2018: MumMum

Bear MountainI just reread my last NYE post like I always do before settling in to recap my year and I can’t believe that I was pregnant! Because… I’m feeling very pregnant right now, and it couldn’t have been just last year that the giggling, always on, loving girl always running to me to give me a leg hug was in my belly. Right? Madison and I figured we’re so tired (and happy) — why not continue the feeling and add another little one to the mix!? For those of you who haven’t heard yet — baby boy will be making his debut in May. 🙂

At first when I started drafting my top memories this year, they were all about Alice. I had to step back and remind myself that although there was so much joy from watching her grow, that I also had an incredible year full of travel, kickass work successes and many more moments of pride and love. You’ll see a lot of Alice here, but also a lot of the events that helped shape me into the (still struggling but making it work) balancing act I’ve found between being a “MumMum”, a present wife/friend/sister/daughter, and boss lady at Anchor.

And in no particular order, here are my highlights & random memories from 2018:

  • Baked 14 cakes + countless cookies and breakfast goodies. Poor Madison had to sign up for a half marathon this coming March to counteract all my time spent in the kitchen.
  • I became an auntie!! Alice loves her cousin, she calls her “Belle.”
  • My first day back to work after maternity leave included hosting influencers for a meetup in SF. Go big or go home!
  • Alice calls me MumMum like she’s from England or something.
  • Lived in SF and for 6 weeks was all about the sourdough bread, composting, coffee from Sightglass, dumplings from It’s Dumpling Time, pastries from The Mission, hot chocolate from Dandelion, day trips to Napa and hiking along the Pacific coast & Redwoods.
  • Started a book club for moms on the Upper West Side. There’s 18 members and we usually get about 5 moms for each meetup (#momlife). We read 5 books and by far my favorite was the Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Planning an Alaskan cruise in the near(ish) future.
  • Read 26 books in 2018 and did not love most of them… I don’t know when I got so picky but my favorites: Little Fires Everywhere, The Alice Network, City of Brass, & From the Corner of the Oval.
  • Had a lovely date night in August with flowing natural wine and almost bought a house in our giddiness. It was a beautiful home in Larchmont but we decided the NY area is most likely not for us and definitely #blessed they did not accept our offer! 🙂
  • Madison perfected his homemade pizza crust this year and it was a game changer.
  • Yoga with baby was very short-lived (two classes) and concluded with one swift exit as we were abruptly excused from class, wailing and overtired Alice in arms.
  • Avocados were just too basic for our baby for her first few months of eating real food. One visit to Brooklyn fixed that!
  • Our first time flying with Alice, Madison got frisked because of the milk we forgot in his backpack. Good thing we gave ourselves about 5 hours at the airport for any “unknowns in traveling with a lap child!”
  • We traveled (with baby) to SF, Chicago, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Atlanta, South Carolina and RI this year and saw so much of our country. We loved hiking as a family of three with Alice in the pack, exploring national parks (Yellowstone — with bear mace!!), Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain and forests (Muir Woods) and mountains (Beaver Creek, Bear Mountain) and lakes (Finger Lakes) and wine country (Napa, Sonoma, Finger Lakes).
  • When we weren’t traveling we had so many visitors!! Thanks to Gabriella, Meme & Poppie, Uncle Steve & Aunt Kelly, Grandma & Papa, Allison & Cory, Emily, Megan, Jessi, Ryan & Sara for coming to NY to say hi to the gang!
  • Listened to Cocody Rock on repeat most days, especially whenever we were in a moving vehicle and now get sleepy when we hear the soothing reggae sounds hit the speaker.
  • I pumped on a plane. Mid-flight. Next to two unsuspecting (and sleeping) Irish newlyweds. #IMomsoHard
  • The days of snacking without sharing with a hungry little bird at my feet begging for a bite are over.
  • Got a passport for Alice and even though we didn’t travel internationally this year it was worth it because now her passport for the next five years has her 5 month old chubby cheeks immortalized.
  • Lived next to a perfectly decent bagel shop but instead would walk 10 blocks for the “absolute” best bagel in the city.
  • Went to PT diligently to mend my left shoulder for weeks and weeks. Stopped going and it’s never felt better.
  • Got tired of asking “What?” and sucked it up and now have hearing aids. Their app is on my phone but I think I wore them all of 5x. Hmm?
  • Missed September and October which were not only a work blur but I spent the rest of the time between bed and chasing Alice around in a haze thanks to weeks 6-13 of my first trimester.
  • Lost our living space and TV room in March due to poor apt configuration and Alice growing up and into her own room. Basically didn’t watch any TV this year which was quite refreshing. We did watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime after we saw them filming a few streets way. And Salt Fat Acid Heat, which led to much midnight snacking.
  • Madison and Alice saw a moose with her calf on our Western trip — not during the early rides we took which is “when you will see wildlife” but in the middle of the day when I was back at the hotel on a conference call.
  • Alice said “Dada” for the first time… on Mother’s Day.
  • Celebrated our 4 year anniversary at Per Se, and they gave us a tour of the kitchen (we said hi to the staff in Napa at the French Laundry).
  • Traveled with an expired drivers license to California — and realized this was the reason I was oddly rejected after submitting my voter registration (the helpful explanation letter came back saying #other as the reason why I couldn’t vote in the midterms). Super upset I didn’t get to vote but at least I know now it was actually my fault. Also very relieved they still let me hop the plane home!
  • Celebrated Allison and Cory’s wedding in Logan Square (Chicago) and loved getting all dressed up to cheers some wonderful people. Plus, some auntie time that weekend was just what Alice needed.
  • Got a stomach bug on Christmas, and then passed it around to the family (thank goodness no babies were sick). But — have to say food poisoning earlier in the year was actually even worse.  #whyme
  • Hosted our first annual Calvert Christmas Cookie Swap holiday party and currently accepting applications for invites for 2019. In case you missed it, cookies are the new ice cream around these parts.
  • Spent the most perfect evening in Jackson Hole as a family – picnicking unexpectedly with bbq, Oregon Pinot Noir, huckleberry ice cream, live music, a little brook next to our picnic blanket, and a happy baby crawling all around and saying hi to neighboring families well past her bedtime.
  • So proud of all my work this year. Anchor added two new clients, Gordon Ramsay and The Property Brothers posted to Instagram exactly like I told them to, I met 9 incredible new influencers who joined the YouTube Parent Panel, I was on a 20 min call with Justin Baldoni (from Jane the Virgin) and he told me to keep his number, & designed custom Converse sneakers that a lot of people are now wearing.

