10 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me

There’s nothing like it in the world; motherhood is amazing, eye-opening, challenging, and completely transformational. Here are a few of the many life lessons I’ve learned over the past six months since becoming a mom to this little baby girl.

1.  Moms are BADASS. Besides the whole carrying a baby (which may or may not go smoothly, see here) for plus or minus 40 weeks thing PLUS giving birth (which is NO joke btw) moms can fit a day’s worth of tasks into an hour and an hour’s worth into 10 minutes…because we have to. What can I say, moms are pretty much superhuman.

2.  Time is better than diamonds…and chocolate…and wine. Time is the one thing that moms always want more of and never have enough of. Somehow, six months have passed in the blink of an eye since this little one entered the world. As they say, the days are long, but the years are short. Time, please slow down.

3.  Something’s gotta give. Priorities change and sacrifice is a must. For me, my #1 priority is baby girl and posting here or on social media, going to the gym, cooking dinner, dog walking, housework, and self care sometimes take a back seat. Do what you can, when you can and try to let go of #momguilt. 20 minute at-home workouts and a dinner smoothie have become quite popular around here. It’s just not all possible to fit in to 24 hours, so, cut yourself some slack; you’re keeping a mini human(s) alive and that’s a pretty big deal.

4.  Moms are flexible AF. I mean yogis are flexible, but moms are flexible-er. Go ahead, try to make a plan, schedule, routine around a mini human and their constant plot twists. And, just when you think you have it all down, everything changes…

5.  Moms are some of the most selfless beings on the planet. They live their lives based on the greater good of their children and family. Although I’ve always wanted kids, it wasn’t until the past few years that I really felt ready to put someone else before myself. It’s not about me anymore and although that’s an adjustment, it’s more than ok when looking at this face.

6.  Mom brain is REAL. If you are a mom with mom brain, have a mom with mom brain, or know a mom with mom brain, cut them some slack. Growing up, I remember my friends rolling our eyes when our moms said something a little loopy, but these days, I can barely put a sentence together or do basic math and it’s only the beginning. The struggle is real, folks.

7.  There’s nothing’ more humbling than cleaning up after a full-on diaper explosion; it will challenge you, ground you, test you, lighten the mood, and force you to live in the moment like nothing else can. It’s astounding how someone so tiny can make such a catastrophic mess.

8.  Worrying is the new normal. It does not stop. What if baby learns to crawl while I’m in the shower and crawls to the top of the stairs and then falls down the stairs and I don’t hear her?  Is that her crying? I think I hear her crying...These thoughts cross my mind all day long and I know that they will every single day from now to first steps to teenage years and beyond.

9.  Whatever you do, do NOT Google it. Ok, so that’s virtually impossible, I’ve probably googled random baby/postpartum questions at least once a day everyday since birth. Sometimes it helps, but most of the time it takes #8 (see above) and quadruples it.

10.  Mom life is the best life. There’s no arguing that. It’s just the best. This teeny, tiny growing human fills up your heart every single day and there’s no way I’d trade the mom brain, worrying, sleepless nights, and messy days for anything on earth. Life will never be the same again…and for that I am forever grateful.

One Healthy Breakdown: moms are the most blessed.

Healthy Communication

Communication is a skill we use every single day. Preparing for my upcoming wedding and attending Precana this past weekend has me thinking a lot about communication, arguably the number one most important factor in a relationship. To me, healthy communication is the ability to clearly express how we feel. While it sounds so easy, when emotions and different opinions are added into the mix, effective communication becomes quite challenging. I know I’ve gotten pretty darn good at the silent treatment, but it really doesn’t get me anywhere near a resolution…so, I’m committing to be less silent and more communicative. Who’s with me?!

Couple Holding Hands With the new season starting, it’s the perfect time to identify some personal goals and things to work on; communication is a great place to start. Whether you’ve been married for 50 years, you’re in a new relationship, or you just want to get along better with friends and family, communication is something we can all strengthen. Here are some tips on healthy communication and constructive arguments (adapted from A Decision to Love by John and Susan Midgley.)

1. Focus on you. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. Instead of “you always/never do this,” use “I wish you would/wouldn’t ___ because it makes me feel ____.

2. Focus on your feelings instead of what others are doing wrong. Feelings aren’t debatable, we all feel how we feel and have the right to express them. Understand that arguing should be an opportunity to share and validate your feelings, not to prove right vs. wrong.

