31 May 2013

Love Announcements

You guys...I can't even tell you how much I've loved the amazing discussions here this week. THANK YOU for joining in.  It's just the best.  I love having this space to discuss important things with each other.  It's so fun to hash this stuff out.  So thank you.  And wow, you all have the most insightful things to say.  I just love it.  

And now, a few Love Announcements...


  • We highly recommend Pok Pok NY for a date night!  (It's right on the waterfront on Columbia St., in Brooklyn...just down from Brooklyn Bridge Park).  We also saw they were preparing the lot next door as a garden eating space for the summer.  No doubt it will be magical to dine under the stars!  [Btw, Danny loved the Vietnamese Chicken Wings (not GF) and we both loved the Vermicelli Curry dish and the Flank Steak Salad.]




  •  I loved the table cloths at Pok Pok.  You know me, I asked where they're from and you can buy the vinyl cloth by the roll at Mendel's, in San Francisco.  It would be so perfect for a kitchen table or an outdoor table (for those so lucky to have either :).   


  • I just got my hair colored (& new bangs) by Christie Somers.  This woman is TALENTED.  And I don't say that lightly.  I knew her when we both starting out in NYC in our early twenties.  Since then she has had an amazing career and travels all over for her clients.  (Something fun to know:  she is the personal stylist for Ann and Mitt Romney and traveled with them all over during the campaign.)  She lives in Salt Lake City but flies to NYC for clients every 6-8 weeks.  Contact her here to set up an appt.  And, a major bonus for New Yorkers:  she typically will come to your HOME to do your hair.  Sooooo nice!!!!  Her prices are also much less than you'd normally have to pay here in the city.  (She's also one of the nicest people ever.)


  • And, some exciting news for me:  I'm going to Alt Summit NYC!  Alt is SUCH an amazing, well-done event.  And there's just something so fun about getting together with other bloggers.  I can't wait.  Will you be there?  I'd love to meet you!!  (You can find me hosting the craft session that morning.) 

  • I am just loving the swimsuits at J.Crew.  I bought this one.  And I just saw they have 30% off ALL swimwear until June 2!!  (Swimwear also gets free shipping both ways.)  

  • The new round of IVF shots continue to go so well.  I can't believe it.  We're still doing our little "routine" and it makes me feel so calm.  I think focusing on relaxing has helped a TON.  Just trying to give a glimmer of hope to people out there going through this process, since you typically only hear the horror stories.  Anyway, things are moving along..we're getting closer and closer to the embryo transfer.  


May you all have the best weekend.  We'll be cramming in Dr. appts., the famous Saturday clothing swap at church, a friend's move,  and...a total treat:  a reflexology session at Angel Feet (in Greenwich Village).  I've known about this place for over a decade and I could not be more excited to finally get to go.  :)  :)

And, do you have any 'love announcements' to share?  (any good news, a new find, something fun you're up to this weekend, a great article or book, etc.  :)

Much love,

Mara


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30 May 2013

Today's Topic: Why Do People Delay Pregnancy?


A discussion for your afternoon... :)

When I was asked to be on Headline News, at first they had a list to debunk some of the "The Myths of Infertility."  We ended up speaking about other things on the air, but I thought I'd still address one very important topic here...

"Age matters.  You really do lose eggs quickly."

You know the #1 thing that people have said to me for years?  "You've got PLENTY of time!  No worries!"  I must have heard this 1,000 times.  OK, let me just put this out there:  our culture seriously needs to stop saying that.

THERE IS LOADS OF RESEARCH that says the prime time to have a child is in your TWENTIES...as in 26 years of age and under.  Fertility and egg quality begins to decline at age 27.  Yet, it's practically taboo in some areas to have a baby in your mid-twenties!  Strange (& tricky) that our cultural ideals do not line up with our biology any more.  It's like a career, traveling, and living together for prolonged periods of time, and delaying "growing up" have taken the place of thinking about settling down, preparing body, heart, and mind to start a family, making real commitments and getting married (for both men and women).

Why do you think that is the case?

I think there are so many deep-rooted cultural shifts...but here's my stab at a few that come to mind after being among urban career women, working mothers, stay at home mothers, and infertile women for the last 13 years in NYC...
-It's unbelievably difficult to juggle a career and a family.  I think many women feel the pressure to choose a career path (and hold off on kids) for as many years as possible because, unfortunately, most companies and work demands are not family-friendly.  I think it can be a conflicting thing for women...as self-worth and dreams can be wrapped up in a career and successful pursuits, though sometimes that path often doesn't match up with our biology as women to give birth in our mid twenties and begin nurturing young kids.  (It's so tricky, I know!)  I'd love to hear your thoughts if you feel you might be in those shoes - either feeling conflicted about your career vs. motherhood or feeling like a career needs to reach a certain level first before you have kids.


