“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
–   Stanley Horowitz

With the arrival of October comes the expectancy and giddiness of the holidays. A word that best describes this time of year is ‘hygge’, which is a Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” YAS. All of that. I start to crave all things fall – apple cider donuts, hot toddies, baked apple anything. Things begin to move a little slower, the air becomes cooler, the wool sweaters emerge. Wood burning fire becomes my go to scent, apples are picked, the beaches become a silent recluse for us locals. Close friends gather for our annual Friendsgiving, piles of leaves are played in, comfort meals begin to make their rotations in our kitchen. It really is the best time of year. Experiencing the holidays with a little one makes even extra special. I hope this post makes you feel some form of hygge.

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

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It’s safe to say that the PNW is a heavy favorite of mine. Shawn and I have talked about moving out there for what seems like a dozen years, but obviously remaining with our roots here in NJ. When my dear friend + travel companion, Christina Lilly, was taking a quick trip out to the beautiful state of Washington for work, I took it upon myself to tag along. This was my first solo trip away from my girl, but I knew I was in dire need of some mountains and the west coast.

This place is truly magical, even in the dead of winter. With only a suitcase full of film + sweaters, we ventured out to the scenic Olympic Peninsula with zero plans other than to take it all in, breathe deeply and explore, explore, explore. The beauty is difficult to put into words, let alone capture it through a lens. But I tried. And my word, is it beautiful.

Focusing on yourself plays second fiddle when you become a mom, and this time away was exactly what I had needed. I visited a friend and her daughter out in Vernon, catching up while standing under giant bridges and along ocean side cliffs. We shared coffee and a chat with Aran Goyoaga, who has fueled my inspiration for many years.  We took the short amount of time we had and filled it to the brim with quality life experiences (and really good salted chocolate chip cookies.)

Until next time.

 

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“We were together, I forget the rest.”
– Walt Whitman

Since we were married almost 4 years ago, we have revisited our wedding location on each anniversary. The first time we returned, I was pregnant with little miss, the second we brought her as a wee babe, and now she was running all over Warren Street with her curls in a teeny pony tail. A weekend well spent in one of our favorite areas in Upstate NY, drinking IPA’s at the Spotty Dog, reading books next to the wood burning stove in our cabin, watching Castella roll around in the brightest of golden leaves, filling the memory bank to the brim. The multicolored ivy growing on numerous buildings, the smelllllll of burning firewood that I die for, the small antique shops and local wine + cheese stores that have us enamored time and time again, are only a few of the reasons  we always come back here.

My hopes are to always bring her to this beautiful spot, show her where our voices shook while we shared our vows and shed dozens of tears overlooking the Catskills during the most brilliant times of the year.

Autumn.

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I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world. – Mary Oliver

Maine became high on our list on places to visit in the summer. I had been in the fall around 7 years ago but felt it was always too far of a drive to head there with a toddler. My search for a little seaside getaway kept leading me back to Maine. With our experiences traveling with Castella thus far, we thought we could do it if we broke up the drive with a few spots along the coast.

Portland showed us it’s adorable appeal with hip coffee shops, cobblestone streets, delicious food and fishing wharves. We stopped at the moody Portland Head Light, consumed our first lobster roll of the trip and settled our tired bones into a 200 year old farmhouse right outside of the city. The next day we headed up the coast to charming Camden to visit friends + spend the day playing tourists. Fresh lobsters on the beach, easy conversation, an icy dip in the bay with inspiring new friends was just what we needed.

Onward to Acadia. We stayed at a working farm about 45 min from the national park, chocked full of everything our family loves. Chickens, roaming cats, bountiful vegetables growing at our feet, wildflowers that grew over our heads. The tiny cabin was set back in the middle of the farm, where we took outdoor showers and cooked fresh eggs on the grill outside. Castella took full advantage of all of the animals, chasing cats and turkeys with each step. The family who ran the farm allowed us to venture into their greenhouse, pick their wild blueberries and take a tour of the barn. It was definitely a highlight for us.

We were greeted in Acadia by our close friends (who are our neighbors in Long Branch!) who happened to be camping there at the same time as our trip. Clearly hikes and adventures were in order. An outing including tide pools in search of star fish (which we never did see), some shy, hidden crabs + wide open spaces. The views along the rocks (and a sleeping toddler in a backpack) were spectacular.

Heading home, we drove down the coast which was my favorite part of the trip. Sleepy fishing towns, the best lobster roll I ever had and beautiful stretches of wildflowers every road you turn. I could not have loved Maine more. There was so much pretty to see, and those soft stoned overcast beaches are something I can never tire of. The quiet, the saltiness, the fishermen, the abundance of greenery, the mountains and the sea are what will bring us back here year after year. These are the memories that I’ll cling to.

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