A House in the Woods

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is

Here is my 5 minute free-writing.

And, go. This is a pre-scheduled Finish the Sentence Friday post, and I can only hope that they didn’t change the topic out from under me, and that this isn’t posting optimistically early on a Friday morning, only to be completely irrelevant to.. everything. I’m going to assume that didn’t happen because the FTSF team wouldn’t do that. And even if so, hi! Here I am! I’m talking about home today. I fear I’ll waste five whole minutes on the introduction alone, but that’s ok. Once upon a time, well before amazing home renovations and the like, I realized this was our dream home. Or at least it had all the potentials of it. When we moved here, I was six months pregnant and we had an October blizzard. No power for 36 hours.

(This isn’t unlike last week’s April Winter Weather Advisory) We moved here and I was six weeks pregnant. I didn’t like the smells, only because there were any smells at all. It took me a long time to shift and adjust to this house, and I’m sure it felt the same about me. The truth is, it has good bones, and I think I do too. Des was settling inside my bones, and I was settling inside these bones. Since then, we have only made it better. There’s still room for a ton of growth, and I’m ready to take any plunges. My five minutes are up but here’s a piece I wrote when I figured it out. The dream, the dream, the dream:

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is

“When we were kids, my maternal grandparents were snowbirds. Now that they’re 98 and 100, they’ve been permanently locked in the Fort Lauderdale area for over a decade, but my parents and siblings and I remember our New England summers well. They weren’t as flashy as our annual Myrtle Beach, SC or Ocean City, MD vacations. Those were filled with hot beaches and amusement parks and junk food galore. Our just as annual, but not as riveting, New England summer vacations were more subtle in ways I didn’t fully appreciate until I got older. The houses changed over the years.

Sometimes they’d get the same one in Grantham, NH. Once or twice the house was in Vermont, surrounded by golf courses and moose. Often, the house was in New Hampshire amid quiet highways and what I used to think were very tall mountains, until I moved to the west coast. Though the location changed over the years, some things stayed wonderfully the same.

Creaky hardwood floors. Breezy summer nights with open windows. A breakfast bar to gather around. The constant smell of pine. A loft area we loved to stand up on and yell down to the first floor from. Sometimes we even threw things down.

I always knew we were close when driving through the tall trees, we could see windows of light from the houses deeply nestled in the woods. I always knew we were close because the radio would go down and all we’d hear was the sound of tires on a gravel driveway. Then we had arrived, truly. What would follow were long days of book reading or going to the lake, or for the more adventurous of us, we’d go all the way into town to the one restaurant – a pizzeria, and the one place of entertainment – a lonely arcade. Sometimes we’d drive an hour on the suspiciously empty highways to go to a children’s museum that was somewhere..in the middle of nowhere. I honestly don’t know where we were. I love the air of mystery.

On a somewhat related note, during the summer after my father died we did make our trip up to New England. Instead of five siblings, this was back when it was just me, my sister and my mom. This was a year or two before the Brady Bunch marriage. We stopped somewhere in nowhere, Massachusetts at a diner. I really wanted a waffle but they only had pancakes. I was a grieving but adorable four-year-old and the waiter actually, proudly, somehow, had made me a waffle.

I think he put pancake batter in the grilled cheese press. Years later, we still bring up that memory. After I moved from NJ to California to Massachusetts, my mom, uncle and I pieced together where that diner was. In Florence, Massachusetts. Florence is part of Northampton. I live in Florence now. We went to that same diner, years later, when I was pregnant with Scarlet, and sat in the same booth. We also went after Des’ 20 week ultrasound to celebrate our unborn son’s health.

I don’t know the towns and cities we stayed in or trampled upon in New Hampshire and Vermont all those summers ago. However I’m sure somehow I have retraced some of those steps in my adult life. I’m sure I’ve been drawn to them like mosquitoes to the light. Somehow, I always find myself back in meaningful places, without having any conscious way of knowing how to get back there. I do remember that every year, my grandfather would take us to Dartmouth to browse the bookstore. It was mainly my thing so he sometimes would only take me, and we’d eat at a Dartmouth dining hall.

We were restless and easily bored kids, I think. I don’t think that’s unusual. The pace of life in a remote New England town was something I had to grow into. These weren’t your beach New England vacations with clam chowder or lobster in a pot.

This was life in the deep trees, as I always imagined it.

I can’t find any pictures from there, although I’m sure my parents have millions, but here’s a sampling of what my poor elders were dealing with during those trips. They probably just wanted to read and relax for days. We were quite the haul:

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Years ago, Scarlet spent the day with her grandmother. It couldn’t have come at a better time because I was on day two of complete laryngitis and would not have been able to be with her all day without being able to talk to that cute face.

Scarlet was brought back to us near her bedtime, after dusk had passed, and darkness had fallen. We heard the telltale sound of tires on a gravel driveway. I looked out the window to the tall, tall trees. I heard footsteps on the wooden-planked ramp to our front door. And then she was returned to us, sleepy putty in our arms. I was overcome with memories of being that slumped over, half-asleep child being handed from the car to the bed under the watchful New England sky.

The same sights and sounds. The same smell. Just 10-15 years later in a different state, but with the same geography and atmosphere. I could close my eyes and barely tell the difference between the present, and the time that had passed.