3. Deep breaths. Take a breath and a moment to collect yourself in order to remain calm. As soon as we lose our cool and get heated, that’s when things turn for the worst and communication becomes unhealthy and ineffective.

4. Take turns. Instead of a screaming match where nothing is heard because you’re both going at it at once, allow each other to finish the thought and then respond. It’s much cleaner that way.

5. Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. This will keep your attention and show respect. Looking at the person will also help to remind you that you’re upset about the disagreement, but that your feelings for the other person have not changed.

6. Keep it simple and focused. Argue about what you’re arguing about instead of bringing up past issues or other topics. Being direct can solve the problem at hand instead of leading into a blow-out fight where neither participant even knows why you’re fighting.

7. Remain respectful. Don’t bring up sensitive spots that don’t even relate just to knock the other person down. An argument can only be healthy when there’s a level of mutual respect. Cheap shots don’t get anyone anywhere.

8. Last but definitely not least: LISTEN. Yes, share your part, but really listen to what the other person has to say. They may just tell you something you didn’t know or change your perspective on the issue at hand. If nothing else, they deserve your attention when expressing their feelings and vice versa. Learning occurs through listening.

One Healthy Breakdown: Arguing is healthy, normal, and inevitable. We all do it. But is it constructive or destructive? Healthy or unhealthy?

Life Lessons by Sammy

1. A day without smiling and a good tail wag is a wasted day.

photo 12. You only live once, get your paws on as many treats as possible and enjoy every last crumb.

3. Every one (and every thing) wants to be your friend, they just don’t know it yet.

4. Be creative. Anything can be a chew toy if you use your imagination.

photo 55. Breakfast is the reason to wake up in the morning.

6. Car rides are magical mysterious adventures.

photo 47. You’re never too big to be a lap dog.

8. A good cuddle cures everything.

photo 29. Ice cream is not overrated.

10. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

11. If you’re unsure about a situation, always sniff it out.

12. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.

13. Life’s a beach. At the beach.

photo 314. If you find yourself seated outside of LT Burger, you’re in luck. The burgers are to die for.

15. When in doubt, mark your territory.

16. Don’t let summer pass you by without a good sprinkler party.

photo 317. Good looks aren’t everything but they sure do help.

18. Always lick the bowl clean. No one likes waste.

19. Never underestimate the power of a good belly rub.

20. Being man’s best friend is no small task.

photo 221. Sad puppy dog face gets you a lot in life.

photo 122. Love makes the world go ’round.

One Healthy Breakdown: Wise words from one cute pup.

One Healthy Photographer

One Healthy Photographer, Kate Petrone, is a Hamptons local with an eye for art, both in and out of the kitchen. Her love for photography and for life grow with each day she embraces. Enjoy learning more about Kate and tune in to her words of wisdom on doing what you love and treating yourself, and others, right.

1236007_651380117532_495407727_n

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did ‘life as you know it’ come to be? How did you get into photography and what do you like best about it?

I feel very lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to grow up out here. I was originally born in Rockville Centre, but my family moved out here because of all the wonderful things they heard about the school system. I began kindergarten in Amagansett Elementary School, and then went to East Hampton for middle school and my freshman year of high school. Growing up, my mom always had a camera in her hand, whether she was taking pictures and videos of me or photographing the beautiful scenery out here. However, it wasn’t until I transferred to The Ross School my sophomore year of high school that I really discovered my love for photography.

It started with an intro darkroom class and I completely fell in love with it. I learned how to develop my own film, print my own photos, and I even mixed my own chemicals. The satisfaction I got from looking at a print I made entirely on my own was addictive. I got to travel to Australia with my photography class during my junior year of high school, where we spent three weeks taking pictures and exploring. During my senior year, I started my senior thesis project, which, as a final product, ended up being a show of over 50 prints ranging in size from 11×14 to 16×20.

Once I graduated, I went to The School of Visual Arts in NYC where I earned a BFA in photography. I remember my first day of class, everyone brought in his or her portfolio, and the guy sitting next to me asked to see mine. Once he saw they were all black and white, hand-printed photos, he casually said, “oh, I’ve never been in a darkroom before.” It blew my mind how someone in school for photography had never been in the darkroom to learn the fundamentals of the art. It was then that I decided to be different, to choose a traditional form of photography over digital photography. Instead of using the computer to make a photograph into art, I wanted to explore other methods and I ultimately chose Wet Plate Collodion Photography, which originated in the 1850’s and was actually the second form of photography ever invented. You’ll see some of my work here.