A lot of other cool things happened, but I’m sure you’re wondering how much longer this post goes on for. Wrapping up here… I don’t understand why some people are “anti-resolutions.” Is it just a wording thing? What’s so scary about setting goals for yourself? Sharing my 2019 resolutions/priorities/goals/focus/whatever-you-want-to-call-them as a way to keep myself honest:

  1. Don’t give in to the pressures of work around the clock mentality that has become our norm. Maintain my work/family balance. I haven’t been working late nights and I haven’t been working weekends and I think this is why I haven’t hit a wall. Protecting my family time and making efficient use of my working hours is 100% my top priority for the new year.
  2. Remember to live outside of to-do lists. There is always something that needs to get done – but try to take time to read, set aside time to research my future winery, go to yoga, or just relax.
  3. Go green in the kitchen. Switching to all green cleaning products (for health too), no more paper towels except for extreme messes, no plastic bags or wrap. Composting! Committed to this! And once I hit a good stride I’ll look to see what else I can do to reduce our energy and waste output.

Wishing all of you a healthy & happy new year in 2019!

Love,

V

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PS watch my Instagram 2018 highlights here for more photos of our year 🙂

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2017: Like a Mother

Like a mother

My mantra this year was “treat yourself,” well… “treat yo’ self” to be exact (see pic below) because when there is a human growing inside of you, you deserve it. There was ice cream, and cake, doughnuts and Shake Shack. All year long.

