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Sep 30, 2015

A bit of luxury



I bit the bullet.
I got home yesterday and was relatively spent from work, and cold...mostly cold.
It's tough to go from 80's to 50's in a DAY, people! I haven't adjusted yet.
Mark is outside winterizing our sprinkler system and the noise is unbearable, and it's cold, but there I am, standing in the garage, yapping loudly about the day, in my flip-flops, slowly freezing to death.

He's exhausted he said; a day of digging.
But we need dinner so he fires up the golf cart for quick errand run to Jewel.
I schlep in the Target toiletries I purchased on my break that day and start to unload everything.

The dogs are freaking out. They want to play and run like it's summer, but it's clearly not summer anymore.
And the second they hit the concrete outside, it's like they realized it's not fun anymore to just hang out.
No, you must be in constant motion and bundled up. Gross.

So back inside we go, to put away the items and clean counters, and change out of work clothes and wash my face, then the dogs face, then their ears, then treats.
I collapse on the floor for some puppy sumo wresting, and it hits me.
That smell.
Our carpets have a mild funk about them.
As much as I deep clean them the best I can, at the right angle, with the right breeze, that funk fills up my nostrils and makes me wince.

That's it! I yell to no one.
A quick Google to Yelp and I find the closest carpet cleaning company with the best reviews.

Mark comes in and I tell him it's time to shell out some dough for a proper carpet cleaning.
And instantly feel guilty.
Who are WE to pay for services we can clearly do ourselves?
I look to Mark for hope. He smiles and agrees.
I immediately backtrack and try to "fix" the situation by saying it'll only be this one time. And no more than 1x a year. That's fair, right? To start from a blank slate each year, while we still have these damn carpets.
The smell is embarrassing and I am killing myself trying to hand scrub them.
It's okay to ask for help every now and then, I guess.

So I made the call. And twenty minutes later I got off the phone with a lovely lady who set us up and gave us a decent price, I think. I actually have no idea how much this stuff costs. All I know is we have a lot of old lady carpet in the house, so if it works and the smell and stains are eliminated, I will empty my bank account, again. This seems to be a trend these days.

But you guys...this is huge!
I feel like I don't deserve a silly carpet cleaning, like those things are meant for the privileged.
And we are so far from that, it's insane.
I already know I will probably go ahead and vacuum and move the furniture before he shows up. I can't just sit there and watch him do it for me... I mean, what if the guy is really old? Even if, I can't not help.

So here is a post about carpet cleaning. Pretty ridiculous, right?

Other than this non-news, things have been relatively normal.

I am running in a Color Run this weekend, and should probably freeze my ass off as it's a night run and the high that day will be 58.


I know it will be a blast, regardless! I imagine the visual of all the color mixed with black lights and some thumping music will make me wish it was 85 instead of 45, but at least I'll be with good family!

My workouts have stayed consistent. I switched up my weekly routine a bit based on my daily effort.
Mondays and Fridays I am completing 10 minutes of treadmill HIIT followed by legs
Tuesdays is 15-20 minutes of treadmill HIIT followed by arms.
Wednesday is no cardio, weights only, full body super-set workout.
Thursdays is my off day.

It seems to be working out. I've added a few new songs to my playlist to keep me interested.
It's good to change things up, keeps me looking forward and not get too stagnant.

So tell me, what little luxuries have you indulged in recently?
Are you still getting in your workouts?

Thanks for reading!

Sep 28, 2015

Pretending it's still summer


I have been putting off Fall as long as I possibly can.
Today is a high of 80, and even though it's overcast and supposed to rain, I'll take it,  because the ass-end of summer officially falls off tomorrow when temps drop to and stay in the 60's. Boo-urns.

This weekend we chose to ignore the fact that we blew right past the last "official" day of summer and stayed outside as much as possible.

Starting with coffee.
The balcony right off our bedroom is completely underutilized and I hope to change that in the future.
So we schlepped our porch chairs upstairs and sat and gazed through the oak trees to the street below, sipping coffee and listening to the birds chirp.