I photograph on black tin and clear glass, creating both negative (ambrotypes) and positive (tintype) images. My 8×10 camera is made out of cherry wood and I have a French Darlot brass portrait lens made in 1871. It produces beautiful, timeless photographs that have an eerie, dreamy quality to them as well.

2. Is there any overlap in your love for photography and your value for health, and wellness? Do you ever combine the two? In what ways?

That’s a great question! I think my value for health and wellness rolls into every aspect of my life, whether it’s my relationship with my family and my boyfriend, my job, my love for photography, even the way I interact with other people. There’s something to be said about the method of photography I have chosen to practice. It’s completely organic and a really stripped-down way to produce art. I love photographing my friends and family, and making still lifes out of every day objects that are a part of my life. As an example, a friend of mine passed away a few years ago, and every year since then a group of us go down to the beach with white roses and throw them in the water for her. Well one year, I was walking along the beach about a week later, and I saw one of the roses. It was weathered from the salt water but was still insanely beautiful. I took it home that day and made a portrait of it.

Cassidys roseI also use Instagram to post photos of new, healthy recipes or fitness goals I make. I use the photo app to check-in to a fitness community I’m a part of called Tone It Up. This allows everyone in the community to connect from all over the world. When I’ve made a masterpiece in the kitchen, I love taking photos and uploading them to share over social media, I love trying new things and getting feedback from others. Social media check-ins are a really great way to stay motivated and it’s fun to incorporate photography in to this practice.

3. What is your favorite workout? Favorite weekend activity?

I’ve been getting into spinning recently, which I love because it’s fast-paced and really challenging, but fun at the same time. I found that spin class motivates me to push myself to levels I didn’t know I could reach.

I’ve always loved yoga too. I practice Ashtanga, which is all about challenging yourself and focusing on your breath. No matter how much you’re sweating or what posture you’re in, if you’re not breathing correctly, you’re not practicing correctly. There’s always room for improvement. One of the things I have always loved about yoga is that there’s no competition. It’s all about bettering yourself and focusing on no one but yourself.

On the weekends, I love to relax, go wine tasting, spend time with loved ones and get some fresh air! Another thing I do is meal prep for the week ahead, it’s such a good way to plan healthy meals. I love having people over on Sunday to watch the game, and I’ll make a big pot of chili or throw together something in the crock pot and know I’ll be able to eat all week.

4. As a young woman, photographer, girlfriend, member of the community, etc. how do you maintain balance in your life?

I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful family and a loving boyfriend who have supported me with any decision I have made. Whenever I have any doubts I think back to the question, “if money wasn’t an issue and you could do whatever you wanted, what would it be?” It’s really important to do what you love. I hate seeing people stuck at a job they’re miserable at or getting up for a day they know they’re going to hate. Why torture yourself? I once left a job where I was being treated poorly, I just up and left. It felt so great to stand up for myself, and I’m really happy with where I am today. Do what you love, and the rest will fall into place.

5. Any great healthy/balance tips for other young woman?

When in doubt, keep it lean clean & green! As often as possible, I try to eat natural, in season vegetables and fruits. I really feel a difference when I’m feeding my body the nutrients it needs to thrive. My biggest advice, though, is don’t beat yourself up. If you have an off day or even an off week, just get back on track. It’s not about failing, but how we bounce back that really counts. Far too often I see women putting themselves or others down. Girls can be really judgmental on themselves and others. I’ve gotten bullied before, and it’s really sad because it shows that these people are so unhappy with their own life that they feel the need to bring others down with them. Remember, nobody ever got ahead by putting someone else down, and if someone is trying to bring you down, they’re already beneath you.

6. What food items do you always keep in your house?

I’m a nut butter fanatic. At all times, without fail, I have at least eight different jars of peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, etc. I’ll eat it with anything- on an apple, in a wrap, on a banana, on a celery stick, and in a stir-fry. I even make little energy bites or bars by combining honey and peanut butter on the stove till it’s thin, then add oats, any kind of dried fruit, slivered almonds, shredded coconut, and roll them into little bite sized balls or cut them into bars. They’re delicious- and I love knowing I can grab one and run out the door if I need to!

