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Mar 31, 2017

Home Inspiration: A Blushing Living Room

Hello everyone and welcome to my first home design feature. I have been nervous, yet antsy to start putting my ideas on paper....er....the internet. I know this can only be a good thing, and I sure do hope you find my work inspiring as well.

I found this color palette and would love to see a space created around it:


I started pulling pieces from some of my go-to favorites, ending up with a mix of higher-end and affordably chic options.

Sofa: Splurge or Save // Artwork // Ceiling Light // Pillows 1, 2, & 3 // Coffee Table // Tray // Pineapple //
Coffee Table Books 1, 2 & 3 // Side Chair // Side Table // Table Lamp // Faux Palm // Rug

When I am designing a space, I am always trying to pair my efforts with some sort of discount (not everything can be purchased at Homegoods!). I believe that there is a time and a place to splurge on a well-made piece of furniture, but you can likely save on all the other stuff that makes up a home.
All of my designs will feature a good mix of both. I want to share my findings with you so you can do the same.

This storyboard is perfect for a living, sitting, or guest room.

The swoon-worthy sofa, outfitted in a performance velvet called Shadow will stand the test of time against any trend you pair it with. (West Elm offers 15% off new orders with email sign-up). If the price tag makes you gulp, there is a similar, equally appealing dark gray sofa at Target.
It pairs beautifully with their wood-arm side chair, and I would love to see a lovely hazy print on the wall. (Minted is having a 15% off sale this weekend!)

Since the sofa is rather simple, I chose a few different textured pillows as neutral accents. How fun is this shag pillow paired with the soft gold? The 3D dots are just plain fun. Sitting to the side would be a simple, geometric rose gold table and mid-century lamp.

Coffee tables can be cumbersome to work with, but I love the minimalist design of this glass piece. It's worth every penny to be shipped for free to your front door! It gives the space a more airy feel and bonus that you can see this beautiful rug beneath it!

The statement piece of the room would be this amazing chandelier. I truly believe lighting makes or breaks a space, and is absolutely worth the investment. It won't be going anywhere anytime soon, especially if it's hard wired. (By the way, Overstock typically has a 10% off coupon, but right now I am seeing it at 12%).

Accessories can overwhelm me sometimes. I don't have a lot of them in my home, mostly because I don't want more stuff to dust. But...I will pick and place a few items to give the space a little pop.

Anyways, what I do know from my days in commercial design, is a beautiful stack of books not only LOOKS amazing, but is actually useful. They are good conversation starters when laid conspicuously in front of guests. The ones I chose for this space could be used alone or in the stack I'm proposing. Black and white stripes make me swoon and having a bold print and gold flourish tucked underneath makes a winning combo. I actually have all three of these books stacked in my house and I just LOVE how they look on my acrylic table.

As you have seen on Instagram (@tgendooza), I always make a point to always add some greenery to a space. If you don't make a trip to Home Depot this spring, a faux palm leaf requires zero upkeep (except for some dusting).

Finally, for all my infertility warriors out there, we can always use another pineapple in the house, right? Pineapples are a sign of fertility AND hospitality, so it's a win win!
Stack it on this gold tray and you're all set.

I want to clue you into two deals I found:

1. Sherwin Williams is having a 30% off sale on all paints. Show that coupon on your phone or print it out! If you're looking for good whites, Alabaster or Dover White would be perfect for this space.

2. The Home Section at Target is having a sale through April 1 as well.
PLUS! Use online code FURNITURE for an additional $40 off $150!

I hope you find some inspiration!
Thanks for reading!! XO

Mar 29, 2017

Designing My Life: Lemons into Lemonade


Happy Hump Day! I am very excited to share a new chapter of my life on this blog.

I have always used this blog as a sort of therapeutic outlet to spill the details of my journey to motherhood.

The blog has always been rather separate from the rest of my life, especially my career.

My career has taken an unusual path, one that started with my desire to create...so I set out to get my Bachelor's in Interior Architecture.
I did the commercial design thing for a while, and it was okay.
But I didn't love it, and over the course of the next ten or so years, I found new, interesting opportunities that eventually led me far, far away from design.

I am now fully encompassed in Human Resources and Finance. Two things I like a lot.
I worked hard, climbed the corporate ladder, and settled into a nice little private office a few towns over, with a company and team I am very happy with.

But something has been missing...and it became very apparent after my miscarriage.

One day this little quote popped up on my phone, and everything just clicked.

"The Bible talks about how God uses difficult situations to develop our character and make us stronger. Out of this darkness, out of this disappointment in my life, that's when God pushed me to another level that I didn't realize existed."