I spent most of the morning scrubbing mold off our aluminum window awnings, and tossing all the fallen, molding pears from our pear tree into the woods behind our house.
All completed in my pj's, I might add. I'm sure it was a sight to see.

That afternoon, we turned a blind eye to the fact that the inside of the house is a complete disaster, and instead, hopped in the pool one final time to float around with a beer and stare at the green leaves (even though their tips are golden...again, sad face).



I folded the laundry and meal-prepped before heading out for joy ride to a local bar.

All day Sunday we were back on Lake Michigan, fighting the waves on the new boat.
It was chilly and the waves were choppy, but a good time overall.
We watched a movie Sunday night and tried to catch a glimpse of the eclipse, but it was too cloudy to see anything.

Mark keeps hinting that he wants at least one more boat outing, but I think I'm finally giving in.
All the living room update items have been purchased and are waiting in the wings for that fresh coat of paint.
And the sooner I get finished with the living room, the sooner I can start decorating for Halloween!

While I'm not thrilled about it, I am ready for a change of pace. I feel like my feet are dragging, trying to stay excited about the end of summer but in limbo with fall everything.
I can't believe it's nearly October. We blinked and September is gone.

Oh well, bring on the football and chili and cider beer!
Thanks for reading!

Sep 25, 2015

When a couple more stars align

You guys, sometimes I feel like I just have to pinch myself.
Even though the whole IVF process is incredibly daunting, and we haven't even scraped the surface, I just can't believe our luck with some stuff.

I was thrilled to land my job so close to home. I love my co-workers. My boss is the shit, and all in all, the last six months have been a breeze.

So my boss, and most of my co-workers, have a pile of kids. 3 seems to be the lucky number here.
His wife was the one to originally help me get settled in my new position, and I tried to usher her out as quickly as possible as she needed to get home and take care of her kids.

I won't be delving into details, but I started to get curious about the fact that they had a set of twins.
Her and I casually got into conversation at a summer party, and while we didn't get into too deep of a conversation, I do remember her saying it was a long road, but yet twins DO run in her family.

So while I originally thought that maybe it had something to do with IVF, maybe it was part of their family make-up? Who knew.

Fast forward to this week, and for some reason I am chatting with my boss about his wife's crazy pregnancy symptoms (she couldn't STAND the smell of coffee!)...and one thing led to another, and he is telling me that they pursued IVF as well. For all of their kids.

I was shocked. So I opened up a bit about my journey, not knowing if he would accept such intimate details about his co-worker (it could get weird, you know?)

The next thing we know he is talking about their struggles, their timeline, the ups and downs...and he stops and says, "you know Tia, if you are planning to move forward soon, our doctor was amazing. He is one of THE best doctors in the U.S....and he is literally right up the road from here! I can't remember his name...Larry, maybe?"

"Do you mean Laurence....Laurence Jacobs?"

"Yes! That's him. He is just amazing and I will continue to endorse him for life."

"Um....he's my doctor. We had been seeing him early this year. I thought he was pretty great too!"

"Then you are in wonderful hands. We hopped around to a few different doctors but he was the one."

I am beaming at this point.

He went on to talk about his wife's pregnancies, progesterone shots, the whole she-bang. He urged me to chat with his wife at ANY point should I need advice or just another person to talk to.

Guys, I just can't believe it. I have a few internet friends that I have watched go through the IVF process, but not any in real life....and my BOSS no less!
I mean...that is one of the scariest parts of getting pregnant, right? Hiding all the symptoms and exhaustion and appointments from work until it's "safe"?

I am just so happy to be in such a family friendly environment. I know Mark gets a little weirded out sometimes that "so many people are in the know about our situation"...but to that I say pisshaw...
Scream it from the rooftops! Rally around and support each other! Make this whole process less taboo!

I am on Cloud 9 right now, and so, so grateful of this year's events.
T-minus 3 months and it's go time...folks.
More updates to come. Thanks for reading!

Sep 23, 2015

A lot can change in a year



I'd like to think that every year Mark and I are together we do great things.
We are not the type of people to waffle or be stagnant.
We are always doing, moving, hustling, dancing, drinking, spending, upgrading...making our lives better.

