The Fat Hydrangea

Sara Michelle - Columbus, Ohio

Strength, Sensitivity, & Self-Care

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I know it’s a huge buzz word these days, but truly, self-care has become a major theme in my life lately.

Having to juggle raising three young kids, working full-time in a professional career, managing a household on my own, battling constant and unrelenting daycare germs, and navigating myself through a great deal of shock/grief – it’s more than I ever imagined I’d be responsible for.

Everyone keeps telling me that I am so strong, but in reality, I do not feel strong at all. In fact, I feel extremely sensitive to EVERYTHING! I have realized over the last year that things around me impact me on a mental and physical level significantly more than they used to. On a good day, I’m sensitive. On my bad days, I’m downright fragile.  My therapist has taught me that this is very common for people who have dealt with trauma and extended periods of extremely escalated adrenaline and cortisol levels. Essentially, my body needs to recover and heal. My nerves are shot.  All of that being said, I’ve become acutely aware of what makes me feel good and what doesn’t. Below is my short list.

Things that significantly impact me in a negative way:

  • Fast food.

  • Watching negative or scary things on TV.

  • Lack of sleep.

  • Lack of alone time.

  • Dark, dreary environments.

  • Noise.

  • Clutter.

  • Gossip.

  • Multi-Tasking.

  • Too much sugar.

  • Hearing arguing or swear words.

Things that significantly impact me in a positive way:

  • Quality time with my boys (playing, cuddling, reading to them, & caring for them in general).

  • Deep sleep.

  • Daily time for reflection/inspiration/prayer.

  • Fresh air & being in nature.

  • Positive, lighthearted, inspirational messages.

  • Bright, organized, uplifting environments.

  • Quiet.

  • Fresh, floral, & citrusy smells.

  • Afternoon walks.

  • Tea.

  • Writing.

  • Yoga or stretching before bed.

  • Hot baths.

  • Drinking lots of water.

  • Fresh fruits & vegetables.

  • Traveling & experiencing a change of scenery.

  • Sharing how I’m feeling.

  • The feeling that I’m learning and growing.

Overall, I’m leaning into how sensitive I currently am. I’m really focused on self-care and curating my life with things that lift me up and put me in a mental and physical state of wellness. Right now, I do this because I can’t NOT this! I need to feel better and I need to heal. My body and mind CRAVE the positive things I’ve listed above. I need this for myself and for the three little boys who are counting on me every day, and so I can manage all that is on my plate. All that being said,  I’m learning and trying new things in order to bring more and more and more of the positive into my life. An absolutely necessity - but also proving to be an interesting and rewarding adventure!

Over time, with lots of nurturing and care, I hope to build up my resilience and be “strong” once again. In the meantime, I’m soaking up the blessings of being sensitive and the healthy, peaceful path its guiding me down. I’m learning so much and its all for the good!

I’m looking forward to sharing more about the specifics! Lots of blog posts in the works :)

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Lately

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I have had a lot of wonderful people reach out and ask how I’m doing lately, so I thought I’d post a little update.

WELL, January and February were hard. Mostly because we were sick THE ENTIRE TIME! We could not catch a break. We constantly passed around colds, strep throat, and stomach bugs. Oh, and Graham teething on top of it all was also fun (four molars.. yikes!) I was up at least twice a night with one kid or another and it definitely tested my humanity. At one point, I seriously considered the day a win if I wasn’t cleaning up someone’s puke. It’s one thing to tackle illness and sleep deprivation for a week or two, but after two months I was seriously wearing down. I fell behind on basically everything and dropped many of the balls I was juggling. Unopened mail, unanswered texts, unwritten baby/birthday/thank you cards. Too much caffeine, too much fast food. Work was crazy and the house was turned upside down. Did I mention grief hits SIGNIFICANTLY harder when your exhausted? It was a very trying time, especially given all I wanted to do is move forward with my goals and focus on happiness and growth. Thankfully I had a lot of amazing people reach out to help me and help lift my spirits during this time!

Photo:  Brooke Hocker

Anyway, my trip to Florida could not have come at a better time. It took me a couple of days to unwind once we got there, but oh how the sunshine, warm weather, time to breathe, ocean views, and quality time with family just recharged my batteries! The sunshine killed off all the germs, everyone slept well, and we all left Florida feeling loved and happy. It was just what the doctor ordered, truly.

