After a 3 month hiatus, I’m back in full force! Here’s a little update about what has happened since April:

1. We packed up our house in Nashville and drove up to West Michigan at the end of April with all of our belongings in our vehicles and two large PODS.

2. We moved into a 3-bedroom apartment in Spring Lake and crammed the rest of our things into a storage unit.

3. I celebrated my very first Mother’s Day in May.

4. We celebrated Steve’s first Father’s Day in June.

5. London turned 1!!! (Blog post coming soon.)

First birthday party

6. We bought a house! We had a wide search area that we were looking in, and we figured we’d end up in Grand Rapids, but we actually ended up putting in an offer on a house in Norton Shores and it was accepted! (More on that in the very near future.)

So, expect a ton of house updates and interior renovations. We are so excited to have a place to call our own and get out of this apartment. Our closing date is set for August 7th, and we can occupy the residence 14 days after that. Counting down the days to get our hands on that house and start painting, updating, and settling in with our family.

Stay tuned to see the house we bought! 😉

 

nashville blogger

 

We have some pretty big news to share….

We are moving to Michigan!

moving to michigan

This is incredibly bittersweet for so many reasons. The first being that we absolutely LOVE Nashville, and have made a home here. Steve and I met in Nashville and fantasized about the idea of moving here together. 5 years ago, just a few months after we got married, we made that dream come true. We went from a small 1-bedroom apartment in Belle Meade, to a rental house in East Nashville, to buying a 1950s farmhouse in Madison. We made friends that turned into family, grew in our marriage, brought London home from the hospital here, and have made hundreds of other memories while living in Tennessee.

If there’s one thing I want people to know about this move, it’s this: We are so incredibly happy to be moving closer to our families, but the decision to leave Nashville wasn’t an easy one.

Our time here has been amazing, and the factor that made this decision a bit easier (besides the fact that we cannot wait for London to grow up closer to family) is that we will have the opportunity to come back and forth often. Nashville will always have a place in our hearts and will always be London’s first home.

moving to michigan

moving to michigan

So much has changed in the past month. In the beginning of March, our city was hit hard by the deadly tornadoes that ripped through Middle Tennessee. Then just a short week later, COVID-19 caused city lockdowns and we have been self-quarantined ever since. This means that we’re no longer able to give Nashville the proper farewell we’ve been planning since we listed our house for sale. We’re dealing with feelings of grief from not being able to embrace our close friends before we head north. Hopefully, once all this craziness subsides, we’ll come back down as a family soon and celebrate the way we originally intended to.

moving to michigan

moving to michiganWe are so excited to be closer to both our families (mine in Michigan and Steve’s in Ontario, Canada). We are ready to push through these uncertain times, do our part to flatten the curve, and come out stronger on the other end. As soon as those international borders open back up, we’ll be ready for Steve’s family to come visit us and see London again. Until that happens, we’ll be packing, cleaning, and getting ready to settle into our new lives and our next chapter in West Michigan with our baby girl.

 

nashville blogger

An open letter to social influencers: You have a role to play in this.

Lately I’ve been having numerous thoughts around the COVID-19 outbreak and how this global pandemic is affecting people across the U.S. in particular. Many are blaming the media, many are downplaying the severity of the virus, and many are scared out of their minds as they bunker down in their homes dreading the unknown.

While I’ve been doing my best to practice social distancing with my family, I have made a few errands to pick up a new computer, grab some grocery essentials, and even squeeze in a final workout session at the gym. I spent a lot of time debating on whether or not I should do those things, but told myself I’d get it out of the way now before locking myself indoors for the foreseeable future.

I’ve realized just how important it is for us all to practice social distancing and isolate ourselves because although we may not be in a high risk population, we all carry the responsibility of keeping the immunocompromised and elderly populations safe. By staying home and away from large crowds, you are literally saving lives.

You’ve probably seen this chart several times already, but here it is again so you don’t forget the impacts:

“If the number of cases were to continue to double every three days, there would be about a hundred million cases in the United States by May.” 

Recently, this time spent indoors has shamefully seen my time spent on social media increase. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all flooded with remarks and personal opinions about the COVID-19 outbreak. From tips and advice on how to protect ourselves to jokes and memes expressing sarcasm and insensitivity, the pandemic is currently everywhere we look.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen people mention that this is “all the media’s fault” and that “the media and the government are trying to control us.”

