This House of Love

Ten Years of Lessons (in Less Than 500 Words)


It’s been ten years since Mom died.

A little over ten years ago, I sat down to write her eulogy, which (as Mom was a long-time teacher) appropriately discussed all the things she taught me in the twenty-two years I was given with her.

And as this first decade passes, it hits me that I have lived another half of that short portion of time. A brutal realization that, when ruminated upon, has the potential to really do a number on my spirit. But, Mom was never one to ruminate. She liked to think of each experience as a chance to learn. So, in the spirit of her courage, thirst for knowledge, and decade-old eulogy, I share with you the lessons I’ve learned in her absence, albeit not without her influence.

Life rarely ends up resembling the vision we’ve created for ourselves, but what do we really know in the grand scheme of things?

You should never fear being yourself. A bigger fear should always be inauthenticity.

Above all, to achieve your dreams you must be tenacious. Statistically speaking, things are bound to work out if you keep at them.

Although dreams should be pursued, it’s often the things you don’t think you need that end up being the most conducive to growth.

Success in life should not be measured by financial freedom, or other societal parameters. It should be measured by your ability to find value in your life, especially when it seems inherently lost.


The grass often looks greener on the other side, but much of the time that’s just a trick of the light. In reality it’s greenest where it’s tended to best, so take care.

Sometimes the hardest conversations you can have, or the toughest actions you can take, are the only ones that’ll make anything better. 

Live in the moment as much as you possibly can. Our time is simply a long series of moments woven together. If you wait until its finished to admire its intricacies, you’ll miss out on the process and much of the details.

No matter how alone you may feel, the fact is you’re not (you know, statistics and all). Someone out there understands and will appreciate knowing that they’re not alone either.

Life will never be without loss or pain, but that should not keep you from living. In fact, heartache is what allows us to see just how sweet the good times are.

A child’s appreciation and love for their parent knows no boundaries, even after death. And, if we work to keep our loved one’s legacies alive, there’s no way for their absence to be resolute either.

 I love you more today than I ever have before, Mom. Hope you’re taking good care of Mike, and the other newer arrivals. <3





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#BlogHer17 – More Than Just a Recap

As the thick layer of jet lag dissipates, I’ve finally set out to create a BlogHer17 recap. But as I prep my entry, I begin reflecting on my experience. What do I write about?

I think about which panels were most useful, meals the tastiest, events the most ‘worth it.’ I skim through photos and favorite the best or most intriguing. I mentally critique the product giveaways. And just as I began to write, I stop.

I realize in that moment, everything I had considered was meaningless. I saw that those trivial details, like what goodies we came home with, or what companies we met, were so very secondary to all the invaluable takeaways offered.

Like, my amazing group of new friends. The absolute best thing about BlogHer17 was the attendees. Im inclined to believe I was in the company of the world’s coolest SuperWomen all weekend long. I was blessed to create and reinforce friendships that I really believe will last a lifetime. To top it off, each friend I spent time with was so unique. This served as a beautiful reminder of the individuality that hides behind each blog URL or social media account.

Or the unrivaled family memories we made. In terms of my childhood, family vacations were something I heard about from my friends once school resumed in the Fall. So, planning this cross-country trip for four was well outside of my comfort zone. But in the end, we tackled nearly every theme park and mastered the lazy river – over and over again. And what began as a trip to BlogHer17 slowly became a test of familial patience, love, and togetherness. And I think, on a whole, we really learned to love and accept a great deal about each other in the process. It was family bonding done right.

I also arrive home with a newfound vigor and purpose. I’ve always hoped that by sharing my trials, I will help someone get through their own challenges. But, writing is scary because when hitting ‘Publish,’ our thoughts shoot out into the world at breakneck speed, and are instantly subjected to criticism. This makes it hard to not waver.


But BlogHer17 offered all of its attendees something infinitely special. No matter our backgrounds, genders, ages, or ethnicities, we were all given a cohesive, open arena in which we were accepted and supported.

