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Love List

Monday, May 4, 2020

Quarantine Date Night Ideas

With restaurants and other date night spots being closed it may be hard to think of fun things to do together, but it is so important to still have "dates". You definitely don't have to go out to have a date night with your significant other and its so important to still have fun nights together even though we are quarantined. Here are some fun date night ideas that you can do at home (hubby and I have done these!). 

Backyard date night, quarantine date ideas, backyard inspiration
Teepee // Blanket // Pillows // Tray (similar) // Lantern // Kimono

Have a Backyard Picnic!

Hubby and I were so excited that it finally warmed up over the weekend so we decided to have a backyard picnic! Pour some wine, make a charcuterie board and watch the sunset! We set up this adorable teepee with a bunch of pillows and just relaxed. It was the perfect simple romantic date and you don't need a teepee like us, just take bunch of blankets and pillows and lay them in the grass or on the patio! 

Backyard inspiration, teepee, date night ideas, backyard decor

Backyard date night, quarantine date ideas, backyard inspiration

Have a Themed Dinner Night

Have a themed dinner! Think a Mexican night or Italian night! We had a Mexican night where we made tacos and margaritas. Pick a country and make food that is popular in that country, you could take it up a notch and play some music to fit the theme as well. Have fun with it and make the meal together!

Have a Karaoke Night

This is one of my favorite date night ideas. Hubby and I always have so much fun when we do karaoke nights together. It is such a great way to just do something silly and light hearted. The other night we did a country theme and sang all country songs together. There are so many themes you could do: 90's night, 80's night, pop, rock, ect. We have this Karaoke machine from Amazon, but you could also get something super simple like this handheld bluetooth microphone. 


I hope these ideas give you some inspiration and that you get to try them out with your significant other. Even though we are quarantined and you may be spending more time together then usual, it is so important to still set aside time for official date nights. The options are endless, just think outside the box and have fun!

xoxo
-Nicole





Thursday, April 30, 2020

What it is Like to Lose a Parent

"Is this Nicole...." "Yes, I responded with a shaky voice. "I am so sorry but your mom has passed". Those are the words I will never forget.. I remember it just like it was yesterday- my husband and I got up at 7AM to get dressed quickly to rush to the nursing home when I got that terrible call. I  don't even remember my response to the woman on the phone, all I remember is feeling my legs give out as I dropped to the floor in tears. I felt like I could barely breathe as my husband threw his arms around me. It was almost as if time had stopped, it didn't feel real. 

 If you have lost a parent or a parental figure in your life, I am sure you understand these feelings.  I have been wanting to discuss this on my platform for quite some time as I am sure there are many that can relate. With Mothers Day just around the corner I have been reflecting and of course thinking about my mom. It is hard seeing commercials, advertisements, and gift guides for mom this time each year. Its even harder when you're at the store right before Mother's Day and someone tells you to "Have a nice day with your mom!" (true story).  My hope is that my story brings you comfort in knowing you are not alone. 



Dealing with Grief 


I felt empty, I felt alone even though I had those I loved around me, and I felt like everyone didn't quite know how to treat me. I felt like everyone was looking at me like I was broken or that they couldn't say anything without upsetting me. I also had some people in my life who were too selfish to be there for me when I needed them most. I wasn't looking for anyone to say anything, because really what can you say? I just wanted to know I wasn't alone. 

 After my moms passing I felt guilt. Why didn't I go visit more? Was there more I could have done? Maybe I didn't pick out the right nursing home? Why didn't I realize she was sick sooner?. These were all of the thoughts racing through my mind. In the end I know I did the best I could, but I think there's always a bit of guilt or feelings of "what if" when someone passes. This is definitely the hardest part of the grieving process. 



Losing a parent is a pain that I would not wish on anyone. Although my mom and I had an interesting relationship there is not a day that goes by that I don't wish I couldn't just pick up the phone to call her. My mom struggled with alcoholism for most of my life and this definitely got worse when her father died. I was in 7th grade when I learned she was dealing with alcoholism and I really started to understand and see the volatile side of this addiction. Unfortunately, on November 16th 2017 my mom lost her battle with alcoholism. Six months prior I had found out that she was in end stage liver failure and I had to watch her become more and more ill with each visit to the nursing home. She no longer knew who I was, she lost a ton of weight during this time due to her no longer being able to feed herself and swallow (she was put on a feeding tube), and she had an infection where she would have needed her leg amputated should she have lived longer. To say watching her die wasn't the most painful thing I have ever experienced would be a lie. During this time I definitely felt alone, my mom had pushed away most of the people in her life due to her addiction so in the end she really only had me. I visited as much as I could but it definitely was hard. I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone about it or that they wouldn't understand. I felt like way too many people looked at her like "she did it to herself" and I hated that. No one saw what I saw, no one had to watch her suffer in pain, no one had to see her slowly slip away like I did. To this day it still haunts me and there are moments where I think of those days and cry. I don't think you ever really forget something like that. Thank goodness I had my husband with me through it all. 