-Many women and men don't feel any rush to settle down.  I think birth control and the acceptable norm of living together before marriage has taken away - for many - the norm of getting married, settling down, and starting a family in your mid twenties.  Do you have any experience with this?  Do you agree/disagree?  Do you think these things have caused less real commitments from happening between men and women (at a younger age)?  I'm so curious to see what you think.

-People have adopted to the "norms" of our money/success focused society.  I mean, it seems very normal for many men and women to feel the need to seek wealth, education, experiences, worldly success, security, and even luxuries first...before pursuing family life.  It didn't use to be like this.  People used to just have kids earlier and make do.  But it seems priorities and expectations have really shifted.  Do you find yourself saying, "I want achieve this or that before I have kids?" Do you worry that you'd live in poverty if you had kids too soon?  Do you hold off because you worry you can't provide for a family (whether it's just the basics or more luxurious ideals with homes, cars, vacations, items, large bank accounts, etc.)?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.
-So many women really are fooled into thinking "they have time" to have kids.  Maybe they hear of women in their thirties and forties having babies...but because infertility is such a silent journey for the majority of women, you don't often hear about the journey they went through to have a child...including often $20-$50k (or more) for fertility treatments, freezing eggs, and/or adoption, loads of dr. appts., and often the use of egg donors  Also, there's a lot of sugar coating going on...people try to comfort one another by saying "You have time" when really, people are blowing smoke!!  The U.K. is taking this very seriously right now. It turns out that on June 3rd they're launching a campaign called, "Get Britain Fertile" to try and get the message out that it's a good idea to think about having kids at a younger age.  They're worried about the decline of fertility in their country and the decline of happiness of it's populace.  Also, they found that "despite most women planning to leave their first pregnancy until their early 30s, 3 out of 4 women do NOT have concerns about being able to conceive. They believe they will have an average, or easier time becoming pregnant compared to most women." Yikes.  The campaign is quite a controversial topic, because some feel it is shaming women (here are two articles in the Slate and the Huffington Post.)  But you know what - the stats are there.  People clearly are not catching on that the FERTILE YEARS ARE IN YOUR EARLY TO MID TWENTIES.  I don't think educating with facts is shaming.  Since 3 out of 4 women don't know the facts, I say it's worth trying to educate people in a big way.  Perhaps it can help change the script that we think and repeat to each other and grow up with...and perhaps that can lead to people re-thinking their life plans (at least among those who do desire to have children) and seeking partners who are on the same page.

Of course, even when we know the facts and desire a marriage and family during our fertile years, it doesn't mean either of those will happen.  (I know that all too well.  ha!)   I hope women don't feel shamed by this.  I hope they can carry on with hope and purpose.

And now I would just LOVE to hear what you think.  Why do you think people (men and women) delay marriage and plans for a family? (did you?) Why do you think people say that they have "so much time"?  I'd love to hear from anyone who has both waited to have kids by choice - or those who have not.  I guess I'm just a sucker for this important topic.   :)

(Images:  I love this "Photo Drip" Series by Markus Linnenbrink.)


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29 May 2013

Yellow Happiness

Hope you all are having a lovely week so far!!

The sun is shining again in Brooklyn.  I'll be getting myself out for a power walk soon - something I have found works wonders for my wellness.  If, by chance, you are not feeling so great today - we're thinking of you and hoping to send you a little cheer.  

How amazing are these yellow photos sent to us by photographer Jen Zahagian!?!  Oh man, they make me so happy.  She is so talented!





And here are some BEAUTIFUL words worth reading...from Jen Zahigian:  

"I attached a few "yellow" photographs I've shot.  I love that feature on your blog-- it's true, the color yellow is undeniably smile inducing!  I also included "Wonder, no. 4" which is mostly blue sky but has some yellow, because just this weekend at an art show I participated in, someone told me "This is the happiest photo I've ever seen."  That, of course, was a pretty cool thing to hear, and I thought you might enjoy the photograph.  With my photography, I often take ordinary sites and structures, often abandoned, or in well-worn state of decay, and work with color to bring them new life.  I've been told that my photographs turn sad, depressing sites into things of beauty.  I've done this for years, and I've slowly realized that I have to incorporate this same attitude towards my infertility -- I can not let the challenges of infertility make me a sad, worn out person -- I have to find ways to explore the situation I am in, so that I can become an even more beautiful version of myself.  There were days  that I'd look at my photographs and think "they're so happy, how is it that I am so sad?"  Then something clicked, and I realized that the joy I put into creating "happy" photographs is within me, and the sad parts of me really didn't want to stay sad.  They want to find their way through the sadness and be happy again!  So, I've been putting so much conscious effort into navigating my struggles with infertility, finding gratitude in it (thanks so much to your blog!) and finding my way back to carrying feelings of joy at the center of my being."   Wow!