Mark is the dreamer. I am the realist.
Mark thinks up grand schemes and I try and figure out a way to make them a reality.
Read: Mark likes to buy eccentric things and then I have to figure out how to finance them.

Before I get into my recap, I wanted to share with you a glimpse as to how purchases happen in our home.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I like them too. I guess I just didn't realize I liked them until they are thrust upon me. Take the boat. This has been a part of daily chats since, oh, I don't know...ten years ago?!

This conversation is from approx. 2-3 months ago:

Me: Are you on ebay Motors again?
Mark: Yea...just browsing
Me: Always. You really shouldn't be staring at that thing every day. it's not like we can afford anything you actually want
Mark: But I need a speed boat
Me: No you don't
Mark: Yes, yes I really do. I need to have one and I already have it figured out. It'll be just like Miami Vice.
Me: Okay, well I hope you have figured out how to pay for it because if you don't remember, we have to pay to have a baby and that is not going on the back burner, mister (aren't I pleasant?)
Mark: Oh, no worries babe. We can wait until tax return season next year

Fast forward one month:

Mark: Um....so I found the boat. And my heart dropped because I don't think we have enough money. Maybe we should trade a car? Opportunities like this don't come around that often and I have been searching for years for this one boat and it's finally here but the timing isn't right!
(news flash: it never is)
Me: Okkkkaaayyyy. You need to go upstairs and count how much we have in savings. You know as well as I do that if we trade a car for this stupid boat you are going to regret it. Also, are you getting paid this week? I just got paid and have X in my account. If we drain our accounts outside of the necessities, I think we can make it work
Mark: And this is why I married you
Me: Seriously! If we do this, we need to pay X each month and you seriously can't have any weird last minute funding issues because we are now broke as a joke.
Mark: On it. I also need you to negotiate the price down.
Me: Done

And the rest is history. You guys, I have been listening to my husband preach on and on about this fucking boat for as long as I can remember. It's been never ending. I haven't even been talking about having a baby that long!

Speaking of babies, it's funny how different your life can be after one little year.

In September 2014, I started a new lifestyle change while taking Clomid pills in an attempt to clean up my act to get pregnant naturally. This included easing up on the drinks....which is probably the funniest thing I have ever written.

My aunt was married in Indiana and I got to reconnect with my cousins that I didn't really know. Turns out we had a lot more in common that we thought!

Three rounds of clomid later, and still nothing, I started looking at something more natural as a way to beef up the baby-making skills in October.

I had my first troll, calling me out for my drinking habits..saying that was the cause for my infertility.
BWAHAHAHAHA...we sure showed her, right?

I realized my biggest role has yet to be formed, and I am ready to embrace it.

We started our bathroom renovation in October. Spent a couple weekends completing demo, then let the professionals wrap-up. The reveal was just before Thanksgiving.

Our Annual Shrimp Boil Party went off without a hitch!

In December, I questioned my gyno capabilities and the idea that we would have to move forward with IUI, ultimately deciding IUI was the best route. Oh, and I switched docs too.

We met with our new RE December 19th, and were elated to finally have the opportunity to make a baby! but first, we decided to get some genetic testing done....just in case.

In January, with our IUI looming, Mark's results came back positive for a mutation. Still wanting to move forward and not cancel our cycle, I pushed to get my results back quickly.

Mid-January, I finally got my results....and they weren't good. Feeling defeated, I took a three month hiatus from blogging, and man did a lot more stuff change.

I opened a Go Fund Me account out of desperation. And cried every time someone donated.
Then we put the baby on a two year hiatus to be a little selfish and get some shit for ourselves.
It was supposed to go kitchen, then family friendly car, then boat, then baby.

But then I got laid off in April.

And landed a new job in May.

And then we had a few summer parties.

And we ended our summer with buying a boat. The kitchen will come in a few years.
But the baby? That's next year. And the car will come before the baby, I assume.

And just typing of all this stuff we did is exhausting....hope you have some good reads!