It’s funny how we find ourselves back to the places we once found ourselves in, but never imagined we’d settle. Maybe my summers in New England planted the seed in my brain that this was where I wanted to be. Maybe I would have found myself here anyway. It didn’t seem likely in the fast-paced and populated Jersey life I was so accustomed to. It didn’t even seem likely when I was about to move to California and I was pretty sure I’d embrace that lifestyle forever. (I still might)

Yet, here I am in my house in the trees. Gravel driveway and no visible neighbors. Grown up and grown into these bones.”

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “My home..” (5 minute free writing) And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.

What would you say?

5 Reasons You Will Love Boscov’s All Year Long!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boscov’s, and as usual, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!

On Saturday, I got to attend Boscov's VIP Home Sale -  a semi-annual houseware event full of vendors, product samples, demonstrations, and great sales. While there, I fell in love with everything about Boscov's. This is my post-event recap, but also my reasons you'll love it year round! #ad #BoscovsHome

I think by now you know that I’m a gusher. Not gusher as in juicy fruit snack, but gusher as in “one who gushes.”

I can’t contain my enthusiasm. I used to think that maybe it was cute and infectious and charming, and perhaps it still is, but I always worry that the older I get, maybe people think it’s strange? The way I gush all over people when I meet them and I really like, love or respect them. And it’s the way I gush over details about food, moose, travel, etc. As an Influencer, I sometimes get to travel for work, or to attend events. I had one in Boston over the winter, and I couldn’t stop fangirling over the people I got to meet. Luckily, they haven’t stopped hiring me or emailing me, so I’ll call it a win. I gush, you see.

I’m naturally enthusiastic and passionate, and you all know that I LOVE my job. The reason I went into this is because I’m obsessed with details. Imagine a career you can do mostly at home, that is about details?! On Saturday, I gushed far more than I’ve ever gushed at work. I was humbled and honored to attend Boscov’s VIP Sale. This is a semi-annual houseware event full full of vendors, product samples, demonstrations, and great sales. It’s like Black Friday, but for housewares, and mostly (mostly) without the winter weather. No promises on that one, unfortunately. Des was sick and had to stay home, but my darling daughter came to help me shop! As you can imagine, she had NO trouble doing this with me, of course.

On Saturday, I got to attend Boscov's VIP Home Sale -  a semi-annual houseware event full of vendors, product samples, demonstrations, and great sales. While there, I fell in love with everything about Boscov's. This is my post-event recap, but also my reasons you'll love it year round! #ad #BoscovsHome

This was a big deal for me. Not only did I get to enjoy Boscov’s in all their friendly, fast-paced, exciting glory, but I also got to meet two colleagues I have long considered to be both mentors and friends. Basically it was one of the best days of my business life, and maybe even my life. I smiled from ear to ear all day! The shopping was exquisite! I got to see some of my housewares in action, and even tried incredible samples. We ate, we laughed, we shopped, we learned, we loved!

Emphasis on the loving and learning! Here are 5 reasons you will love Boscov’s all year long:

1 – The customer service. It’s WHOA! I was nervous that morning, because it mattered to me. Scarlet and I left early in the morning on a gorgeous, sunny, mountain-filled drive to Albany. It took us a little over an hour, and then we were instantly welcomed into the store. Whenever I had a question, someone was always there to answer it. And I was offered help around every bend. I think the sales associates and the cashiers were beyond knowledgeable and helpful too! We were charmed.

On Saturday, I got to attend Boscov's VIP Home Sale -  a semi-annual houseware event full of vendors, product samples, demonstrations, and great sales. While there, I fell in love with everything about Boscov's. This is my post-event recap, but also my reasons you'll love it year round! #ad #BoscovsHome

On Saturday, I got to attend Boscov's VIP Home Sale -  a semi-annual houseware event full of vendors, product samples, demonstrations, and great sales. While there, I fell in love with everything about Boscov's. This is my post-event recap, but also my reasons you'll love it year round! #ad #BoscovsHome

2 – The selection! This is another big whoa! I had looked online and at flyers before the VIP event, but they had everything on our list, and even the more esoteric things. They had a MOOSE trash can! And bath pillows and a popcorn maker.

3 – It’s kid-friendly. It’s true that this was a special event, but the kid sections were easy to navigate and full of exactly what Scarlet loved and wanted. We had a blast walking through the whole store and noticing the details.

4 – Boscov’s is active in the community. They actively participate in events in each of their local communities, and make sure that their fundraisers remain local too. They hold food and clothing drives, bake sales, paper pin-up sales and other fundraising and awareness events for local community organizations. You can keep up with their events on their site!

5 – History and family. Boscov’s has been known for great value, famous brands, and wonderful customer service for 100 years!

On Saturday, I got to attend Boscov's VIP Home Sale -  a semi-annual houseware event full of vendors, product samples, demonstrations, and great sales. While there, I fell in love with everything about Boscov's. This is my post-event recap, but also my reasons you'll love it year round! #ad #BoscovsHome

On Saturday, I got to attend Boscov's VIP Home Sale -  a semi-annual houseware event full of vendors, product samples, demonstrations, and great sales. While there, I fell in love with everything about Boscov's. This is my post-event recap, but also my reasons you'll love it year round! #ad #BoscovsHome

As you can tell, we had a great time and we can’t wait to go back! While the VIP event was amazing, the deals, sales, and benefits of going to Boscov’s last all year long. If you’re in or near an area with Boscov’s, you have to go! And it’s worth making the trip. Next time, Cassidy and Des will come! We already have a plan to stock up before summer on all the goods!

Have you ever visited a Boscov’s location?