7. What is your favorite indulgence?

It’s all about the simple things! I love relaxing with a nice glass of red wine, a good movie, my kittens and my boyfriend. To tell you the truth, I’m kind of a crazy cat lady!

8. How do you make health a priority in your home?

As often as possible, I look up recipes and meal prep for the week. I try to look for recipes that include a lot of the same ingredients, or Crock Pot recipes that are simple and delicious. Crock Pots are great because they don’t require a lot of prep time or even ingredients, and you literally throw whatever you want in there, go about your day and a few hours later, you have a healthy, hot, home-cooked meal ready to eat! My boyfriend is also a really good sport about trying new things. I even got him to like brussels sprouts!

9. What is your FAVORITE thing about living in the Hamptons?

The seasons! Fall is so beautiful out here. I’m a summer girl, but I love when the crowds leave and we have our town and beaches back! I love how crisp and cool the air is and how vibrant the leaves are. I’m also very lucky to have grown up a few miles from the ocean. I don’t think I could ever not live near a body of water. I grew up surfing in Montauk and riding my bike to the ocean after work just to dig my toes into the sand. I love the water so much that I became a lifeguard for about 7 years. The ocean is so therapeutic. Salt water cures everything!

971600_644800483172_2102699069_n

One Healthy Breakdown: Embrace life, explore your passions, treat yourself and others right, and dig your toes in the sand as much as possible. It’s workin’ for Kate!

Get Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Thanks to the CWBC, (Council for Women of Boston College) I got the opportunity to attend “Happiness Beyond the Heights” in NYC last week. We learned all about happiness first-hand from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project & Happier at Home. You guys know that I am ALL about happiness, so I am so intrigued to learn about happiness in a concrete way from someone who has made a career from studying the subject.

photo(109)Gretchen began by clarifying that happiness is a difficult concept to define, measure, and substantiate; therefor, she prefers the use of the word “happier.” Regardless of our circumstances and how happy we are now, most people can relate to wanting to be happier. It also must be known that being happier involves change and personal growth. (Aka you can’t change anyone but yourself, so if you’re hopping on the happier train, get ready to focus on YOU!)

Young Woman Bending Down and Smiling with Arms Stretched BackAs I learned watching The Happy Movie, 50% of our happiness is determined by genetics, 10% by life circumstances, and 40% is controlled by our intentions.

One of my favorite of Gretchen’s many happy lessons is that happy people are helpful people. For many people, wanting to be happier or taking time for ourselves may be viewed as selfish. In actuality, happy people are far more likely to turn outward and help others. Think about it: people who volunteer, people who are charitable, people who are generous, those who offer to help you out, or do something to make you smile because they sense that you need it – these are usually happy people. Less happy people are more likely to isolate themselves and less likely to seek ways to help others. As Gretchen says, “ We should be selfish if only for selfless reasons.” So, go ahead and let yourself off the hook. Make time for what makes you happy and chock it up to doing a selfless deed, knowing that making others happier makes us even happier. Happiness is contagious. Happiness is a growing cycle. Do good, feel good. Give and you shall receive. Imagine if the world was run by happiness experts?

Gretchen gave us some other great happiness tips I’m excited to share about boosting personal happiness (which, we now know boosts the happiness of those around us too!) Gretchen’s first two simple checklist items for being happier include sleep (7-8 hours, it’s non-negotiable) and daily exercise (even 10-20 minutes is enough to get the endorphins rolling and best if outside in the sunlight). Personally, I struggle to get enough sleep, but I’m committed to making sleep a priority and you guys know I’m big on the exercise thing. Regardless of your fitness level, just get moving everyday. It’s been scientifically proven to boost happiness.

Gretchen advocates for focusing on the value of smell. All our senses can give us pleasure in different ways, but Gretchen explained that smell doesn’t take much time, effort, or money. While fresh baked chocolate chip cookies give us pleasure, the indulgence comes at the cost of calories, and baking them also takes up some time. A shopping spree sure gives us pleasure, but (cha-ching) comes at a financial cost. Also expensive and time-consuming, getting a massage to satisfy the pleasure of touch. Smell is fleeting, it does not take our time, money, or effort to appreciate a delightful smell. While you can buy a candle or perfume you love and indulge in that smell, it’s also about noticing the wonderful smells around us. I would also argue that music is an affordable sense that comes at little cost and little extra time. Hearing a song you love definitely boosts happiness, so give yourself the gifts of music and scent daily. It’s really about finding things that come at little cost to you, but really boost your happiness (ie: hot baths, a good book or magazine, cup of tea, favorite TV show, craft of choice, etc.)