[Jen also runs a business with her husband called Able + Baker.  They do design + building + home decor projects...you absolutely have to see this 1968 Airstream Trailer Remodel they did!]

More Yellow:   1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 6 / 7 / 9 / 10  / 11 / 12 / 13

P.S.  I wanted to just say that your comments to IVF vs. Adoption have just melted my heart. Thank you so very much.

P.P.S.  A gorgeous friend of mine just sported these earrings from Target.  I loved them so much I just had to pass along the link.

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Sweet Made Sweeter


All day Tuesday, it rained in Brooklyn and the sun stayed behind clouds.  Boo!  The day was downright dreary...not exactly the kind of weather for getting back into your routine after Memorial Day Weekend.  

But then...we got to spend the late afternoon with these cutie pies!!!  (Best thing ever.)


These two siblings (and near neighbors) are some of our favorite kids.  We had a little outing planned with them...and I'm telling you, seeing their little faces completely turned my day around!!!  :) :)  



We were headed to Wendy's because we got invited to try their new Frosty Waffle Cones.  So fun, right?  I don't even eat dairy/gluten, but I was still so giddy to share the experience with these two - and to have an excuse to go on a little outing with them (and, of course, Danny loves his Frosties.  :)

On the way over, the kids were SOOO excited.  They told us they had to eat lots of vegetables before coming.  haha.  


They could not be sweeter.  Here they are patiently waiting for their cones...

And...behold...Frosty Waffle Cones!!!


This little guy said he had never had a waffle cone before...haha.  
He didn't realize you could eat the sides of it.  :)


  



They both said that the best thing to do on a rainy day was....eat icecream.  :)  


Afterward, we thought it would be fun to surprise the table next to us with some cones.  I mean, why not share the love?  :)  We asked the kids what they thought of the idea and they went NUTS.  They were SOOOOO excited about surprising this other family, which was the sweetest thing ever.



So we bought a few more waffle cones and made a delivery...


I can't even tell you how happy and surprised that other family was.  Yay for the perfect ending to a rainy day.  And I kind of melted on the way home when the kids asked what our next adventure will be... :)  :)  

We're so grateful to Wendy's for sponsoring this post.  And for the record, I'm also grateful for their gluten-free baked potato and chili.  It's pretty much the only gluten-free meal to be had on roadtrips!! :)

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28 May 2013

Some Memorable Moments of Having This Blog


Today I'm feeling exceptionally grateful for the experience of having this blog.
I started it about 1 1/2 years ago and there really hasn't been a day that I haven't had all of you on my mind and in my heart as I try to think of inspiring things to share here.  Maybe I think about it too much.  But I guess it's just so awesome to me that we could connect here and talk about things in life that matter so very much.

Not sure if this will be interesting, but I thought I'd share a bit of what it's has been like for me behind the scenes, since starting this blog...

Most gutsy moment:  Deciding to write full-time on this blog.  Going from a 12-year career in the city to making $0 money.  Crazy, I know.  Maybe downright ridiculous.  But I just felt like I should do this.  I knew that having kids would make it harder to blog, so I felt an urgency to get this going and give my all while I could.  I've been doing this triple full-time since day one.  I've maybe gone a bit overboard, but it's been hard not to.  :)

Most exciting moment:  Getting a link up by Design Mom after being a blogger for one week!  You should have seen my face.  I thought something was wrong with my stats.  :)  :)

Most embarrassing moments:  Publishing a post and later finding typos.  And since I don't have an editor, no doubt there are many typos lurking still.  Sorry about that!

Most heart warming moments:  Seeing Danny, with a big smile on his face, typing away at night to respond to our readers.  He loooves being able to do that.  If you've ever received an email from him, you're one of the lucky ones.  He puts his heart and soul into it.  One day I so hope he'll be able to write more posts.  (We'd both do this full-time if we could.  Hopefully someday...)