I realized that my life needs an all-encompassing, fulfilling purpose.
Whether or not a child is in my future is irrelevant. I am missing out on opportunities in my life, and on this blog, that could help fill those needs.

My LIFE is BIGGER than infertility. It always has been and it always will be.
There is more to me than the next shot or the next monitoring appointment.

I create beautiful things, and you fine folks love what I do, so why am I not showcases more of it?

I have always found comfort in taking a bit of inspiration and making it my own.
Wouldn't you like more of that?

Showing you more of my life, whether it's home design or a product I love, what I'm using and how I'm using it, ...shouldn't that also be included on this blog?

I get excited when I find something that makes my life better, so I have decided to let you in on that excitement as well.

It just seems fitting.

There is more to my life than my 9-5 job and making a baby.

There is this whole inspirational side that I don't let you into nearly enough.
And that is going to change, my friend.

I have all these wonderful ideas, and I will be putting in the extra effort to pull them out of my head and show them to you.

If it puts a smile on my face, I have no doubt it will do the same for you.

I'm excited to watch this new chapter unfold, and I hope you are too.
At the very least, there will plenty of pretty pictures to get your design juices flowing!


As always, thank you so much for reading and supporting my efforts. XO

Mar 27, 2017

Closure

Good morning.
As a lot of you know, I have been struggling to heal emotionally from my miscarriage.
For months I seem to be spinning in circles, never making it much further than a day or two a week where I feel "normal."

Usually by the weekend, all the emotions I have been ignoring all week, so I can get through work, come out in a big mess.

I'm not happy and as carefree as I have been in the past.
I have not had much hope for the future, or really given the future much thought.
It's hard to make plans, or decisions. Instead, I just try to move through each day and hope I don't completely break down.

I have been incredibly frustrated with myself.
That I can't just snap out of this funk, knowing I did all I could, and move forward.

I have known for a while that performing a very standard ritual of laying the baby to rest will likely ease my suffering. But getting to that point and resolving to actually make the effort to move forward has been the issue.

After roughly 24 hours of non-stop crying this weekend, I knew it was time.
Mark has wanted to add a large rock where Crash is buried, to make the area look nice, and I felt obligated to bury the babies memories as well, before we added the landscaping.

After he left me, I slept with his wubby (a tiny blanket with a bunny head) for a few months for comfort.
I gathered my pregnancy tests, an announcement photo, the letter confirming the discarding of our other abnormal embryos, my announcement t-shirt, the pig with wings I carried in my purse during our transfer, a bracelet I was going to give my brother with his due date on it, and finally, a letter I wrote to him.

We found a nice little box and put everything inside.
Mark dug a hole, I read the letter, we sobbed for a while, and finally laid his memories to rest.

Here is what I wrote (you might need a tissue)



But you know what?
I do feel better.
No sooner did we cover the little box with dirt....my heart started lifting.

Sure, I was tired and spent from the emotional toll the last few months have taken from me....but I laughed....really laughed this weekend, for the first time in a really long time.

I can't guarantee this was a cure-all for how sad I have been feeling.
At the very least, I feel like I was given permission to look into my future again...with hope.

And right now, that means everything to me.
Thank you for reading. XO


Mar 22, 2017

Documenting Our Journey Moving Forward

Mark and I have always been in two different places when it comes to spilling the details about this journey.

I am very much an open book.
I want to tell you everything I know, in detail, the moment it happens.

The catch-22 to my side is....if things start to go south, I have a hard time writing out my thoughts and tend to get stressed out and angry that everyone keeps asking for updates.

But that's what I get, right?
If I'm excited...then you get excited.

And if I'm struggling....well, as a society, we want all the juicy details, even if it's negative.
I know this first hand because my miscarriage post more than quadrupled my normal amount of blog traffic.

When I write a post, I tend to get around ~600 readers per day.
When I told you I miscarried, I got over 4,000 readers that day alone.

As Don Henley sang....people like dirty laundry.

With Mark, he would rather I not tell people anything, ever.
Our personal life has nothing to do with you, so why would I talk about it?

His catch-22, is when he realizes just how many people are rallying around us, rooting for us through this whole process and actually telling us how excited they are?

He is completely grateful and dumbfounded that all these wonderful people in our lives actually care.



As we navigate 2017...I have thought long and hard about what I want to do vs. what is good for both of us.

I will continue to update our journey, but at a more relaxed pace.

Currently, there are a lot of variables that need to find their home.

Knowing we are, perhaps, starting from square one again regurgitates all sorts of emotions:

giddiness for the fresh start
terror for the chance of failing again
worry about handling the whole process better
excitement for the chance to succeed
calm to try and hand off the results to God

Although we are clearly veterans in a life we never intended to live, this is our normal right now, and I open the opportunity to embrace the chaos and carve out more time for US in the process.

