I love my college girlfriends. They are the ones who have seen me at my best and worst, and still choose to be my friend anyway. I met a core group of college girlfriends through a combination of living in the dorms and my sorority pledge class. These are the girls who ironed my hair- literally with an iron- before I discovered the Helen of Troy straightener (even before there was Chi). We lived together, went on Spring Break together, and were in each other’s weddings. Unfortunately, we all live far away and found it hard to get together once we started our careers, got married, and had children.
Melissa lives in San Francisco, has two children, and works in sales.
Stephanie lives in Washington, D.C. and juggles her career as a research consultant with her packed social calendar.
Emily lives in Orlando, has a toddler, and is an elementary school teacher.
Amanda lives in Fort Lauderdale, has two children, and is a physician’s assistant.
In 2010, we started the tradition of meeting in a different city for an annual girls’ trip. In 2013, we made an exception and had a family trip, which included children and significant others. We canned that idea the following year because it was difficult to have meaningful “girl time” when we were busy changing diapers and trying to prevent our toddlers from drowning in the pool. So far, we have gone to Newport, Boston, Dallas, Sarasota, and Orlando. My favorite location has been Newport because it’s a historic and “walkable” city where you don’t need a taxi to get around. There were plenty of restaurants and shops within walking distance from the Bed and Breakfast where we stayed. Our inner nerds convinced us to tour Rough Point, one of Newport’s many mansions, and the former home of philanthropist and tobacco heiress, Doris Duke. This mansion tour was the inspiration behind my daughter’s name. The first time I ever heard the name Arden was when the tour guide said it was the name of Doris Duke’s only daughter, and I loved it so much that it became my first daughter’s name (beating out Harper and Channing, but I digress…)
The Girls in Boston in 2011. I was five months pregnant with my first daughter.
What are your favorite traditions with friends who live far away? How do you make time for your friends once you get busy with life’s obligations?
Happy 2015 everybody! I hope everyone is having a nice start to the new year and had a good time ringing it in last night.
A new year always triggers a need for me to reflect on what worked in my life and what didn’t in the last year, including what I want to change and what should stay the same. This can be tough because it forces me take a long, honest look at my weaknesses, which is never fun. I’ve taken a personal vow to remain completely authentic 100% of the time with total disregard about what other people think (my first step: putting myself out there on the internet). I’ve come to realize, in this journey to authenticity, that many of my actions were performed out of fear, obligation, or guilt, rather than a sincere desire to do them. I was taking on too many commitments and it was straining my career, marriage, and friendships. For instance, I was so stressed about accepting five consecutive after-work dinner invitations in one week that I wasn’t enjoying the brief time I had at home with my family after work- all I could focus on was getting myself dressed and out the door on time for whatever obligation I shouldn’t have accepted in the first place. I was constantly saying “yes” when I really wanted to say “no,” but feared that the “no” would let other people down or would cause the invitations to stop coming. I can’t let myself be guided by fear.
My theme for 2015 is “just say no!” I will just say no to committing myself to doing things I don’t truly want to do. I will just say no to spending time with people who I don’t genuinely want to spend time with. I will just say no to allowing myself to be distracted by technology during what should be “quality time” with my daughters. I will just say no to overextending myself through membership in organizations that no longer suit my interests or further my goals. I will just say no to allowing myself to feel guilty for declining invitations to dinners, weddings, showers, or birthday parties unless these events are things I completely want to attend.
What are your goals for 2015?
Without being obnoxiously mushy, finding out that our second child was going to be a girl was a proverbial dream come true. I always knew in my heart that I would be the mother of two girls. My sister, Amanda, and I are two years apart and inseparable (although it wasn’t always like that growing up when we were arguing over clothes and the phone). When my husband and I discovered we were having another girl, I felt excited that my daughters would be close in age and someday have the bond that Amanda and I are lucky to have.
I love the colors and theme of our oldest daughter’s room, but wanted our second daughter’s room to be completely different, just as we want her one day to embrace the inner peace that comes with “marching to the beat” of her own drum.
After running circles around Pinterest, poring over children’s magazines, and consulting with some fashion-savvy friends, here is the final product:
The pouf, bedding, and curtains are part of the Bazaar collection at the Land of Nod. The fauxidermy and framed wall art is from Z Gallerie. The burlap wreath is from Etsy and the diaper container on top of the changing table is from The Container Store. The night stand and changing table are from a local vintage furniture store. Last but not least, the rug, which is my favorite part of the nursery, is part of the Wyndham collection with Safavieh.
As my “baby” is now seven months old, she has gotten a lot of use out of the nursery (we didn’t let her over-welcome her stay in our bedroom like we did with our first daughter). We have enjoyed watching the girls “play” together in the nursery and hope they realize, when they are someday teenagers and arguing over clothes and the phone, that they will ultimately be best friends.