Most nerve-racking moment:  The days leading up to our first on-line class, way back when.  I mean, we were charging money for that.  So there was pressure for it to be good.  We both had moments of terror leading up to it- hoping that it would all go ok.  It did.  :)

Hardest moments:  Not having the time to respond to everyone's emails.  I feel so badly about that.  If you haven't heard back from us and would still like to, please don't hesitate for a minute to send us a reminder email (please!)  We wouldn't mind one bit!!  In fact, we would prefer it!  In the meantime, we'll keep trying to get back to everyone.

Biggest hangover:  It was after the survey we did about 6 months in.  I was so curious (slightly terrified) about what people would say.  And then we got some really beautiful responses that just brought me to tears.  Reading your notes just did me in - but in the best way possible.  The hangover lasted a few days, I think.  I wanted to write about it but I never pulled it off.

Most humbling moments:  Feeling the support, encouragement and kindness from so many in the blogging community.  I had no idea what an amazing community there was behind all the blogs.  Thank you to Gabrielle Blair, Jenny Komenda, Stephanie Brubaker, Catherine Connors, Sara Urquart / Alt SummitJordan Ferney, Liz StanleySarah Bryden Brown, Natalie Holbrook, Erin Loechner, Brooke White, Summer Bellessa, Joslyn (Simple Lovely), Jora (Domestic Reflections), Rebecca Baust, Sherry Silver, and SO many others.  It meant the world to have them acknowledge me as a new blogger when I first started and befriend me either online or in real life.

Most intimidating moment:  Speaking at Alt Summit in Salt Lake City.  It actually turned out to be such an amazing experience, which made me feel so silly about getting worked up for nothing.

Biggest long shot:  Applying for a segment on Oprah.  haha. (thanks to the recommendation of the lovely Hilary Rushford from Dean Street Society).  Oprah wanted people who had learned to be happy, despite their circumstances.  I never heard back from them.  But I guess I'm all for long shots.  :)

Most unbalanced moments:  Everyday...sacrificing a clean house, a groomed self, a to-do list a mile long, etc.  Having this blog has overtaken our lives.  It has been worth it, but I still dream of one day being able to pay some assistants and hire a cleaning lady. :)

Grossest moment:  When we were planning our classes, we were working so hard that every dish in our apt. was dirty.  I mean, we were using mixing bowls to eat out of with big serving spoons.  OK, full disclosure:  It was summer time and I think there was some mold growing on some dirty dishes in the sink.  I told you, GROSS. 

Most tearful moment:  Listening to a speech by Danny's mentor, Clayton Christensen, as he wept and shared what he has dedicated his life to.  We have tried to dedicate our lives to many of the same goals, which made me basically weep through his talk, too.

Most terrifying moment: Writing that post called Love...or Love Addiction (because it included a bit about sex before marriage.)  I worried about it because I didn't want people to think I wrote that post because of my religion.  I came to those conclusions on my own through tough life experiences.

Most uncomfortable moment:  Getting a few comments saying they were sick of seeing our photos.  Well, we aren't really amazing photographers (sorry about that!) It isn't a huge hobby of ours, like it is for many bloggers.  I hope you know that the heart of our blog is to provide some inspiration for your life and we put the majority of our time and energy into that. 

Most thankful moments:  Hearing from you readers.  Thanks a million times over for all the insights, wisdom, stories, opinions, experiences, hardships, and triumphs that you guys have shared.  We read each and every note and comment and they just mean the world to us.  To me, the connections we've been able to have with you all and the community that has been formed here have been better than any job I could have right now.

Well, that's enough for one day.

Lots of love from Brooklyn,

Mara

P.S.  Do you have a blog, by chance?  
What is the "Most ______Moment" that you have had???  I'd love to hear.  Also, for any of you bloggers....leave your blog link in the comments...I'd love to check out more of your blogs!  xo

(Image above is from our little neighborhood.  I just love this time of year here!)


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23 May 2013

IVF vs. Adoption


So for this last and final phase, the pharmacy delivered to my door 82 syringes.  Yes.  82!!!!!! You guys, I really couldn't believe it.  In that moment, I honestly thought - "What in the heck am I doing?  Should I really be doing this?"

Well - it's a conflicting feeling, for sure.  I am not a fan (at all) of adding drugs to my body. But somehow when we first started all of this, I just felt like, "OK, it's time.  Let's try this." After 3 years of trying for a baby with Danny (and 9 years total), IVF finally felt like the best option.