And as I stood on the VOTY stage, surrounded by the other Honorees, I witnessed unimaginable beauty. I watched our categorical details melt away and became inconsequential. The content of our pieces did, too. What became most important in each attendee was the bravery and motivation they possessed. Their willingness to share intimate details of their lives in hopes of helping, of spreading the word, of catalyzing change. It was rejuvenating and inspiring.

Isn’t that always the case? The things we can’t see or assign a value to, those are what matter most. 



The Art of Saying ‘No’

I am inherently a people pleaser. I grew up in a home full of tumult and imbalance, so I did what I had to do to survive – I made sure everyone else was happy so my environment could remain as calm as possible.

As an adult, I’ve had to learn the incredibly difficult task of preserving my happiness instead of planning my actions around everyone else’s requests. In short, I’ve learned to say “No.” And I’m proud of it.

But now, as a new mother, I’m being told that saying “no” is a huge no-no. At a play date a while back, I caught my daughter shoving something in her mouth that didn’t belong there. I sternly said, “No.” Just before I could continue with “that doesn’t belong in your mouth. It’s dangerous,” the other mother gasped. “You tell her… No!?” Um, yeah. I tell her no. When she’s doing something that she’s not supposed to, she should learn that it’s wrong.

The play date then took a swift turn and the conversation led to all of the things that “THEY” say. Gotta love the nameless and faceless crowd that tells us all what to do. They are infinitely smart and nowadays, they’re telling us that saying the word “no” to your child is unacceptable.

Once the play date ended, I hopped right onto Google, and sure enough… Tons of websites were boasting articles telling me that we can’t tell our kids no. It stunts their vocabulary. It makes them feel belittled. That the average toddler hears “No” up to 400 times a day. Apparently, it’s just an all-around bad, no good approach to parenting. And since this play date, I’ve been told by numerous mothers that they too don’t use the word “no.”

I was stumped. They say that all children need firm boundaries. But “no,” the most common boundary-forming word, is off limits. I dug deep to understand this parenting philosophy. During my quest, I found an article that even suggested replacing “No, you can’t have candy before dinner,” with “Yes, you can have candy after dinner.”

Thats when I stopped. You know what? Screw that. No, my kid can’t have any $@?!ing candy. And I’m OK with being the bad guy if it means saving my daughter’s teeth. Of course I’ll explain the reasoning behind my reply, but that won’t make her one year old mind understand it any better.

But that’s the real trick – saying “no” properly. Because the word itself can’t be evil. How harmless could a measly N and O be? The danger behind “n-o” is not explaining your reasoning. If you end your sentence after just that one word, you’re becoming the “Because I Said So” parent. And we all know that benefits neither you nor your child. So, I propose giving them your reasoning, and ending it there (or after as many “Why?”s as you can handle)… But please, don’t feel bad for starting your sentence with “No.”

In the end, we all know that the Universe doesn’t always say yes. Sometimes opportunities are lost, windows are shut; it’s inevitable that our children will face rejection. Just think: one day our children will be adults and adult-sized temper tantrums are neither attractive nor charming. In my opinion, (and that’s all it is) children should be able to properly digest the notion of “No.” As a result they will either learn to accept the boundaries, or choose a different avenue to achieve their goal. No matter how your child reacts, they’re learning valuable lessons that few other words could teach them. So, they may say not to say “No,” but I say that perhaps it’s just about learning the art of saying it properly.


“Fearless” Celebrities

I recently came across a post that caught my eye. You know those ones that circulate like wildfire, garnering thousands of hits in one day? It was entitled “Thirty Gorgeous Celebs Who Fearlessly Pose Makeup-Free.” You may have seen it, you may have not; that’s not the point. The point is, there is nothing fearless about posing without makeup.

Fearless is confronting illness head on and battling relentlessly. Fearless is having a career that benefits the greater good even though it may put your own life in danger. Fearless is standing up against the odds and coming out on top.

It is NOT being photographed without make-up on. And if this is what society deems as “fearless,” then we have our priorities severely out of whack. We should not be teaching young girls that bravery equates to a makeup-free selfie. We should be impressing upon them that bravery is working hard to reach their goals, no matter what may stand in their way. Like a shallow, self-indulgent society.

End rant.