What I Learned

During this time I really learned who was there for me and I also learned how I deal with my emotions. Everyone handles pain and grief differently. I personally like to deal with things on my own and I don't like to be vulnerable (which I am working on). I am here to tell you that its okay to feel sad, its okay to cry, its okay to feel like the world around you is ending, but I am also here to tell you that its okay to want to process your emotions on your own, it is okay to want to keep busy, and its okay to want to be alone. When dealing with the loss of a parent you need to cope in the best way for YOU. Although this pain will always be there, you will have better days and your loved one would want you to be happy. 

If you are a friend of someone who has lost a parent, be patient with them. Your friend may not want to talk about it and your friend may not want to cry in front of you. On the other hand they may be craving some sense of normalcy and are looking to you to help with that. Be kind, be sympathetic, and just be there. It is okay to ask how they are feeling and how you can best help them during this difficult time in their life. Your friend may not be emotionally available to help you through your difficult times right now, just understand this and try not to get angry with them for it. They just lost one of the most important people in their life (no matter what the relationship looked like) and they just need to know they are not alone. It may take a little time for them to start acting like themselves again, but I promise you they will. It took some time for me, and yes I still have moments but I know my mom would want me to live a happy life whether she is physically here with me or not. I know she will always be there in spirit and I find comfort in that. 

Losing a parent is definitely a pain that never quite goes away but you will start to have more good days as time goes on. Of course there are days I am sad that my mom did not get to see my first house, and she won't be here when we decide to have children, but I am so grateful for all of the wonderful memories she was there for like my wedding. If you are or have been struggling with the loss of a parent, just know you are not alone and I understand. If you ever need to talk, feel free to reach out, no one should have to feel alone. Just know your loved one is looking over you and they are so proud of you. They may not be physically here but they are always in your heart. 

xoxo

-Nicole 

Huge thank you to Dune Jewelry for the special necklace as seen in the photos.  The necklace contains sand from where we spread my moms ashes. It is a piece I wear proudly and one that I hold dear to my heart. Thank you for also encouraging me to share my story. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Let's Do Our Part!

Hi everyone! I know it has been a while since I have written a blog post. I'm going to be honest, it just feels weird to do so with everything going on in the world. My heart hurts for those that have been impacted by COVID-19. I worry for all of the men and women who are on the front lines of this virus and their families. So many people have been impacted by this all over the world. 
My blogger friends and I felt compelled to help in whatever way we could so we have decided to come together to raise money for 3 organizations who are helping fight this virus. We wanted to be able to help a variety of individuals so we will be splitting the donations evenly between the 3 organizations. Keep reading to hear a little more about each organization and we really hope you'll consider donating (the link for our gofundme can be found here).

Direct Relief

Direct Relief is working to provide PPE and essential medical items to those responding to COVID-19. They are delivering masks, gloves, gowns, and other protective gear to healthcare organizations across the country. This is so important as I am sure you have seen there is a shortage everywhere. You can read more about what they are doing in response to COVID-19 here.

The CDC Foundation

The CDC Foundation "helps the CDC do more faster". They partner with the CDC and others in order to fight threats to help and safety.

Feeding America

Feeding America partners with communities and food banks in order to bring food to those in need. Since schools are closed, many children aren't able to access the free or price reduced meals they were once receiving in school. Families are struggling to put food on the table due to loss of income or other life events. Feeding America works to provide emergency grants to food banks and they are partnering with school districts and local government agencies in order to provide food to the children who rely on those school meals. You can read more about what they are doing here

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you in advance for any donations you are able to provide. Any amount counts whether its 1$, 5$ or even 50$. We have a goal of 1500$ so we are able to donate 500$ to each organization and I am confident together we will all meet that goal! Feel free to share our link with your friends and family. You have the power to make a difference, you never know who you have helped with your donation. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/njbloggers-covid19-relief-fund 

xoxo
-Nicole 

Quarantine Date Night Ideas

With restaurants and other date night spots being closed it may be hard to think of fun things to do together, but it is so important to st...