Oh, and also?
That photo above is what I'm writing to the people that donated their hard earned dollars to our cause. We decided to give everything back. As our lives shifted, so did our income, and we were able to change the plan to suit our needs a little bit better.
We are so very grateful for the people that came to our side when we needed it most, but we will move forward solo, although, I will keep blogging so I hope you keep reading about our journey!

Sep 21, 2015

Non-Stop

If I had to summarize the last few weeks in one phrase, that would be it.
NON. STOP.
I haven't had a moment to think, or blog, or anything outside of the craziness of the weekends followed by work.

Work is work, and it ebbs and flows, but these last few weeks have been nuts. Luckily there haven't been any late hours or working weekends, but the constant upkeep of the 8:30-5 schedule has been more than enough.

I took off from the gym all last week in an attempt to keep things somewhat normal.
I chose an extra bit of sleep over that extra stress on my body.

All the chaos started two Friday's ago when my cousins from Indiana stayed the weekend for our other cousin's wedding.  At only 23 years old, she has a darling little 3 year old girl.
She couldn't more my niece if she tried.
Fearless, gentle, a force to be reckoned with. Pleasant, not so graceful, well-mannered and even tempered.
We honestly could not have asked for better house guests.

Although it throws off our normal schedule, staying up later, waking up earlier, broken sleep...it was so much fun.
We had a little pizza party Friday night, and Saturday most of our immediate family showed up for an unannounced pre-wedding party (without the bride) before all the festivities.
We played in the park, took a golf cart ride to the ski jump, and hit up a local festival Saturday evening.


Sunday was the wedding. We put on our best show, and I managed to go to Black Out City.
Not my best form, but I heard I was more than pleasant through the whole thing....even offering to make everyone dinner after the wedding (what?). My cousins found me roaming in the back yard before tucking me into bed. Classy.

Monday was the drunken weird semi-hangover from Hell followed by a bit of negations for Mark's new boat.  His "little" dream boat that he has been searching for for nearly ten years.
As the day went on, we said goodbye to our house guests, and I shooed away the rest of the family members that showed up for a meal, after I supposedly invited them over after I blacked out.

People should know that if I am looking at them cross-eyed, I may be fibbing about wanting to see them the next day. Live and learn!

Anyways, it was the plan to buy his boat next April, but that's the thing about plans...they change.
I suppose you have to strike when the iron is hot when there are only 65 of these babies in the world!


I swear, sometimes I feel like I woke up in every 80's movie ever made!
(In case there are any boat freaks reading...it's a 1988 31 Cigarette Bullet...complete with a tape deck)
So as we sorted our finances and came to terms with this new purchase, I shuffled through another work week.
Mark was sick and I avoided him like the plague, taking extra vitamins and sleeping when I could, which was rare.  An annoying cough kept me awake more nights, but we trudged on.
Can I also note that this is the FIRST time in the ten years we have been together that HE was sick and not ME!? Halle-freaking-lujah!

Friday afternoon the boat settled into our home. Mark was magically feeling better and I came home early to find all the men in my family drinking beers and grunting at this monstrosity.

I hosted a game night with some ladies Friday evening...calling it Supper Club, then we headed to Lake Michigan for the weekend and purchased a slip next to Mark's brothers boat.
I must admit, I had a few nightmares about hitting a wave and flying out at 80 mph.
The waves Saturday were around four feet, but smooth as glass Sunday morning.
We did bounce around a tad Saturday, but at 31 feet, the boat kind of just skipped over everything.



I am tan. Very tan, but the hell if I didn't burn my entire face and chest on the water this weekend.
Concealer is now my BFF.

All in all, we had a blast! I went to bed at 8pm last night to prove it.
Nothing was prepared for the week. I woke up at my normal time this morning, hit the gym, meal-prepped, gave the dogs their food, got myself together and flew into work by 8:30.
Huge sigh of relief to be at my desk, but at the normal routine, and here I am blogging about it.


How was your weekend? Do anything super fun?!
Bye, Felicia!