Do thoughts about babies and IVF and updates and money still constantly flood my brain?
You betcha.

But does that mean I need to make them my focus of my every move in life.
Hell no.

That means less updates.

Last year it was gogogo to the finish line.
Anything in the future will consist of...well, quite honestly I don't know what it will consist of.
It's a strange time right now.

How can YOU help?

Let me tell you.

Infertility is tough because know one knows how to handle it unless you've been there yourself.
Most nice people with good intentions tend to ask a lot of questions and offer unsolicited advice because, well....that's just how it goes.

The well-intended or not-really-that-harmful comment or suggestion may seem okay at the time, because at face value we will smile and say we're okay, but we are likely going home to dwell on the hand we've been dealt and possibly cry about the unfairness of it all....

Most people "think" they can relate, but honestly, even us infertiles don't have a lot more in common than the fact that we all have to do a lot of shots and see a specialist more times in a year than most do in a lifetime.

All of our paths are incredibly unique, just like the individuals walking them.

Infertility comes with its own set of guidelines and expectations that even I have a hard time grasping.

It's really more like a spooked animal....let the infertiles come to you...don't come barging at us, or we'll get scared.

It would help tremendously, to not constantly ask for updates and timelines and when is this happening and when is that happening....about babies.

And I get that may sound harsh.

But the thing is, if we have something to share, then we'll share it. Right?

And if we don't feel like talking about it, then we won't talk about it. Make sense?

I think that's more than fair to try and keep a normal-ish life in the process.

Let us come to you.

Thank you for reading and respecting our wishes and tagging along on this insane journey.
It ain't over til it's over.  XO :)

Mar 15, 2017

What Grief Really Feels Like After a Miscarriage

Hey there.
It has been three months since our miscarriage, so I thought I would talk a bit about how life has been, how we have been healing, and everything in between.

I have experienced loss and grief before. For the most part, I would fare to say that by the time we have hit our mid-30's...most of us have.

Grieving is not the same for everyone, but I thought I would share my thoughts.

Grieving the loss of a loved one, for me, was always a very downhill, linear process. I have witnessed losing someone over the course of a year, and also witnessed someone leave this earth over the course of a couple days.

I have to say, the long, drawn-out dying is hard to manage. Knowing at some point in the future, it's inevitably going to happen...waiting....day in an day out....praying....that maybe they will come out of it....accepting that it will eventually happen....you start to go through the grieving/healing process even before said loved one has passed onto the other side.

There is almost this sense of relief....a weight lifted, once it eventually happens. Not that you wouldn't trade that lighter feeling for a thousand more days with your loved one, but to finally have....closure....to know you can now heal and move forward with the wonderful memories of this person...says something.  Your life has been stagnant for so long while you waited for the other shoe to drop, that it's as if you have been given permission to move forward with their blessing.

The quick loss? Sort of like ripping a band-aid off. I had a deeply beloved grandfather essentially hide his ailments from his loved ones for as long as he could. He went on with life...at a slower pace, sure...but kept going until just a few days before his passing. In a weird way, I really loved that he did that. This may sounds sick but I was absolutely fascinated with his death. Not in a happy way, but that someone could keep his sense of self, until literally the day he passed seemed so honorable to me.  Sure, it came as a shock to us and we scrambled to coordinate his final days as he was laid to rest, but I much preferred the sanity that came pre-death, if that makes sense.

The days and weeks afterward were very tough. That grieving process, again, was rather linear. The overwhelming sadness of a life lost in my world went from all-encompassing to acceptable, to something I can now look back on with fondness, as opposed to tears 99% of the time.

Time truly does heal the grieving wounds.

When I miscarried, for the most part, I assumed my healing would be linear as well....and by linear, I mean similar to a slide. Not a very steep slide, but a slide nonetheless.

So in the first month, I did as I always did, and made plans.
I planned what the next year of IVF would look like.
I negotiated with doctors and laboratories and set-up insurance.

I planned outings with friends and family.
We distracted ourselves as best we could.

The explosion of emotions came often at first...every day in fact.
Whether it was sadness, or anger, or anxiety, or fist-clenching furious behavior, or all of the above...it was always there.

I felt heavy and exhausted and alone.

Friends and family sent an outpouring of love in those first couple of weeks, as would be typical in any loss.
We were especially grateful for the food,  as we literally didn't grocery shop for about a month. I could barely manage a shower at that point, and never bothered wearing anything different when at home.

