are your own kind of awesome and have many talents, and there’s always going to be someone else thinking that you’re the pretty, talented friend to keep up with.

The Struggle Is Real.

The other day, a great friend of mine responded to one of my first posts saying, “Your   blog is exactly what I needed today and like every day… It’s a really important topic. I feel like not enough people talk about it. I’m really glad you’re writing about it. I need it.” We then proceeded to commiserate about the fact that neither of us feels like we truly have our life together, but act like we do every day.

So if, when addressed on a 1:1 basis, we think it’s a good idea to talk about the fact that we’re struggling to pull our lives together, why is it so taboo to speak about it more publicly? Why do we feel like we need to constantly have our shit together?

Because we refuse to talk about our feelings. A movie cliche, yes I know, but hear me out. By refusing to acknowledge that everything might not be going great, we can’t take the steps to make life as great as it can be. If you’ve already made this realization, what comes next? Let’s just stop pretending.

To “fake it ’till you make it” or pretend that everything’s fine isn’t necessarily the answer to this ever-burning question of whether or not we’re properly progressing in life.

Talking about it, writing about it, reading about it, and just admitting that everything’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time I think is a great first step in making a positive change. It’s acknowledging that there is room to grow and allowing others to help us figure out how. Sometimes we need a little push or a little company in our struggles, and the best place to go is to friends experiencing the same stages in life…. but if we refuse to talk about it, how do we even know that they are?

I say go ahead and assume that they have their own struggles, too. Open up a conversation and I guarantee it’ll be met with “no way, me too!” because they’re most likely feeling the same way. When we open up the conversation we can start to realize that everyone else is just acting, too, and we can finally start to feel like we’re not a failure for reconsidering a career choice or still buying your clothes at Target instead of Saks Fifth Avenue.

5 Things to Look For in a Relationship

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I am currently engaged to a wonderful guy, and although things are going great now, I have certainly had more than my share of terrible experiences with relationships.

The prime example would be that I dated a convicted felon. Okay, maybe that description is a bit harsh, but I did knowingly go out with a guy who had stolen… a chalice… from a church… BEFORE we were dating. Long story short, we dated for about five months, during most of which time I was away at college, and when we broke up he proceeded to send me messages and texts and try just about every which-way to get in contact with me LONG after an acceptable mourning time for our deceased relationship.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that everyone’s got bad relationship stories, but not everybody has good ones.

So what does this mean when it comes to finding a great relationship?

1- Look for someone who supports you. No, this does not mean someone who always says “yes, dear,” and goes with whatever plan you’ve concocted that day. This is a person who will push you toward your dreams and goals and reel you back in when you stray from a path that is good for you.

2- Look for someone who makes you feel good. Support doesn’t necessarily mean it feels good. Think tough- love. Supportive, yes, but maybe you don’t want someone who only supports you through these means. Maybe you do want tough love all the time, but don’t want someone who supports you by always talking about your feelings. Maybe you do. In other words- figure out how you best receive support, then look for someone who best gives support in a way that matches your needs.

3- Look for a partner who pushes you. Every one of us has things we need to work on. For me, it is that I am all over the place. I start off on a career path or a diet or a workout plan, etc., try it for a few weeks or months and then go off in another direction. I needed someone to be a grounding presence for me. Someone steady. I also needed someone to push me to open up and talk about feelings. Which brings us to the next criteria:

4- Look for a person who you can open up to. Self- explanatory, right? Find someone who you are comfortable enough with to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets.

5- Look for someone you’re attracted to. By this I mean someone who you find attractive on a physical level, sure, but also on a spiritual level. At a certain point, usually just beyond the “honeymoon phase,” for me, I’d always have an intuitive sense of whether or not the relationship was good for me through some form of a gut feeling. Usually I’d figure out that it wasn’t, but stay in it anyway, but that’s beside the point. Find someone who you find yourself still wanting to be around after the “honeymoon phase.” Someone who makes you happy and makes you look at them the way you look at a giant bowl of mac and cheese. Makes you smile, right? That’s the gut feeling to look for.

These suggestions are by no means hard-and-fast rules. They’re things I should have looked for in relationships, and ultimately ended up stumbling into that hopefully you can stumble upon, too!