Sep 11, 2015

Living Room Plans

Now that the weather is turning, I am focusing my sights inside.
So it goes in my home, I find myself longing to update a part of our home that goes untouched during the summer months. And for two of the last three years, it has been our living room.
In our prior home, we painted and updated the living room just before I decorated for Halloween.
It's cool though, that room needed quite the face lift.

And then we moved to our new home. And we didn't quite have enough furniture to fill the space.
First world problems, I know.
So in that first month, we spent the "skipped mortgage payment" money on a couple new brown leather sofas, a rug, and a coffee table for the living room.
Everything else in the space came as is.

But it's time. This room, although warm and cozy....isn't quite right for my taste.
This is what the space (mostly) looks like now.


As you can see it's not terrible. Not terrible at all, frankly.
I would like to lighten this space up a bit. Highlight that gorgeous fireplace with a more neutral background.
The drapery, while expensive, isn't doing it for me anymore.
I'd like to change them out for a nubby gray fabric and paint the walls a greige color.
The fan needs to go as well.  We haven't used the fan once in that room and the light is so glaring it makes my head hurt.

Here is some of my inspiration...




Kind of modern yet rustic, a bit eclectic, with clean lines.
I'm hoping for a simpler space, full of storage and character.

These are the pieces I have chosen so far. We'll see how they pan out.


I'd like to incorporate some of our photos from Miami, when we visited Vizcaya.
That place was just gorgeous. I do love photos and artwork that are YOURS instead of just purchasing someone else's work. Makes it a little more personal, you know?

And as you can clearly tell, most of the pieces I purchased are able to hold wine and alcohol bottles.
Because you can never have too many nooks for the good stuff, right?

My drapery samples arrive this week and I hope to get started with painting and putting together the furniture before October. I was told the drapery takes 8 weeks to produce, so plan to see an updated "after" post by Halloween.

Is anyone else giving their home a little face lift?

Sep 9, 2015

10 things that make me weirdly happy


1} Pumping gas and having it stop at an even number without trying.
Bonus points if it stops on a whole dollar amount!

2} Watching Burn stand in the baby pool and drink water, then get excited and dunk his whole face under to "get bigger bites" of water. Weirdo.


3} All. of the Halloween. I can muster.


I have a fever. And the cure is more Halloween decor. #zerofucksgiven

4} Getting paid to pay off my credit card/add to savings.
Watching that credit card dwindle or my savings increase at the beginning of every month makes me giddier than me choosing my First Day outfit  in Grade School.

5} The first sip of red wine after coming in from my winter commute.


This may or may not speak quietly about my so-called drinking problem, but sometimes, when it's freezing out, I can taste that red wine on my lips even before I'm home. There is nothing I love more than savoring a glass (or three).
Bonus if I also get a moment to soak in the tub. Alone. With my wine. And Instagram. Duh.

6} Caramels that are soft enough that I can squish them a bit through the bag.
Yes, I have a problem where I squeeze a caramel in most of the bags that they sell at a convenience store. And Mark gives me stink eye every time.

7} Regular bowel movements. Amen.

8} Doing "guy things" in front of the guys at work.
Dragging that heavy-ass box to the next room (did you get your tickets? to the GUN SHOW!). Using a box cutter. Having a few tools in my desk drawer. Negotiating. Reciting a Your Mom joke.  All comes with the territory at my job.

9}Disinfecting the touched things after a party.
Once the last guest leaves our home, you bet your ass I am walking around with Clorox wipes, wiping down all the things people could have touched. Toilet seats, toilet handles, door handles, counter tops, main walls, all of it. Same goes if one of us is sick. Or if people are overly sick at the office. I am that freak that runs around Lysoling all of the things. You're welcome.

10} When all the labels face out. OCD, party of one, comin'atcha



What weird things make you happy?
Thanks for reading!

Sep 4, 2015

Counsyl Survey


With fall rapidly approaching, we are one season closer to starting the whole IVF process.
To be honest, although visions of my future with tiny babes and a beautiful nursery would make me smile from time to time during the summer, those thoughts faded to the background as we soaked up every last second of the chaos that comes with warm weather.