I know adoption is such a blessing to so many families.  And maybe it will be for us one day.  We definitely have had it on our minds.  But for now, it has just felt easier or more comfortable pursuing an IVF first.  I guess I just already had some knowledge about how IVF works...since I've been seeing doctors for years.  Also, I have already invested so much financially and physically down this road, that in a way - it would just feel strange to walk away from it all without trying the one last thing we haven't tried yet (IVF).



It's like we've been climbing a mountain called "pregnancy and birth", and we're almost to the top to see if there is anything there for us.  This climb has involved quite a bit, and every step has brought us just a little bit closer.  We've tried acupuncture, herbal remedies and supplements, dietary changes (gluten-free and dairy-free), temperature charting, Clomid, IUI, body talk, energy testing, more doctors than you can imagine (and more money than I care to remember)...and now we're here.  It's like being at the last base camp before climbing the summit.  We've got a doctor/guide we really trust, and we're making the final climb with IVF.

Who knows, we may get to the top and find there's nothing there except the beautiful view we've been enjoying for some time now.  At which time we can begin the descent and figure out what it will take to climb the next mountain...which for us would be pursuing adoption.  If that is what lies before us, well than we'll do our best to gear up for the next journey.  We will plan to take a deep breath and embrace the expenses, unknowns, and learning curves of that process (which we don't yet know much about.)  For now, we're just trying to do one climb at a time. 

How about for you?  How do you feel about IVF vs. Adoption?  I know there are many opinions on the matter and I'd love to hear what you think...or what your personal journey was in deciding which path to take.  Thanks, as always, for the amazing engagement and community you guys all have formed here on the blog.  It's truly incredible and helpful to so many people.

Darling cloud mobile from goshandgolly on Esty.  
Bird designs by graphic designer Pau Lamua, via Poogla.


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22 May 2013

What A Weekend Looks Like in Park Slope




Pizza!

Last weekend we stopped by Luigi's in South Slope to order a ton of pies 
for a church event for the guys.  

And this is what I got to stare at (since I'm gluten-free)...  :)  Luckily, this guy is super nice and super handsome.  He can eat a slice in front of me anytime he wants.   xo


Hardware Store.

More basil was in order for our balcony garden.  (We can't get enough of it.) 
I love it that all the little hardware joints around here sell plants on the sidewalks.




These basil plants were $4.50 and HUGE compared to most.  Best deal we've seen. 

The basil even got the attention of these three darling Italian women walking by.  All friends.  Major cooks.  They've lived in the neighborhood 40 years, all 1 block apart.  
Come on, Linsey & Angie...think about it!!!  :)


And guess what?  One of these women lives two doors down from us!!  I feel so badly we've never met.  We now have big plans involving Italian dinners.


Vintage Store.

There are a few shops in my neighborhood that I love to stop into if I'm walking by....
Beacon's, Vice Versa, Monk Thrift, and Life Emporium.  I've also heard good things about Guvnor's Vintage. (All on 5th Avenue.) 

On this day, we stopped by Life Emporium.


Danny spotted the hat in the window.  $10.



This jacket is actually SO good.  It's from H&M from many years ago.  My sister and my friend, Abby, both have it.  They both look amazing in it. 

Danny loved this silky top/dress.

I think this could be such a cute cover-up for the beach!

And two great dresses...

(FYI, I left all these cute finds behind.  Maybe you can hunt them down!)

Dollar Store.

There are lots of dollar stores down on the south end of 5th Avenue.  I seldom go there, but I kind of want to - I bet some good finds are to be had.  Apparently, I really liked that bag.  oh my.  


And there are plenty of Brooklyn residents who dig these flying birds in their stoop gardens. :)


Oh, Brooklyn...we do love you.

And I have to ask, what do you think of when you think of Brooklyn?  So many people think it's a dangerous place, which is funny.  Just curious what you envision.  Of course, if you're from Manhattan, Brooklyn is "so far" away...unless Smorgasborg, Brooklyn Flea, Grimaldi's, or Jane's Carousel are involved.  :)  

UPDATE:  
-Chambray jumpsuit is by Kate Spade Saturday.  I love it with the bottoms rolled up a tiny bit.  
-White oxfords are by Frye.  They are SO comfortable and seem to go with anything summery - I just love them.  
-Danny's sunglasses - which he wears everywhere - are by Ray Ban.  They are the "New" Wayfarer Style in Light Blue Rubber w/ Crystal Gray Gradient Lens (they're a bit cheaper here on Amazon).  I actually want a pair myself!  

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