How I made it into work in the weeks following the miscarriage is beyond me.
I was a shell of a person.
Fragile and angry and exhausted.

By the end of the first month, I seemed to be doing much better.
My crying spurts would show up unannounced once or twice a week, but I would force them away and move on with my life.

And then one day in February....I hit this massive wall.
I unloaded on Mark in a furious rage that scared both of us.
I threatened to ruin him and anything that got in my way.
I was livid. I was an embarrassment. I was so mad and scared and sad, and I could see myself doing all of this and I couldn't stop it. I could feel my blood boiling and the veins in my eyes about to explode. My fists clenched and I just screamed. I screamed and stomped and thrashed around like a complete maniac.
When I finally calmed down, I found myself unable to move.
I didn't make it into work the next day. I slept for hours and hours.
My mom came over at some point and just sat there...waiting for me to come downstairs.

At that point I couldn't see in the future.
I had no hope.
I couldn't understand why I even went to work. Why I was working so hard for a future I couldn't see anymore. I had no baby to keep me going. I had nothing.
I contemplated leaving the office. I stopped working out and lacked motivation for everything except feeding our pets.

I was scared because this relapse was how I felt at the time of my miscarriage.
I felt crazy and out of control and couldn't understand why it was happening AGAIN.


I knew the slightest thing could trigger my rage and anxiety, and I was SO. OVER. having people step in to try and help me. Phrases like, "it gets better with time" and "you will hop back in the saddle in no time" and "why are you still angry" and "you need to lighten up" haunted me and made me want to put my fist through a wall.

I KNEW I was acting crazy. No fucking person needs to keep reminding me.
I didn't need a band-aid.
I didn't need a solution.

I needed someone to validate that what I was going through was NORMAL.
I needed a shoulder to cry on, without judgement, for as long as fucking necessary until I could finally gasp for air again.

I felt more alone at this point that ever before.
My husband, poor guy, just wants things to be good again, he wants his "old wife back."

And here I am...sprouting these new, weird wings.

I am stronger and more aware of all the shit I am going through....but equally more fragile and timid.

I know what will set me off but I don't know HOW it will affect me...or WHEN for that matter.

The last thing I wanted to do was coordinate my insurance to deal with a dumb therapist.
But at the urging of family...I finally did.
It took a couple doctor's to find the right one.
I don't know if it will help, but at the very least, I have someone that I can unload on and can offer tips without trying to "fix" me.

These days, I know I am not 100%...but I am better than I was.
I will have a really, really good day....and the very next day I will feel that hollow void again.
But instead of pushing the feelings aside, I stop what I'm doing, and let them come.

Sometimes it takes minutes...sometimes it takes hours...and all my strength to allow it to happen.
It's not a perfect science.
But I supposed this is my new normal right now.
I am taking this overwhelming grief and molding it into something manageable.

A post shared by Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) on

There are not traditional closing ceremonies with a miscarriage.
I don't have a baby to bury.
And that doesn't sit well with me.

So at some point in the near future, we WILL be having a burial.
Of all the memories, of all the struggles of 2016, of my pregnancy, and my loss.

I love having Crash in our back yard. I can go talk with him whenever I feel like it.
I'd like the same thing with our baby. To help find closure as we move forward with life.

What I can suggest is this...if you find yourself with a friend or family member that is grieving the loss of their baby, through miscarriage, stillbirth, or beyond....please keep reaching out.

They do NOT need a solution...they need friends that just want to be there and have fun with.
They do NOT need you to be a therapist and ask how you are doing.
Trust me...they will show you they are not doing well by not showing up or cancelling plans.
And that's okay.

I find myself volleying back and forth with whether or not I am strong enough this week to actually go through with plans. Some weeks I can do it, and some weeks I pull back.
This is all very normal.

So please, keep reaching out. They may say no a dozen times, and then one day they will say yes.
And they don't owe you an explanation, so please don't expect one.

They are protecting their heart and their well-being as best they can, and again, this is NOT a linear process.

It's more like a mountain. Some parts are easy to climb down from, and then you're hit with another peak that you have to get over before it gets easier again.
And that's just how it goes.

I have been stead-fast at work on our bedroom (finally). It will take a while to be completely finished, but I am thrilled with the results so far.

We our doing our normal things, just at a much slower, lighter pace. We don't talk too far into the future, and try not to look too far into the past.

I am happy to just be enjoying each day as it comes, even if it's it's still snowing in March. :)
Thank you for continuing to follow our journey. XO

Mar 6, 2017

Walking with Faith


Life lessons come at some of the weirdest times for me.
And they usually happen when I'm out of my comfort zone.

