A Fun Project

Last week I had the chance to see the final product for a cool project I worked on last year. We were engaged by a development/ real estate company to consult on the floorplans, layouts and interior finishes for a condo building development in Medford called One St. Clare.  It was a great project because I always get SO frustrated when I tour new construction homes and condos and see mediocre “builder grade” finishes that went out of style in the 90’s.  It doesn’t cost more to use more classic, universally appealing finished- in some cases, it can even be cheaper! White subway tile in a shower costs a fraction of tumbled travertine, for example, and looks so much better!

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I happen to think these units came out awesome!  The model unites were staged by Stephanie Morrison and they came out fantastic.

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These professional shots show the colors better than the iPhone ones I tool below.  The walls were painted Sherwin Williams Eider White with Extra White trim and we selected a greyish pre-finished wood plank floor that came out incredible.

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Fashion Friday: Men in Stripes?

I like to say that Andrew has been my most successful makeover.  I’ve taken him from tapered acid wash jeans and mandals to dark wash slim denim and sleek leather lace ups.  But even though he now dresses WAY better, there are still some things we don’t agree on.  The number one thing that comes up over and over: horizontal striped tops and sweaters.  There is only one known incident in which Andrew has worn a horizontal stripe sweater and it was 1) forced and 2) while in Newport, so in other words, the only setting in which he felt it was maybe okay. (I’m gonna get in so much trouble for posting this)…

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(he’s drinking so much to forget he’s wearing the sweater)

And the whole time he was wearing it he could be heard muttering “I look stupid”, as if I made him wear a hot pink wrap dress to cocktail hour.  The only exception to this rule are striped polo golf shirts, which somehow are the ONLY allowed exception to this “no horizontal stripes” rule.

I however, think stripes look cute on guys! If i manage to get Andrew to even try something on like that it goes a little something like this:

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Need some help with ideas about what to get your husband or Dad for Father’s Day? Here are some ideas I rounded up for you!

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1. Croquet set for some backyard family fun.

2. The Apple watch, of course.

3. Bose noise cancelling headphones for business trip flights.

4. I think every guy looks good in these Ray Bans.

5. & 7.  A great golf outfit (shirt/ shorts) from Bonobos’ new golf line.

6. A gorgeous new briefcase/ messenger bag.

8. This cool glass that keeps his drink cold while not watering it down.

9. We LOVE our little Bose speaker– you can put it anywhere and get great sound. Comes in lots of colors too.

10. The Nest Thermostat– for the Dad who always complains about how hot/ cold you keep the house. :)

11. I got Andrew into some classic New Balances and now he has two pairs and WILL NOT take them off. Love this new green/grey color.

12. A camo weekender for him (and for you, maybe this awesome stripe tote which I LOVE)

13. This keychain has a few cool mini tools that are handy and also looks great.

14. If he loves the ocean, these small paintings of Nantucket are so fantastic (I bought one on my last trip there).

15. A copy of Judd Apatow’s new book would be welcome for any guy who loves his movies.

16. The Nike Vapor Driver– apparently an awesome one.

17. Craft beer barbeque sauce– need I say more?

Sponsor Welcome (Back!): Felix Doolittle

I’m always so happy when long time sponsors of EOS keep coming back to us to work together. Felix Doolittle is a special one because it’s based in my hometown of Newton, MA, and I love supporting local small businesses. Not to mention I use their address labels all the time and think their work is really lovely and unique! The artistry of the illustrations is so gorgeous and charming, don’t you think?  Their goods make awesome gifts for just about anyone, and right now you can get 20% off your order with the code FELIX20! Happy Wednesday!

Here’s a peek at some new items as well as some personal faves of mine!

These new illustrations are so fantastic, I particularly like the animal one which are a great alternative to the animal photographs that a lot of people are using in nurseries!
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A Personal Choice.

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Last week an article came out in the New York Times Magazine regarding pregnant women with depression and anxiety that really has had me thinking (read it here). It’s long but also truly interesting, scary, uplifting and ultimately, very important.  Good Morning America did a mediocre segment on this (sorry GMA, but it’s true) and I started feeling like I was busting at the seams to chime in publicly since the conversation wasn’t reflecting my experiences. So here it goes.

My relationship with anti-depressants/ SSRI’s began when I was 15.  At that time I was in a hospital being treated for anorexia and ALL patients had to go on one of these drugs.  I was given Prozac despite my insistence that I was not depressed.  From the outside, that probably seemed laughable to the doctors and everyone else around me since I was so obviously slowly killing myself through starvation, but the truth was I wasn’t depressed. I was anxious.  And that anxiety fueled a need for control and quest for perfection, hence, my eating disorder.  Regardless, I stayed on that drug for years just assuming that it had helped me recover relatively quickly for someone suffering from that tough to treat disease and that staying on it was a preventative measure against a relapse.