Should I Go Back to School?

When I was two years old, I wanted to be a doctor. By ten years old, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist (yikes), and by the end of high school I was a volunteer EMT and wanted to be a trauma surgeon (again- yikes).

Needless to say, neither of those paths ended up working out, as I now work in admissions for a private high school- just a little different from the original plan.

So after making it through college and now through three years of bouncing around from job to office job in the working world, I’m wondering if I should go back to school. This time, rather than majoring in French and Political Science, I’d be studying Nursing. Back toward the original plan, decided by a two- year- old. But should I do it?

So here’s the question- does it make sense to go back to school and radically change careers in your twenties?

Simple answer- – – – – I have no simple answer.

I think it really depends on the situation. Does it make sense to hold a job, even if it’s not your dream job so that you can pay your rent and bills? Yes. Does it make sense to try to find the job of your dreams while you’re young so  you can have as much time as possible to enjoy that job before you’re at a stage in life where it’s time to retire? Also yes.

So how does this ultimately work out?

  • Figure out what degree you’d want to get. The time and money and stress levels can be different depending on whether you’re aiming for an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate.
  • Take stock of everything.
    • Take a look at what it costs to pay your bills and what it costs to enroll in classes (don’t forget the added costs of fees and textbooks).
    • Take a look at how many hours of work you have each week and realistically how much time you’ll have to study. Include in that how many hours you spend doing other things- going to the gym, walking the dog, second jobs, sleeping so you can function as a semi-conscious human, etc. Every hour matters.
    • Take a look at who’s closest to you. If you have a significant other or close family, figure out how you’ll see them. Really SEE them, not just have them in the room while you’re studying. Remember that they need your attention, too.
    • Take a look at the future. Do you see yourself finishing school and starting your career? Do you see yourself having children or other responsibilities that might make it more difficult to continue this career path, or does it still seem doable? Consider other factors that may interfere or help with this path.
  • Get set in what you want. This decision is a large one, so be prepared for things to change if you jump in.
  • DO IT.

These bullet points can seem intimidating- particularly the ones about taking stock, but ultimately the decision to go back to school is up to you. If you see your future lining up in a different way than the path you’re currently on and it makes sense, then jump in!

As for me, I completed my first semester of classes for nursing school and did okay! I am taking this semester off because I am currently planning my wedding, which would be the same week as final exams and I am prioritizing enjoying getting married over pulling my hair out trying to get everything done at the same time! Having a full-time job that I like well enough for now allows me the flexibility to take my time in going back to school and take it semester-by-semester, evaluating as I go if this is still the right path for me.

I’ll keep you updated on whether or not I finish it out, but in the mean- time, if you’re struggling with the decision to go back to school, take a look at the factors in your life and if it makes sense, jump right in and reach for your dream life!

What is a Quarter Life Crisis and Am I Having One?

A quarter life crisis is a stage of life, usually right around your 20’s, when the world turns upside-down and you find yourself questioning everything. This can include anything from “Am I spending too much money on wine?” to “How do I find a job I don’t hate?” and “How the heck are most of my friends married and I’m still single as a pringle?”

So the answer to the second part of this ever-imposing question, is probably yes. If you found this blog, you’re probably having some form of a quarter life crisis. You’re probably somewhere in your 20’s, stumbling from brunch to work to an apartment you can barely afford.

Our twenties are a time of excitement and wonder, allowing for a sense of self-discovery as we set ourselves up for the rest of our lives, whether that be in our careers or personal lives. It’s awesome, but also terrifying.

If you can identify with any of this sense of questioning and self-discovery, then you are probably having a quarter life crisis, too. The best part, though- you’re not on your own.

I’d venture to say that most people go through this at some point- Some figure out their lives before or during college, some wait until a midlife crisis in their 50’s, but now is really the time to figure it out. You’ve already gone through your stupid teenage and college years, blundering through social situations and desperately selling your soul to get hired in any job available, regardless of what it is, so this is the time to mess up and get your hands dirty and figure out life one day at a time.

So yes, you are probably having a quarter life crisis, because the rest of us certainly are!