A few years back, Randi Zuckerberg – yes, sister of that guy who started that book-face thing – was widely credited for identifying the entrepreneurs’ dilemma. She declared that out of five things; work, sleep, family, fitness or friends you can only nurture three with any measure of success. As an entrepreneur, I completely agree. But now having birthed a tiny human, I also say substitute the words new mom for entrepreneur and you find yourself in the same conundrum (and what about us entrepreneur-moms? Do we have a double dilemma? Do we only get to pick two out of the five because we have to pick work to keep our businesses from failing…but I’m getting off track.) My point is that when it comes to motherhood something else in your life tends to give. Sadly, friendship is the primary thing that has fallen by the wayside in my world, but I know I’m not the only one. Friendship often falters for many new moms. That’s why, for this edition of Real Talk, Real Moms, we decided to give voice to this challenge.

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Now, before having kids I swore up and down that I wouldn’t be one of those moms who never sees her friends. Swore. But I am the first to admit I am a horrible friend. Terrible. Just the worst. Seriously.

I don’t return calls. I barely remember to answer texts. In my world, a heart on Instagram has become as good as a catch-up sesh. And making a new friend?! Forget it. It’s damn hard to make friends in your 30s under the best of circumstances. The New York Times has devoted multiple pieces to the never-ending challenge – probably because a lot of its writers are in their 30s right now. As one article explains, “the period for making B.F.F.’s, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over. It’s time to resign yourself to situational friends: K.O.F.’s (kind of friends) — for now.” Too true. There was certainly little time for any BS before kids. And now? No way.

In fact, making new friends is so challenging, this New York Magazine piece talks about how you should court friends like you would a romantic relationship. But that probably requires staying up past 9pm. Or getting dressed most days of the week. Or managing to leave your house (most definitely an entrepreneurial mom problem). Now don’t get me wrong, I do consider my circle of “friends” to be quite large. I belong to a moms Facebook group that has over 500 women in it. I do make it to the occasional social event and exchange air kisses and pleasantries with the best of them. But when I experienced a soul crushing death in the family did I reach out to any of them for help – or did they reach out to me? Nope. If I had an emergency and needed someone to watch my kid would I feel comfortable calling one up? Don’t think so. Do I even have any of their numbers in my phone?! Even though most moms know tons of other moms and many of us participate in moms groups those moments of connection are fleeting – interrupted by spit-up, a diaper explosion or a melt down. It can end up feeling like you’re stranded on your own tiny island.

This situation is tough. It feels pathetic. It’s depressing. It’s actually probably bad for my health. In fact, article after article talks about how both self-worth and happiness are ultimately judged not by career success, accolades or money, but by friendships. I have started to feel really bad about my friendship gap. I feel terrible guilt for neglecting my good friends who I truly love and adore. I feel sad about not being able to cultivate new friends – real ones with actual bonds. I often feel lonely.

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So this year, I decided I want to proactively do something about it. In fact, my intention for 2017 is to CONNECT (I talked more about that here). While it’s unlikely I’ll magically transform back to my social butterfly self anytime soon (I’m typically a puddle by 7pm these days), there are a few practical ways I’ve attempted to implement my intention thus far. They include:

– Schedule a lunch or coffee date with someone I enjoy and haven’t caught up with in awhile – and NOT cancel.

– Fire off a text to a friend whenever she happens to cross my mind.

– Write a physical note to a friend once a month.

– Reach out to someone I wish I was still connected to and simply let them know I still care – no expectations or strings attached.

And I do have grander friend-ambitions. I’d like to start a ladies who brunch club – just a casual way to bring friends together on a Sunday, with or sans kids, to just hang out and spend time together – during daylight hours. But I do have to finish this dang house first. Or at least get it to a point I’m no longer embarrassed by it. Oh and remember how to cook again. So baby steps it is. But I know that even as exhausted as I often feel, putting effort into friendships will ultimately refuel me – even if the effort is taxing at first. This article about being a terrible friend also recently lifted my spirits. It reminds us that the depths of early motherhood are temporary. Even fleeting. Kids grow super fast. The time when they need us constantly and want us desperately is very short indeed.

Someday, probably without even realizing it, you’ll wake up and realize you’re the old you again. So to my dear friends who might be reading this. Please do keep in touch. I promise I’m still here and still care. And hopefully will be me again soon.

Have you struggled with maintaining friendships as a mom? I’d love to hear how you navigated things. And of course, you must be sure to check out all the other mamas’ experiences. You can read about them by clicking the links below.

Ave StylesThe Refined WomanThe Effortless Chic / The Sweetest Occasion

For our entire Real Talk, Real Moms archive CLICK HERE.

I’m currently working the design for my living room, but it’s proved a tougher challenge than I originally thought. The room has odd dimensions and we need for it to be a multi-use space with more than one sitting area. It also has a long desk area and is the primary play space for our son. You can see some of our Designer’s Take series that offered ideas for the space herehere and here. As I hunt around for solutions, one has bubbled to the top of my list: the Safari Daybed.