Yet, those same people who are rejecting the media and news anchors while they’re reporting scientific facts from medical professionals are tapping through Instagram stories and listening to nonsensical wellness tips from today’s top social influencers.

I even stumbled upon this Buzzfeed article about influencers sharing bad tips and information about COVID-19 and how their influence causes followers to internalize their advice and take it as gospel.

The more time I spent thinking about this, the angrier I became.

Why are we so quick to purchase an article of clothing or an expensive skincare treatment because we’ve “officially been influenced by @insertnamehere,” but when the World Health Organization tries to tell us what to do, we simply do not listen?

I’m not innocent in this game either. I’ve influenced and been influenced countless times on a digital platform. We all have a little bit of power. It’s high time we start recognizing the power of influence and how we can use it for good.

So, to the social influencers with tens and hundreds of thousands of followers and more: Please stop giving false advice, making light of this situation, and spotlighting your elegant lifestyle. When all of this is said and done, we can go back to doing what we did once before. This is serious, but it’s also temporary. And as long as we do things the right way, we’ll bounce back sooner rather than later.

As an influencer, you have a responsibility. Your voice and your influence DO matter, and it DOES make a difference. You have followers who will listen to you. It’s now more important than ever to refer people to scientific facts and advice around this pandemic instead of soliciting and offering false information.

To learn more about social distancing and the importance of staying away from large crowds, check out this Mayo Clinic article, this Washington Post article, stay vigilant, and stay informed.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, give this cherry chocolate fudge recipe a try! It’s decadent, sweet, and perfectly festive for all of your Valentine’s and Galentine’s day gatherings.

cherry chocolate fudge recipe

Cherry Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Ingredients:

Ingredients:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
7 oz. marshmallow cream
1 package white chocolate chips
6 oz. chocolate chips
12 oz. maraschino cherries (chopped)
natural food coloring (if desired)

Directions:

Line a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with foil and grease the foil with 1-1/2 teaspoons butter; set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cream and remaining the butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the white chips and marshmallow cream. Add the chopped cherries and red coloring (if desired) right before pouring into the prepared pan.

For chocolate topping: Melt chocolate chips in a double-boiler and spread over the the fudge. Swirl as desired with knife or toothpick. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut into 1-in. squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Yields: about 3 pounds.

 

I really wanted to write a love letter to my body for all of the amazing things that it has done for me. Sometimes I falter. Sometimes I just don’t love my body the way I should and I want that to be okay, too.

Every day while I scroll through social media I notice images, quotes, and infographics about self-love and all of the reasons we need to love the skin we’re in. We feel compelled to share them and add our own dialogue and opinions about how loving ourselves is the healthiest thing we can do. We leave encouraging comments and write messages or support to our fellow comrades in a harsh society that is anything but accepting. We band together and pretend like we’re all more than happy with the way we look and feel because it’s the right thing to do.

But what about those of us who just aren’t feeling it? I can’t be the only person who suffers from moments where I just don’t love my body the way that I should. Maybe it’s part of the postpartum experience. Maybe it’s aging and several years of wear and tear. All I know is I want to stand in solidarity and commend every single person who makes positive changes toward loving themselves and being body positive. I want to be that person too. But I also want to be honest with myself and share my truth. I just don’t always love you the way that I should.

dear body

Dear Body,

I love you most of the time, but other times I do not. I’m really working on that.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I respect the hell out of you. Your legs walked you through so many new places carried you through numerous adventures. Your arms have held and embraced friends and family members who needed you in desperate times. Your shoulders have been cried on. Your hands and fingers have folded together during prayer. You danced and performed your way to gold medals. You carried my daughter inside of you for 9+ months. You endured hours of painful back labor. You pushed a literal tiny human out of you so that she could be a part of this world. You have provided nourishment and comfort to her when she needs it. 

But sometimes I do things to you that are hurtful. I’ve called you names, I’ve hidden you in the back, I’ve deprived you of nourishment, I’ve exhausted you, and I’ve neglected you. 

I’m sorry for that. 

There are thighs that rub together where a gap used to be, skin that folds over my waistline, wrinkles alongside my eyes, gray hairs that peak out amongst the blonde, and scars and stretch marks that tell a story of 32+ years. 

I want you to know that I’m trying. I want to stop picking apart all of the physical traits that make me self-conscious. I want to stop looking back and wishing you looked the way you used to look. I want to give you the affirmations you need to confidently carry you through the day. 

Most importantly, I want you to know that I still love you. 

Thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you will continue to do. 

xoxo,

Laura

dear body