Since being home, I’ve been excited to dive back into my goals/dreams/decorating projects that were put on pause at the beginning of the year. The last month I’ve been soaking up time with the boys, reading non-stop, journaling daily, working on my office and mudroom makeovers, binging on incredibly inspirational podcasts, trying out some new skincare products, making some tweaks to my habits/routines/diet, and more than anything- taking LOTS of time to rest. We’ve still been hit with a few bugs and challenges (that’s life I suppose!) but I’ve been putting our health above everything else. Day in day out, I’m doing what I have to do to fight off burn out and illness- hence the reason blogging and social media kind of fell off of my plate for awhile! BUT, I’m happy to say we’re feeling well, sleeping better, and doing much better overall. I’m very thankful for some fresh air and sunshine finally making an appearance here in Ohio, too! I swear it makes all the difference!

Anyway! Even though I think most people come here for my home decor projects, I’m really excited to share what I’m learning about self-care, wellness, personal growth, and rebuilding my life! (And a few of the beautiful things that have been inspiring me as well!) Stay tuned :)

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Our Anna Maria Island Getaway!

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Just wanted to give a quick recap of our AMAZING trip to Florida! We had such a good time. It is incredible what sunshine, warm, and days on end of quality time can do your soul (and your body…. Finally said goodbye to the icky colds the boys and I had been fighting for weeks!)

We rented a house on Anna Maria Island in Florida (which is just south of Tampa) with my parents, my sister Amy and her boyfriend Aaron, and my brother Brian and his girlfriend Allison. We decided that instead of buying each other Christmas presents this past year, we would put the money towards a trip together. My sister lives in California and my brother lives in Chicago, so quality time is something we don’t get enough of these days! We all quickly agreed it was a good idea. (It most definitely was!)

The other awesome part of this trip is that my my Uncle Rich (my Dad’s brother) and Aunt Ruth, and my three cousins Katy, Karen, and Kristin and their families rented a house a block away at the same time. We had a BLAST swimming, kayaking, catching up, laughing, playing games, and eating together! It just made the trip all that more special.

Overall, I loved that our house was right on the inter-coastal waters and had spectacular sunrise views. We were walking distance to the ocean and the sandy beaches on the island were hands down the most beautiful ones I’ve been to! The island was quaint and low key and I just loved everything about it. It truly felt like vacation (except for the two days I had to jet off to Starbucks to get some work stuff done… but hey, at least there was a Starbucks?!!) The kids loved every second of it and didn’t want to leave. I’m right there with them! We were there for eight whole days but it still didn’t feel like enough.

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Getting away charged my batteries so much. I think I’m on board for making this an annual February tradition!

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Home Office Inspiration Board

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In my last post, I showed you my mudroom and my plans for the updating the space. The other room that needs a love in terms of design and organization is my home office. I am absolutely ITCHING to get this space in order, since I work from home a lot (and working in a disorganized space drives me bonkers!). Up until this point, I had kind of been leaning towards painting the room my favorite shade of navy blue - Benjamin Moore’s Polo Blue - that I used in the big boy’s room in our old house. But honestly, going dark wasn’t 100% sitting right with me. I’m just really feeling more bright and fun vibes for this house! (Except for the boys bedrooms… but that’s another story for another day.)

Anyway, I already have many of the elements for the room… Two leaning white ladder shelves from my old house, white floor lamp, a large white framed pinboard, and a million gray picture frames for a gallery wall. I basically need to choose the following three things to update the room: Desk, walls, and a rug (and maybe a few accessories to tie it all together!)

Serena and Lily just released some new items, and their new Owens Wallpaper caught my eye IMMEDIATELY! I just love the color and the pattern… It’s super fun, but there is also something classic and calming about it. Assuming I went that route, I think the Restoration Hardware French Paneled desk in Aged Oak would be a beautiful complement to all of the white. My dresser and nightstands are a similar wood tone, so it would be nice to bring more of that into the house as well.

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Eventually, I also want to add a built-in unit of some sort along the back wall that can hold (and HIDE) my printer, a small TV, and several file boxes with all of my important documents.

I’m not 100% sure I’m going to go this route, but I ordered wallpaper samples and wood swatch samples, and I plan to sleep on it for awhile! What do you think?

If you want to shop the products, here are the links to the sources:

And though I’m a LITTLE embarrassed to be showing you another extremely messy room in my house, here is a picture of the office as it currently stands… Can you see why I’m starting to get antsy to get these rooms functional and beautiful?

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