We moved from London to NYC and I spent the first few days of the year saying goodbye to my favorite city, wining & dining (although mostly dining, obvi) and savoring my favorite park walks. I wanted to give NYC a try and while it was a tough transition for me, I decided to find places I love and to explore as best I could. I spent most of the year pregnant and exploring ice cream shops in search of the best scoop in Manhattan and the rest of the year snuggling the best baby girl and perfect addition to our family.

2017 is a year I will never forget (in no particular order):

  • Became a family of three. 
  • Pretended to do Dry January to cover for my pregnancy and fooled the world. DO YOU GUYS EVEN KNOW ME.
  • My family thought we made up the term Duncle to describe Madison & Matt’s new roles (Dad and Uncle) and then Googled it and decided nope, not going to use that name.
  • Made an ombre cake for my 30th birthday and was really impressed with myself. (Victoria: 1, Pinterest: 0)
  • Got into baking cakes in general and bought more bags of flour and sugar than the doctor recommends.
  • Spent the first three quarters of the year marketing YouTube Red Originals which involved outreach to famous cats of Instagram.
  • Was almost on a call with Channing Tatum.
  • Ate the best reuben ever at my aunt and uncle’s own restaurant.
  • Came this close to starting the newest dance craze during the Teen Choice Awards. Can you even High Water?
  • Went cold turkey with coffee and lived to tell the tale.
  • Tried to grow herbs in my new apartment but ended up using the baby as an excuse for their swift decline.
  • Made a catnip sock for the cats to show them we love them even though there is small human now living with us and it’s sitting in the closet now because they were not impressed.
  • Didn’t do the laundry once in our NY apt. Madison, you are a real stand up guy!!
  • Took the subway the wrong direction one afternoon (express train, oof) and in doing so also gave tourists bad directions which I insisted were correct. Chalking that one up to pregnancy brain.
  • First trimester had me so sleepy I almost missed the end of the Super Bowl this year and omg I never would have lived that down!! #YeaPats
  • Developed a fear of flushing the toilet in my apt as don’t want to wake the new resident. WHY does it sound like we are on an airplane?!
  • Shared Madison’s LinkedIn post about his new job at LinkedIn.
  • Tried 22 ice cream shops in NYC (I will meet you at Morgansterns, Van Leeuwens or Ample Hills or Ice & Vice any day, just say the word) and ate ice cream pretty much every day of my pregnancy – shout out to the Whole Foods freezer section and Brickley’s in RI.
  • Cried for joy when we opened the envelope from the doctor and found out we were having a girl.
  • Went to West Elm 6x before settling on the right couch.
  • Twinned with my bitmoji in our preggo yoga attire.
  • Went to yoga once a week. THIS IS A BREAKTHROUGH. But don’t get too excited, I still can’t touch my toes.
  • Saw a momma whale teach her baby how to breech in Maui & somehow managed not to puke on the boat without dramamine.
  • Joined some moms groups on Facebook so I can up my lurking game.
  • Dug a pit for my belly at the beach so I could tan my back (okay Madison dug it).
  • Got snowed in while at Sundance Film Fest and also saw Ty Burell. Oh I also saw Anne Hathaway in Central park! #Squirrel #CelebDoppleganger
  • Shared my daily ice cream treat to IG stories and became an actual ice cream influencer (Thanks Breyers). Also probably lost a few followers who didn’t feel like craving ice cream every day.
  • Our boat was stormed at sea (the pond), don’t worry though, just the Coast Guard this time doing their routine check. Pirates would have made a better story, I know.
  • The number of times I discuss my baby’s BMs per week is more than I would have anticipated pre-baby. Also, she pooped in 3 different states on one day!! That has to be a record, right?
  • Confirmed it’s #truelove (twuewuv) when Madison gave up wine with me this year
  • Within a 24 hour period had someone spit up on me, poop on me and pee on me. #momlife
  • Exclusively shop on Amazon now.
  • Spent a day with new friends at a baby massage class. Note: need to find Mom massage classes.
  • Decorated my apt with non Ikea furniture, and feeling quite grown up.
  • Never had so many doctors appointments in all my life.
  • Hosted my first Thanksgiving (hey, I made the cranberry sauce!), saw the Macy’s Day balloons get blown up (Olaf was a hit with the two month old) and also bought our first real Christmas tree!
  • On that note, my stocking now says Mom. 🙂 🙂
  • Added some sunshine and IG prowess to the Anchor team. (Lulu is a total #GirlBoss)
  • Brought a baby back from the UK (in case you were wondering).
  • While my miles weren’t as good as 2016, I still made it to London, Park City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Maui, Charleston & Pawley’s Island, New Hampshire, DC, Philadelphia, Albany, Chicago & Rhode Island.
  • Watched Stranger Things and now do a double take when I see Christmas lights.
  • Pretty much stopped using Twitter except for a few choice moments.