Until this week, when I received a request to complete a survey from Counsyl.
A quick background, Counsyl is the company that provides DNA screening for people looking to conceive, or just want a better understanding of their genetic make-up.
Our RE suggested  that since we are going through the whole process of making a baby the non-traditional way, it wouldn't hurt to have this information in our back pocket.
And boy are we glad we did.

As you can see above, that is a screen shot of our results.
Mark was tested first.
When he was a carrier of MCAD, it was necessary for me to be tested.
We were a match.
Our chances of both being carriers are 2 in 289,000,000.

Two in Two Hundred Eighty Nine....MILLION.

To put this in perspective as to how unworldly our odds are of being a match, there are about 318 million people in the United States. If you eliminate the people in California (sorry California) to the tune of their 38 million people, and lined up everyone else, Mark and I would have to find each other in that mass of people.

That's how crazy this whole situation is!

So getting back to the survey. I got an email asking me to respond to some questions due to our situation.
And since I am not one to turn down the opportunity to speak up about this subject, I gladly obliged.

See, I can't stress enough how important these DNA test are.
Taking a simple blood test for you and your partner could nearly eliminate the unknown about genetic disorders. Outside of mutations like Down's syndrome, the idea that we could squash the big hitters like Cystic Fibrosis and Tay-Sachs is amazing.

These tests are no more than $100 per person. And could be less (or free!) depending on your medical insurance. To think that for $200 we could live the rest of our life knowing our future kids are mutation free is a price we were willing to pay for our sanity.

Obviously, being a match for a mutation opens up a whole other slew of doors that most people don't expect. And the ideal way to move forward with the lowest risk of mutation is IVF with PGD.

Granted, each state has their own mandate regarding IVF coverage, and at this current time, most states have none, but the times, they are a'changin'.
Yes, this is a potential costly affair, but in my mind, it is worth that cost for a lifetime of less worry, pre-mature death, a lifetime in a hospital, round the clock care...and the list goes on.
Children by themselves are enough to worry about.
Sick children double or triple that stress.

For Illinois, where I reside, we have made major changes in our womens' medical coverage.
Starting with Obamacare, we can choose our own individual plan that ensures we have the proper coverage we demand.
Then we passed a mandate outlining standard coverage for IVF.
It currently does not include freezing/thawing of embryos, or medication costs, but again, medical coverage reduces these as needed.
And in March of 2015, Blue Cross announced they would be covering PGD if medically necessary.

I am just thrilled to have these types of opportunities.
I can't stress enough how important it is to be an advocate for your own health.
Do your research.
Educate yourself as much as possible.
Know your options.

Because when these hurdles cross your path, no one wants to hear you sob about how the odds are stacked against you.
What they want to see is a warrior.
A fighter.
Someone that WILL NOT back down with a set-back.

So I took that survey. Because if it helps promote or communicate the need for these types of DNA tests to eliminate sickly children in this world, then I will do my part. No questions asked.

I hope there are other people out there considering these alternatives.
You wouldn't bat an eye at getting STD test, right?
So why wouldn't you consider knowing if you are a carrier of a mutation.
I should mention that BOTH people have to be carriers for pass on a mutation.
If one person is, and the other isn't, you are in the clear.
MOST people are carriers of something.

So get tested. For your future family. For yourself. For your sanity.
And then get to doing the nasty if you aren't a match. You are going have beautifully healthy children!

Sep 3, 2015

What is your platform?


Blogging is a weird conundrum.
It's weird because you are basically writing a public diary about your life. Putting thought and effort into each post, complete with pretty, professional looking pictures, in the hopes that others will read it.
You WANT people to read.
You want people to like and follow you. Your want your silly little life to interest others.
And I don't mean to dumb down blogging, but it is kind of silly, right?

Other bloggers get it. They write their words down, and they pour their hearts out with each sentence, and they hope to connect with other bloggers in the same way you would call up your best friend and spew all the little excitements and struggles of daily life.

But then your following grows a bit, and you get excited that people are actually RESPONDING to your blog. How cool is that? You have gained a bit of virtual popularity and it's intoxicating, honestly.
So you can take it one of two ways.

