This summer was such a whirlwind, it's hard to fathom that Fall is already here—and that I've been in the process of writing this post for weeks! The past few months have been filled with some pretty big & exciting life changes for me, and spare time has been non-existent. In July, after almost 13 years in New York City, I returned to my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA with my family. Anyone in who has lived in NYC knows there is truly no other place like it. It had become home to me; I celebrated life's biggest milestones and made many of my dearest, truest friends there. I love the city with all my heart, and it was very hard to leave. But the time had come to move on to a new chapter, one where I can afford a home to raise my children and have family support close by. So, my husband and I packed up our apartment, our dog, and our (then) 4 month-old son, and headed to the 'Burgh.
Pittsburgh has undergone tons of change and revitalization in the nearly 20 years since I had been gone. It feels like a very different city than when I grew up. There's more emphasis on it's cultural scene, and a vibrant creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit have transformed many of its wonderful neighborhoods. And, there's a whole foodie culture here that I can't wait to check out! Yet, it still has the same friendly, down-to-earth vibe that I knew growing up and that I missed a lot during all the years I lived in New York. We've settled into a neighborhood on the north shore of the city and have been having a great time getting reacquainted with this town. It feels great to be back home!
Moving itself was at least 10 times more stressful with an infant, and something I would never, ever recommend. But, in hindsight it's all been worth it, as we're much happier in our new big, bright, (and much more affordable!) apartment after a year in the cramped, dark basement apartment that we left in Brooklyn. It's amazing what fresh air, natural light, and a little open space will do to improve one's outlook—even our pup has a pep back in his step!
Of course, the biggest change has been adjusting to life with a baby! Each day brings a new slew of amazing, difficult, precious, frustrating, and wonderful moments—sometimes all simultaneously. I'm learning how to take it all one day at a time; trying to embrace the great days and remind myself that the bad ones won't last forever. And while I continue to navigate the wonderful craziness of motherhood, I'm also figuring out how to be a work-at-home mom. I returned from my maternity leave a few months ago and began to take projects just as the dust from our move was beginning to settle. So many women have to choose between career and staying home to raise their babies, so I feel lucky that I can have best of both worlds by continuing to do work that I love while I still being with my son every single day. But that comes with it's own set of very difficult challenges, and it's been harder than I thought. Each day is a balancing act and the unpredictability of a baby's schedule combined with the unpredictability of freelancing usually leaves me feeling like a hamster running endlessly in a wheel, never catching up in work or in life. I'm still very much figuring out my bandwidth and how to balance things while staying at least a little sane—I try to take pride in the little successes each day, no matter how small. (Like celebrating getting laundry done, cooking dinner, or responding to even one email in my overflowing inbox!)
These changes have all been huge and crazy and fast—but, they have all been wonderful and brought an incredible amount of happiness and joy into my life. Slowly but surely I'm adjusting to this new life and starting to get back on my career horse. I've recently wrapped up some new exciting projects - some advertising work, a few magazine pieces, and even my first fully illustrated middle grade novel! I can't wait to share things as they're published in the upcoming weeks and months. I also plan to add some new custom invitation and stationery work to my site soon. So, thanks for following along, and reading this very long update! :) Please stay tuned!