Candids & Courage

Every blogger should have a “get to know you” post.  I think with this year coming to an end, it makes this an appropriate time to do so.  About a month ago, I realized that my smart phone synchs my photos to my google account. Go ahead and laugh!  Moments like this make me realize I am only half millennial.  So instead of a bulleted list of boring facts about myself, I am going to take you on a small journey of my 2017 with photos that google now has safely tucked away.  If I can share the joys and heartache of this year in these unedited candid shots,  I hope you that you will get to know me a little bit better.


Happy Birthday to my husband! We discovered the magic of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.  We liked it so much that we purchased the yearly pass.  You couldn’t possibly see and do everything they have to offer in one day. Ethan’s favorite thing is the kiddie park with the rides and the giant carousel in the center of the zoo.


First week of February, we went on an overnight excursion to Miami to see one of Elie’s favorite French comedians.  The photo of me on the right is my “I really don’t want to be here but this is my brave face” photo.  This is the first time I took notice that my anxiety levels were beginning to get out of hand. Too many people, too much noise…I freaked out.

Feb Tampa AquariumLater that month, we explored the Tampa Aquarium.  It is super interactive with lots of different exhibits to experience. Super kid friendly.

february friendsThe closest friends I have in Florida. These two amazing ladies have given me the sense of friendship that I missed having back home.


My son was born with Urinary Reflux with one kidney significantly smaller and stunted in growth. He also was born with Duane’s Syndrome in one of his eyes.  This is basically a condition where the nerve responsible for horizontal movement of the eye is missing.  In his first 5 years of life, we logged countless hours at the children’s hospital.  I’ve learned how to navigate the medical system and insurance policies very well now!   This month marked our final visit until a follow up next spring!  He grew out of the reflux, it is almost non existent and his kidney is now within the accepted ranged of normal…still small…but I’m okay with “considered normal.”  I know the outcome could have ended much differently.

March work familyA photo of some of my work family.  Of course I had to add them in here!  I see these ladies more in a week than I do my own family!  I am beyond blessed to work with such incredible people.


april cidI became a member of Certified Interior Decorators International.  Finishing my diploma and obtaining this membership is one of my proudest achievements.  I had finally accomplished something I set out to do.  Up until this point, all I had was a list of unfinished projects, and unfulfilled goals.  Even though, I have decided to not work in that industry right now, The skills I learned are extremely valuable. I don’t regret a single minute of it.

april steph's first art showOne of my sister’s first art shows.  She is a truly talented artist with vision and passion.  I have watched her go out of her comfort zone and literally put it all on the table for the world to see.  She inspired me to not be afraid to put myself out there.   In fact, she was the one that suggested I do a fashion oriented blog.  And as a side note, her art can be purchased here:  Iris and Owl


Ethan graduates from VPK!  Such a bittersweet moment.  My boy is so incredibly smart, but we were doubtful that he was ready to attend kindergarten.  This year we discovered that he was developmentally behind and was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.  I could write a whole other post on being a parent of a child with this disorder.  As he stood on the stage with the other children, swinging his tassel and tripping on the stairs…it was painfully evident that he was different.  I remember sitting at the graduation in tears because I knew this was only the easy chapter that had come to an end.


june new carHappy Day in June! I leased a BRAND NEW car!  My northern family will silently mock my Honda. But its all good. I was ecstatic that I was able to pull out of the dealership in car with only 13 miles on it.  I was tired of second hand cars.  Something like this made me feel like a grown-up.  I had worked hard, negotiated tough and got what I wanted at a great deal.


Back to the Tampa Zoo for some Birthday Boy fun!  Ethan turned 5 years old! Instead of a party we went an saw the Dinos alive exhibit!


We went on two day trips before kindergarten started. First, to the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa and Second, to Siesta Key Beach.  Hands down, BEST Children’s museum I have ever been too.  And Siesta Key? Ahhh-mazing! How could I have lived in Florida for SEVEN years and not have gone to this beach yet?

august first day of schoolEthan starts kindergarten.  This photo is both happy and painful to look at. But I will still share it.  We were so proud. He was so proud. He was dressed so nice in his uniform, new sneakers, new backpack walking with his daddy on the first day.  I had no idea what we were in store for over the next 2 months.

I started this blog in August!  Swallowed my fear and just went for it!


This is the “we almost bought a house and then the hurricane came” month.  We were frantically looking for a solution to get Ethan into Sarasota public schools.  He couldn’t stay where he was because apparently charter schools don’t have to offer help for special needs. (wish someone at the school had told us the truth when we asked) and his assigned public school is just awful.  We lived through all his evaluations there…and the experience was terrible. I am keeping him out of that school at all costs.

Then the threat of Irma came.  We had to evacuate.  We live on a street where we will randomly loose power on a clear day.  There was no way I was staying with my sensory challenged child in a house without lights or ac.  The trip brought us back home to Providence. I was so happy. I had been away for years and it was an instant feeling of home upon arrival.  Seeing my family and friends felt like nothing had changed but everything has changed…I’ve changed, but I still belonged.  By the time we were ready to travel back to Florida, all I wanted was to pack everything and move back to Rhode Island.  I actually still do.  But life has played out in a way that I have to trust that God wants us in Florida right now.  This is where he has called me be for this season of life.


This is one happy and one sad picture.  We made the choice to remove Ethan from kindergarten all together.  Ethan’s class made him a book of memories and gave it to him on his last day.  We felt that even if we got him into a public school, at this point we were still setting him up for failure.  It was hard to explain to him.  He looked at me with his big eyes and asked, “if I learn how to color in the lines and use scissors correctly can I go back to kindergarten?”  Breaking this mama’s heart!!!  He started occupational therapy in June. He really needs a full year of it to work on developing skills and how to cope with his sensory issues.   BUT he learned how to ride a bike this month!  Parents of a neuro-typical child would be confused as to why a 5 year old has his parents hovering around him riding a bike…but with child who has trouble crossing mid line and has retained infant reflexes this is a challenging accomplishment with lots of help.

November and December

The end of this year has been a whirlwind. Right before Thanksgiving, my husband accepted a new job.  This is pretty much his dream job.  I am proud to see him so happy and filling fulfilled. The holidays were nice… nothing extraordinary to write about. Just calm and nice… which is exactly the note this year needed to end on.

* * * * * *

This year has also been a mental health journey for me.  I had a few days this year where a full blown panic attack set in, triggered by something small.  Completely, out of character for me. Anxiety isn’t just a word that people throw around. It is a very real thing that affects your quality of life.  I also started seeing a therapist. Change won’t happen overnight.  But it has been one of the best decisions I ever made.  I have learned more about myself and grown more this year than maybe I have in the last 10. No joke.

When I started this blog, I didn’t know what direction it would take.  I thought it would be about experiencing the fashion differences between new England and Florida.  Then I thought it would take on a body positivity angle… but my mental journey is what has fueled most of my posts and its angle has evolved into how fashion affects our psyche and well being.  Body positivity is all in the mind…and you can’t have it unless you have achieved a positive mental well-being.

If you have made it to the end, thank you for reading! I hope that this gave you a small snapshot into my life.  Please leave a comment and introduce yourself as well!






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