Another of Gretchen’s philosophies: outer order contributes to inner peace. Lots of us feel that organization calms us. Whether it’s the coat closet, our desk, library, bedroom, etc., maintaining order on the outside will help us feel better, calmer, and clearer on the inside. It’s true, as much as I hate to clean, it always makes me feel renewed after a good tidying. Gretchen’s requirements for holding onto ‘stuff’ are; I either need it, use it, or love it. If none of the three, get rid of it. Wow, I really need to clean out my closet with those conditions…(and if you know me at all, no need to confirm that realization…I’m on it…)

It’s not all about purging “stuff;” it’s about value. Happiness has been shown not to be correlated to possessions or a lack thereof, but more to a value for what we do have. Gretchen recommends creating a shine for the possessions we love. For her, it was children’s literature. Instead of her collection being scattered around the house, she put it all in one spot and coordinated it so that it feels special now, that spot is dedicated to her children’s literature collection. It’s not about adding to a collection and needing more, more, more, it’s about treating possessions we value with value.

Lastly, anyone who has studied the concept of happiness will agree that the key to happiness is relationships. Happy people have happy relationships. Happy relationships make us happy. Happy people make for happier relationships. There’s that cycle again. Again, boosting happiness involves personal growth, meaning we cannot change others, what they do, or how they treat us, even if that contributes to unhappiness. What we can do, though, is change the way we react to others or set precedents with our own change-making actions. If you change yourself, dynamics within the relationship change and most likely, you’ll feel that the other person has changed for the better as well. If you want to improve your relationships, improve you. If you want to be happier, focus on building positive relationships.

Man and a Woman with Their Heads Together SmilingOne Healthy Breakdown: Whether you’re up for a complete happiness revamp or you’re curious to know more about The Happiness Project, pick up the book or check out gretchenrubin.com today! And another thanks to the CWBC for hosting this happy event…go BC Grad School of Social Work! Have to shout-out to my alma mater!)

Southampton Golf Range…and Lots More!

range

If you’ve spent time in the Hamptons, you know that The Southampton Golf Range is a well-known landmark for golfers and families alike.  It’s got the convenience and services every golfer needs without the ginormous membership fee we’re used to around here.  The range is better than ever this year, with more fun for the whole family thanks to some exciting upgrades.  Family-owned and operated by the Hansens since 1957, the range just keeps getting better and better.  The Hansens understand the importance of innovation, while maintaining the same classic feel that appeals to many returning customers.

The Southampton Golf Range is a Hamptons gem, serving all levels, from elite golf pros to first-timers, and everyone in between. The facility, which is also a fun and affordable go-to for mini-golf with the little ones, also recently added ballpark batting cages, heated tees, and they will soon have pedal cars, a golf simulator, and an ice-skating rink.  Sounds like the range is no longer just a range at all, The Southampton Golf Range is transitioning into a year-round family hot spot with indoor and outdoor fun.

The range features 32 hitting stations, partially covered, new this year, allowing for shade in the summer and heaters in the winter.  There’s also a grass hitting area and two Home Green Advantage synthetic putting greens.  With three renowned pros teaching golf lessons, locals and visitors can take their game to the next level and even rent clubs at no extra cost.  And, regardless of your schedule, you’ll be able to hit the range thanks to their long hours and night lights (9am – 10pm all summer, 10am to dusk in the off-season.)

This summer will mark the fourth season of Junior Golf Camp at the range, which takes place weekday mornings throughout July and August.  Junior Golf Camp transitions the little ones into pros in no time with private and group instruction, putting lessons, fun competitions, mini-golf, and more.  Camp is offered for kids as young as four (up to age 14) and will teach beginners the fundamentals of the sport in a fun setting.

Reid

One Healthy Breakdown: I personally prefer the mini-golf course, but if and when I take up golf, Southampton Golf Range will be my go-to.