Inspired by the last song I heard in the Uber on the way to Mount Sinai East, here are Victoria’s New 2018 Rules, I count ‘em:

  1. One. Don’t pick up the phone bc it’s always on silent so we don’t wake the babe.
  2. Two. Wake up, wake up, no seriously, minimum 3x a night.
  3. Three. Sleep when the baby sleeps. You know you’re gonna wake up groggy in the morning. And if you’re sleep deprived, you will look like Mommy Zombie.

 

Mommy Zombie and all, there’s no getting around that this year was all about le bebe. It’s been so special meeting her and learning more about her as she grows after nine months of anticipation. I love being a mom, and now that Madison and I have a daughter I can’t even imagine what life would be like without her. 2017 gave me the best gift ever, an outpouring of love from friends and family and got me… like a mother.

-V

 

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2016: W2 4ee

15726536_10103947730124034_6102863706995657556_nAs I sit down to reflect on the past twelve months, I’m feeling a little selfish. The world is giving 2016 a big middle finger. But the truth is that for me 2016 was epic. Calling London home for a year is something that can never be overshadowed by a year of political instability. A check off the no regrets bucket list. It was a year of adventure and proving that you CAN have it all…until you have to move home and work East Coast hours. 🙂 Turns out that five hours ahead is just enough to make staying in touch with friends and family inconvenient. When we realized we felt separated from everyone back home, we started to work on plans to move back. But while we were here, we lived it up.

After a year, I can confidently say my London assimilation is complete. See image below for photo evidence, although living in Notting Hill was one of the most American decisions we made after moving over here, and it’s one I’m v okay with. As we explored London there was no neighborhood we didn’t love. The white row houses, quiet streets and access to Hyde & Holland Park made living “west” worth it. There was nothing better than Saturday morning foggy walks through Hyde Park with all the neighborhood dogs romping around you (not on leads) scaring the geese away.

So, what’s it like living in London? (#LondonbyLondoners):

  • There are long summer days – with sunlight until 11pm on the best days. And v. short winter days. Say goodbye sun @ 3:30pm.
  • There are beautiful parks everywhere because the British know how to garden like no other
  • Fashion here is stuck in the 80s and 90s and it’s awesome. When it doubt throw on a jean jacket & trainers
  • You have easy access to Europe. Brexit and all – just hop a short flight.
  • The flats are small. No getting around it.
  • The weather is consistent year round. I wore jeans ALL SUMMER. Eek! But winters aren’t brutal. Carry a brolly at all times.
  • You have to ask for filtered coffee. Or just get a flat white.
  • There are abnormally large spiders in the UK
  • Avocado toast is a way of life. And it will set you back £8+.
  • You will drink. Beer. Cider. G&Ts. In pubs, in gardens, on rooftops and most likely, at members only clubs.
  • There is an obsession here with Jack the Ripper. Play along.
  • Grocery store produce here is so cheap but that doesn’t stop the city from turning up at markets across the city every weekend for cheese, olives, mulled wine & hot salt beef.
  • They love squeaky cheese aka halloumi. Is this in the states? Anyone?
  • Happy Christmas!! From “Halloween” to NYE… Happy Christmas!
  • Football is religion, and you must sit with your people.
  • Indian food is the national food and deservedly so. Deliveroo, do your thing.
  • Oy!
  • Ehrm!
  • Proper!