The first way is a no-brainer. It doesn't take much more effort than you originally put into your work. You keep chugging along at the same pace, writing from the heart, and turning down opportunities to write sponsored posts, or leverage your blog into any sort of business.
Your posts get liked by the same group as before, you aren't under any pressure to write, and that's that.

The second way is to make your blog your platform.
Whether it be as a business or an opportunity for your voice to be heard about a subject you are so passionate about, you have decided to transform your little world into something greater.
And this isn't to discredit those that choose not to pursue this. There are good and bad sides to this platform.
The good is you can make money. And that's cool, right? Getting back some cash for writing and not having to waltz into an office to do it. That's the American dream, I suppose.

Or you can make your voice be heard. You can write and educate people about something that has happened in your life. And that too, is amazing.
Both of these avenues come at a price, though. You sort of....lose yourself. Your posts become filled promoting someone else's stuff, or maybe you forgo writing about the less exciting...less fun times in lieu of rainbows and roses. You become such an advocate for something that that is solely what you write about. You never write the fun posts anymore because that may hurt you cause. Or maybe it's because you are just so enveloped in the cause that you simply don't have time for that nonsense anymore.

I think it's cool to follow bloggers through the beginning stages of their blogging "careers" because if and when they finally do decide to branch out, you were there to say "you knew them before"...kind of like knowing about a performer before they made it big, you know?

I still read blogs in both categories.  I applaud the efforts of a few specific bloggers that I follow on the regular, for branching out and making something out their blog.
A few that come to mind are Courtney, Lindsay, and Elena.

Courtney writes at A Life from Scratch, and I have followed her from the very beginning. She is one of the few bloggers that I am also real life friends with, so obviously I'm going to keep reading!
She just recently branched out from food into fashion and home design, two other avenues she is passionate about. And yes, she writes sponsored posts and all that jazz, but at the end of the day, she is building a little empire of her own. As a former working mom, turned stay at home mom, she is taking this new opportunity to hone in on the stuff that she really loves. (because I am SURE that what she was doing at the office wasn't exactly....inspiring). Kudos to her for making her dreams a reality. Courtney, I continue to look forward to what you do next!

Lindsay and I were both newbie bloggers a few years back. She was gaining her roots just like I was. Her blog was primarily about make-up and beauty (Duh! Her blog name is Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos!) She did fine and I was always happy to read her posts (even though I'm not much of a make-up fanatic). But then she started branching out. She started sponsoring other bloggers and her following grew. She is doing all the right things and has found a larger tribe of people that report back with each post. Her blog these days is much more polished and professional, and she is even stepping out of her comfort zone to talk about blogging basics and educate people. Plus, she manages to do all of this while working. I look forward to her new developments, and maybe, just maybe, she will get the opportunity to leave her drone job and pursue a more full time (paid!) blogging gig. Wouldn't that just be awesome?

And finally, Elena. Oh....Elena. A girl after my own heart. This chick lives relatively close to me. No, we have never met, but I follow her blog (Baby Ridley Bump) closely....probably too closely...as she winds her way through her battle with infertility and future motherhood. I cheer alongside at her gains and am sad for her during the tough times. Her blog was solely created as an outlet while TTC (trying to conceive) and she has transformed it into a platform. Making her voice heard as she battles each and every hurdle that is placed in front of her. I am always right there, silently, in the background, rooting for her cause, hoping that she overcomes this disease. I cannot wait until I read that post that she is having a baby. I just can't. (I'm sure she can't either).

So where does this leave me?
At the beginning of 2015, I was starting to gain popularity. The wheels were in motion to do something with my blog. I too, was writing about my struggles with getting pregnant, and will continue to do so, but when those plans were put on the back burner...so was my blog.
I needed a break for all of it, and in doing so, lost my following.
Will I gain them back? Maybe.
For now, I'm stuck in between wanting to make more out of this little space and going with the flow. Like trying to figure out what your company defines as "business casual"....(does that include jeans?)
I am here.
Writing. The good and the bad. The ups and the downs.
Hopefully making you think sometimes, and laugh at other times.

This is my world. I hope you continue to follow along.
Thanks for reading.