Then in college I felt certain that I was fine and went off it with no problems. I was on a low dose anyways, and had no trouble quitting. Life was good, and I felt fine for a long while. Until I didn’t.  This cycle has repeated itself constantly for the past 20 years. I’ve tried every SSRI on the market- some worked wonders (Paxil, Zoloft) and some made my life a living hell (Wellbutrin, Effexor).   And I’ve fought being on them every, single round of treatment.  For some reason it felt like a weakness to be on them, and an unnatural choice. In the past I’ve tried to just “handle” my anxiety with exercise, an organic, gluten-free diet, vitamins, supplements, yoga and meditation; an effort that would last a few days or weeks before I found myself back in my old habit of constantly worrying and feeling anxious with a giant Whole Foods bill to boot.  All these things certainly helped my health and well-being, but none really touched the root of my anxiety. I’d still lie in shavasana worrying about my to do list and that funny ache in my knee (could it be cancer? I’d check WebMD later.)

Finally, at 35 I accepted that I need to take medication. Not a lot, actually I take very little, but that little bit helps me so much.  Looking at my family tree, it’s easy to see that this is not something that struck me out of the blue or a personality quirk, as many members struggle with anxiety.  There can be a biological cause, as studies show, similar to that of allergies or diabetes- and yet we stigmatize one and not the others.  I started accepting this and thinking about how silly it was to struggle every day when help was readily available.  And  oddly, the person who strongly suggested I go back on an SSRI was my first fertility doctor.  I was being prepped for a procedure and she was going over my medication list, of which there was none, except for a note that I had recently been on Zoloft.

I told her I had gone off it the day I found out I was pregnant last March since I was worried about what it would do to the baby. She looked at me and said “You need to go back on it. Infertility and IVF is incredibly stressful and there is no reason not to, it can only help.” I started thinking, this was a really stressful path to have to travel, maybe I should consider going back on it? But first I wanted to do some research.  I had heard so much about how bad SSRI’s are for your baby during pregnancy in the media and that scared me (especially the hypochondriac side of me).

Luckily, she wasn’t the only doctor I had to talk to about this. I also had  what I like to call my “gynochiatrist” (he specializes in the mental health and medication of pregnant women).  Actually, he was quoted in the New York Times article above and is one of the leading doctors in the country on this topic.  I am lucky to have such an intelligent voice to guide me on this decision.  In no uncertain terms he has told me again and again that the risks of taking a low-dose (or even a higher dose) of these very well studied drugs is very low compared to the risks that high anxiety and depression have not only on the mother, but the growing baby too.  Many people, including doctors, overlook the effect that untreated anxiety and depression have on the baby for some reason. I think vilifying drugs is much easier.

And so, I’ve been on my medication this entire pregnancy.  Yes, I went back on before my second IVF procedure, and yes I stayed on long past seeing those two blue lines on my pregnancy test. In fact, I do think that it helped me get pregnant, since there also have been studies linking high stress to difficulty getting pregnant, which I do think could have been a factor in my own struggle.  In my mind, there was no argument against it, only for it. But having the topic come to the forefront again right as I hit my second trimester sent me back into freak out mode and had me questioning my previously confident choice.

So I went back to my specialist last week and talked through my concerns with him after reading the article, and yet again he told me about the “soft data” in previous studies and that newer, better studies show that the risks of taking most SSRI’s during pregnancy (there are some exceptions, so talk to your doctor) are so low, in many cases in fact show no risk, that it’s a clear benefit to stay on them for someone who functions better on them. Like me. Staying calm, enjoying the pregnancy (as much as possible when you’re barfing) and having the desire to work out, socialize, eat well and laugh is so much more beneficial to the baby than the tiny risk that the drugs hold.

When you’re pregnant there are so many warnings and things you aren’t supposed to do. It can be triggering for people who struggle with anxiety. While dealing with morning sickness earlier on I had this random, insane craving for tuna sandwiches.  And one day I was finally hungry, and all I wanted was a stupid tuna sandwich, so I ate one. And felt SO guilty since now they tell you to stay away from it.  But I needed calories and protein and that’s all I wanted to eat and it was delicious. I told my OBGYN I was concerned about this craving and she was like “Calm down, as long as you don’t eat more than one or two a week you are fine! Don’t worry!”  So many of the don’ts pregnant women are assaulted with are dated, over-hyped and alarmist (I just read Expecting Better and it was all about this, I recommend it if you’re interested).

The decisions each woman makes during her pregnancy are her own and very personal- be it a glass of wine here and there or taking medication.  I really wish that there was more of a sense of compassion and understanding surrounding the incredibly complicated, emotional and varied circumstances each person deals with during the very long 10 months of pregnancy.  So much judgement is passed on women who make certain choices, like the one I’ve made.  In fact, some of you may be thinking that the choice I’ve made is a selfish one. But I am here to tell you it’s not, and in fact it’s not a choice at all- it’s a need.  Maybe some of you made the same decision to stay on medication but are too scared to admit it for fear of that judgement. In fact, I’m kind of scared to slick “publish” right now for fear of what others will say, think and do.  Am I worried something will be wrong with my baby because of my drugs? You bet your ass I am.  But what’s far scarier is the amount of worry I would have NOT taking them and ending up standing on a ledge somewhere.  So I really hope we can change the stigma one person at a time.  If speaking out about my choice, and maybe encouraging you to speak out if you made the same choice, helps just one woman who is struggling and scared get help and know it’s okay to do so, then I will feel successful. We’re all in this together.