While we spent a lot of time exploring all of London’s neighborhoods, we also checked off a few places in Europe. I’m not playing favorites but you must visit Copenhagen, and Paris. And Israel. And Dubai. And Edinburgh is my spirit animal. Countries I visited:

  • Croatia: “Hey lady, would you like this whole fish?!” 
  • Denmark: best danish ever
  • France: sacre bleu!!! Took us a long time to get here.
  • Israel: sun, salt & may God be with you
  • The Netherlands: low lying, high flying… so we hear 🙂
  • Spain: ay ay tapas and Rioja, chicos!
  • Scotland: We tried the whiskey. Did not try the haggis.
  • Sweden: Fika all day, Smörgåsbords all night
  • The UAE: Tall buildings. Progressive?
  • Wales: Conquered 7 castles

My favorite 2016 memories:

  • Threw a ballin’ party for Madison’s 30th & to say goodbye to our dear friends
  • Kicked off the year herding unicorns at the Today Show
  • Witnessed one too many handshake exchanges on Pembridge Gardens from our balcony & in our Uber
  • Got really good at making reservations & yes… missed cooking
  • Got a bitmoji and felt like she really represented me
  • Had a balcony for 3 months
  • Someone in the flat made it to level 23 in Pokemon Go
  • Spiders found me and a new fear was born inside me
  • A toaster from Dubai became the best gift and made for magical mornings with soft boiled eggs & avocado toast
  • I drove on the left side of the road like a BOSS
  • Learned more curses than I ever thought I’d know from  a football match
  • Was in a constant state of jet lag
  • Experienced British Summertime and verified that no London festival is complete without rain
  • Spent most nights working until between 12 and 2am
  • I ate ants and loved them. Will always remember the tangy experience at Noma
  • Made a friend in the Cotswolds who introduced me to friends in Champagne
  • Tried VR @ Vidcon and remembered why I don’t skateboard
  • Decided that from now on I drink G&Ts from a goblet
  • Started drinking my coffee black
  • Tried my hand at show marketing and ended the year as friends with Mariah Carey’s social media manager
  • Ate way too many meringues
  • Bought way too many sneakers (trainers). Just kidding, you can never have enough Nikes.
  • On Sundays we biked park to park to park to Big Ben
  • Re-branded  Anchor Media (check out the site!)
  • Paid off my student loans. All. of. them.
  • Binge- watched Westworld and The Crown. John Oliver every week. AND YTO.
  • Learned that my fingerprints are fading… I’ll let you infer my next step and why we’re moving back stateside… cough…. CIA.

Looking into the new year, I am excited to try a new city. NYC makes sense. My resolutions this new year’s eve are to will remain positive and open minded. As I write this, our president elect tweeted a nice happy new years message and I’m reminded that the presidency should never be our focal point for inspiring positive change in this world. I’m looking to all of you to kick off 2017 with the love and support we all deserve to receive and give each other.

xoxo,

V

PS: the title of this post is my London post code which I never memorized – every time I flew back to London I had to ask Madison our zip code for my landing card. I think it was my subconscious knowing this amazing city was temporary.

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Where we’ve been…

It’s been a crazy year. And I don’t mean that in the sense of ooo yea “crazy.” I mean it’s been nonstop, full British assimilation.

Anyways… I’m in Dubrovnik and it’s thundering and pouring and there is not much else to do on a beach vaca when you can’t be on the beach. So. I’m blogging. We’re blogging – I put Madison to work. 🙂

We’re using this time to catch you up, because it’s been AMAZING having visitors taking us on their adventures around London and enjoying weekend trips on our own time. Since we’ve been able to see so much in such a short time, we obviously have a lot of advice and a lot of opinions, so we’re creating a city guide for each place we’ve traveled. You know – so when someone asks, we can pretentiously send them a link to my blog. We hope it’s helpful, but at this point tbh it’s so we don’t forget everything we’ve done. We’re getting older! And the memory is not as good as it used to be.

Right. So – to catch you up — been in London since February. Traveled. Now writing about our adventures. Come visit before you miss the opportunity to stay on a (very comfy) air mattress in Notting Hill with bottomless full english breakfasts and rosè! Cheers, mate.

xx

Victoria & Madison