Mark and I recently traveled to Wisconsin Dells for a quick overnight with some family members. We had reached out to them shortly after our miscarriage, knowing they have made the trip many times before.

We figured this would be something fun to look forward to in the wake of our loss.

The weeks leading up to our fun little trip seem to nearly drowned us in anger and sadness.
I could not stop looking back at all that we had worked for and lost.
I was depressed and lashing out and screaming and generally making an absolute fool out of myself as an adult.
Mark had been noticeably drinking more, and was generally tuned out from my sadness and frustration.

Instead of looking inward to each other, we were looking away, and it all came to a head just days before we left.
We were forceful with each other and our belongings, and threw around very real futures involving divorce. We were losing touch with each other and it seemed like neither wanted to keep putting in the effort to fix it.

But morning came.

And my husband shuffled towards the house from the garage where he had been sleeping.
I let him in and we sank into the couch.
Eyes blurred, hair a mess, un-brushed teeth.

I talked for a very long time.
I laid out how it is, what needs to change, what isn't working, and how we need to start viewing our life with infertility.

And then he talked.
And he brought in some understanding and perspective that aligned with me and opened up some views I hadn't considered.

Everyone will deal with a tough situation, and will do so differently.
Mark and I have always thought we have been rather blessed in life.
Sometimes it was more difficult than others, but we always seem to triumph and keep moving forward.

But infertility is a whole other beast.
The uncertainty and tension and nerves can literally tear you apart if you let it consume you.
And we almost let it.

Tempers have flared worse than when we were in our 20's, when we were trying to figure out this whole living together thing.
I suppose that is what happens when you throw an Italian and a German in a confined space for too long. :)

So anyways, it happened. It wasn't pretty. But we are still together, moving forward.

And the very next day we left for the Dells.

It has been nearly two decades since I went to a waterpark, and I very clearly remember how scared I was to climb all those steps, look down at my demise, and meekly crawl back down all those stairs because I just couldn't go through with it.
It was too high and too fast and too dark and I couldn't possibly make it out alive.

So here we are again doing the exact same thing. But I'm an adult and I have to try and keep it together.
We would start by watching people actually make it out of these tubes. Alive.
And with smiles on their face, to boot!

I gulped and nervously laughed as we started climbing flight after flight of stairs.
The thing about indoor waterslides is...they are all completely enclosed.
No light anywhere.
So you are just supposed to say OK as you fall straight down, or volley side-to-side, at increasing speeds until you are finally spit out in the end.

But I did actually ride on nearly every slide that involved a raft.
I made it out in one piece and even ended up with one of those damn cheesy ear-to-ear grins on my face!

On the way home, we were listening to Tom Petty and not really talking.
Just sort of enjoying the never-ending rolling hills of Wisconsin.

And I couldn't help but think how similarly aligned heading into a scary water-slide is with the likes of IVF.

When you know you have to go through IVF, you immediately look at the end result.

You see these new families with their tiny babies and you cry tears of happiness because you just know some day that's going to be you.

You'll get to hashtag with #webeatinfertility and make a heart of needles around a onesie and build a nursery and birth this blessed child.

As daunting as IVF seems, obviously it DOES work because you see these people holding their baby, after being spit out of the end of the IVF tunnel.

That's hope, right?

So you start climbing.

Higher and higher you go, your knees start to wobble a bit, because honestly, you have no idea how many more steps there are.

You can't quite ever see the end of the line, and for all you know there could be a million more, but you're just going to keep climbing because well....look how many steps you already took?
You couldn't possibly back out now. You've come too far!

And there are just so. many. people in front of you.
They will all get their babies before you and it doesn't seem fair.

You're just as eager as they are...why can't you just cut a little and get there faster, right?
You want it the MOST.

But that's not how it works.
You wait your turn like everyone else.

So then you FINALLY make it to the entry of the tunnel.
The pitch-black, dark tunnel.
And you thought the climb was the hard part because you clearly need to do more cardio.
And you are basically freaking out because you sort of forgot to ask if there was a map with all the twists and turns.

Spoiler Alert: There isn't one.

But you look over and your spouse is right there next to you, smiling like a crazy person, because it's finally our turn and it's scary but it's going to be great, right?

RIGHT?

You don't know what's ahead.
You don't know how many drops or twists or turns are going to happen.
You just have to walk with faith and trust that you are both going to get through it and likely be happier for doing it, but you just have to take that first step.

And when it's all said and done, you are being spit out of the bottom of the tunnel, the IVF tunnel, with baby in hand, sort of frazzled and dizzy.....but with HUGE SMILES plastered on your faces.

Because you FUCKING DID IT.
And IT WAS AWESOME.

Thanks for reading. XO