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Now, we’ve talked about daybeds around here before, but the safari daybed isn’t the traditional, could actually be a bed, variety. This version can really function more as a bench or a cot if you ever wanted to actually sleep on it. While there are some variations of this bed, the original OGK Safari Daybed actually was designed in 1962 by Danish designer Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen. The story goes that he designed it for his son who was heading off on a camping trip and didn’t want him to sleep on the ground. But what I love is the beautiful timeless design. It’s low profile, it’s understated. The use of natural materials including canvas, beech wood and sisal rope is beautiful. While many other daybed options take on a boho vibe, this daybed is minimal, modern and seriously chic. I think I might be sold!

What do you think? Would you put a safari daybed in your house?

For more of my favorite design trends, CLICK HERE.

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Apartment 34 on Instagram

I’m the first to admit I’m not the neatest person the world. For a time I was. Growing up, everything had a place and there was a place for everything. Down to the mini horse figurines arranged perfectly on my desk! But somewhere in the teens that all went out the window and I’ve struggled to stay on top of messes ever since. But now that I’m a mom (why does it still feel so weird to say that?! My kid is nearly two,) it’s dawned on me that I finally need to get my act together. It’s not cute to have your house looking like it’s run like a teenager when there are no teens in sight. So I’ve slowly but surely begun putting intention around my neatness goals. Just saying “I want to be neat and organized” isn’t enough. That leaves way too much wiggle room. Instead, I’m making specific to-do’s for every room our house. I figure if I master these tips, by the time my kiddo starts his first day of pre-school, I might finally look like I have my sh** together. Fingers crossed.

I also thought a little moral support would both keep me honest and keep me motivated to practice what I’m preaching. So I want to share the 10 tips I’m using to keep my domicile looking, well, civilized.

IN THE KITCHEN

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Clean as you go. The secret to keeping a tidy kitchen? Never let it get dirty! Think of your kitchen like they do in a restaurant. It starts the day in tiptop shape and ends the day in tiptop shape. That way you never find yourself overwhelmed by crazy mess. Accomplishing this goal requires the following:

Wipe up spills as soon as they happen. This is especially true around the stove or in the oven. You don’t want to let that stuff get caked on. I love Clorox Scrub Singles to get off the sticky mess my cooking tends to leave behind.

Wash pots, pans, knives and the like as you’re cooking. Whenever you finish with a pot throw it in the sink with some water and soap. As something bakes, sautés or marinates you can give that pan a quick rinse and put it away.

Immediately fill the dishwasher and put everything back where it came from. Force yourself to take the two or three minutes after you finishing eating – you know that time when all you want to do is grab your wine and sink into the couch – but quickly load the dishwasher and put away any remaining cooking implements or ingredients. Then, and only then, is it wine time.

By implementing these tips, you’ll be ready to settle into your binge watching sesh after giving the counter one final quick wipe.

IN THE BATHROOM

10 cleaning tips

Cleaning the bathroom is quite possibly my least favorite thing of all the things. But is it really anyone’s favorite? I can’t imagine. Thankfully, if you’re diligent about implementing a few quick cleaning tips, you can avoid the dreaded deep cleaning session.

Wipe down counters and hardware daily. Be it in the morning after you get up, or just before you head to bed, give your counters a quick wipe down. Sometimes that might mean simply drying them off. But if you got a little overzealous with your dry shampoo or some toothpaste spilled in the sink, grab a Clorox Bathroom Scrub Single and you’ll get all that grime off in one swipe.

Clean the toilet more regularly. If you’re like me, you don’t think to clean a toilet until it needs it, aka when it’s really bad. But if you take 60 seconds at least once a week to give it a quick clean you won’t ever hit the gross-out point. The Clorox Toiletwand & Refills are super effective and way less disgusting than a brush that sits all stank in your bathroom. I never have to worry about the state of my toilet if an unexpected guest drops in.

Give all surfaces a thorough clean weekly. This includes the mirror, the floors, the tub and shower walls. This will fight against soap scum buildup and that layer of film from the various beauty products we all use. A bit of Clorox Pump & Clean Multi-purpose Bathroom Cleaner on a dry rag around the entire bathroom gets it sparkly really fast.

IN THE BEDROOM

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It can be easy to neglect your bedroom, especially if, like me, you only collapse into it at 10 pm every day. But, if your bedroom was organized, clean and inviting, would you be inclined to spend more time there? Thought so. Try these tips to help keep your room feeling more like your sanctuary.

Keep the dust at bay. Allergens are a huge issue in the bedroom. To keep them down, dust at least weekly, if not every three days. Clorox Triple Action Dust Wipes are great for this. They get up everything including my Frenchie’s teeny tiny hairs. You want to especially dig into windowsill corners and the nooks and crannies of your headboard or bed frame.

A fresh bed is a happy bed. Washing your bedding weekly is the best thing in the world. I love my all white beds (like this one) and Clorox Oxi Max Radiant White helps me keep mine nice and bright even with a little human and pets.

Kill germs. If you get nailed by a bout of norovirus, like our household did a couple of weeks ago, you will want to wipe down all door knobs and hard surfaces with a disinfecting solution. You can check out my post on how to do that right here.

Do you have any pro-tips for keeping messes at bay? I’d take as many suggestions as I can get!

 

 

image 1 by tom blachford / image 2 by elizabeth roberts / image 3 by aubrie pick

This post is in partnership with Clorox. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations that I’m excited about and that have kept apartment 34’s doors open

There’s nothing that gets my design motor running more than a brilliantly curated home store. That’s why the new NYC outpost of Consort Design, which I profiled last year HERE, has me like whoa.

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Situated in a charming 1830s Tribeca townhouse, Consort’s new retail space feels like you’re walking into the coolest person you know’s living room. Light, bright and beautiful right? It’s not hard to see why Consort Design is one my major interiors crushes right now. The shop also features a full-service design studio for the lucky ducks in New York needing the Consort magic touch.  I love the modernist deco vibe Consort tends to express. I swear they helped usher in the blush trend that even I got caught up in this week. While they tend to feature more bold color than I might bring into my world, they temper it with stunning minimalism like that black, white and gold moment. I mean, that marble surfboard situation? Genius.

I must admit I have FOMO for all my New York friends who can just stroll into Consort for a dose of happy any old time they feel like. For now, I’ll just peruse their website and drool over things like the perfect Kaare Klint safari chair….so tempting!!!

 

For our Retail Therapy Archives, CLICK HERE

 

photography by Reid Rolls courtesy of Consort Design

While I typically reserve Wednesday to talk about wine, there’s nothing wrong with indulging a day early – especially on Valentine’s Day! I must admit, the contrived Valentine’s romance isn’t really my jam, but an excuse to bring some of my girls together – that I can get into.

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Since I haven’t seen a happy hour in I can’t remember how long, hosting a ladies lunch is a lot more mom-friendly. A few friends, a pretty table and some light bites are all you need to feed your need for girl-time.

Even though my table was Valentine-inspired, I didn’t want it to feel saccharin. With a dark gray tablecloth as a ground, all of the warm neutrals stand out. To make place settings a little more special, the secret is to layer. A charger, dinner and salad plate all stacked together create texture. I wrapped a set of printed napkins (designed by Erica Tanov – a major design crush), with a bit of rose-colored suede. Brass flatware and a little gold dish on each place add a hint of glam without getting overly girly. A floral centerpiece with creamy ranunculus, anemones, sweatpeas and jasmine soften the entire scene.

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But it wouldn’t be a proper party without a little wine! While rosé is my summer staple, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it even when there’s snow on the ground. Elouan Rosé is the perfect light, bright and delicious addition to some quality time with your girls. Elouan’s name literally means “good light.” Fitting, no?

I really quite like this wine. Created with Oregon-grown pinot noir, it has real depth of flavor and some good body. So many rosés are rather insipid. This one is lovely whether you’re enjoying a glass all on its own, or pairing it with food. It’s the perfect all-year-round wine. It also always settles the divide between those who want to drink white and those who want to drink red. Rosé always satisfies.

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I also like giving my guests a little favor to take home – in this case pieces of tangerine quartz. It has properties of strength and tenacity, but is also calming and centering. Exactly what all moms need, especially in these trying times!

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Since I’m often stuffing leftovers from a child’s tray into my mouth and calling it lunch, this is a refreshing respite from day-to-day mom life. Hopefully we don’t have to invent another holiday before doing this again.

For more table top and entertaining ideas CLICK HERE

Fore more Wine Wednesday posts, CLICK HERE

 

dishware via mrs.peasy / florals by lambert floral studio

photography for apartment 34 by delbarr moradi

This post is in partnership with Elouan wine. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that have kept apt34’s doors open.

As I’ve made it rather clear over the years, I’m all about minimally styled interiors – less is more when you seek to curate a space that feels fresh and airy. But while sparse spaces photograph beautifully, monochromatic rooms can sometimes feel a bit stark in real life. I don’t know if it’s the fact that Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, or that all those pops of blush showing up on Pinterest have finally seared themselves into my brain – but either way – I have fallen in love with the peachy, dusty, blush pink in this nordic apartment.

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Peach accents can break up a monochromatic scheme, adding warmth and playfulness to the space without detracting from an otherwise neutral interior. You might be surprised to learn that the rest of this apartment is essentially black and white. But just like I decided our house needed a room with bold color, this apartment shows you can maintain that modern chic feel, even with pink! You can take your apartment to the next level by incorporating a peach accent wall. Or if you want just dip your toe in this rosy water, start with some smaller statement pieces placed throughout your home. Any of the lovelies below will do!

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SHOP THE LOOK: bowl / pendant light / poster / notebook / pillows / throw / chair

 

For more home tours, CLICK HERE

home tour courtesy of fantastic frank

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