life lately

So life lately...

Trying to get things back to normal but also trying to start anew. When you go through any type of trauma it's important to learn, grow, and change afterward. The last thing you want to do is pretend that nothing happened. Being in denial is the breeding ground for PTSD. So instead, embrace the mess, clean up, and try to improve. Even if your improvements are small, trivial...something like redecorating can be amazingly therapeutic.
For us, we used the flood downstairs as our opportunity for finally moving to our permanent upstairs bedroom. Our downstairs tiny bedroom was flooded and we had to rip up the soaked carpet tiles and prepare to move our bed and everything upstairs. The upstairs room was pretty much a square box used for storage. And since the floors were linoleum we needed to lay down some carpet. We normally would go with hardwood floors but after the storm and the cold and the constant wet muddy socks...carpeting seemed like such a cozy idea for the bedroom. So we first ordered some carpet tiles from Lowes...and when they arrived a week later we were absolutely horrified by the quality. So so thin and coarse and gross...worse than astro turf. But I can't denounce carpet tiles outright. The last ones that we got from Home Depot were much nicer. But these ones from Lowes...we couldn't return them quick enough!

So then we went to our local carpet mill after seeing their endearing local commercials with the owner's young sons holding rolls of carpet and saying things like "Reliable". Well we went in, found some good carpet, got a great price, and we really liked the people there...and what sealed the deal is that they said they could install within the next 48 hours. Perfect. The installers showed up the other day and were completely done in under 45 minutes. The first thing we did was carry the dogs upstairs and show them their new bedroom. We knew they'd love it. Every time they visit grandma and grandpa's house they run around on the carpet like maniacs. Our little chubby pumpkin Jack flips out, runs circles around his big brother Carlos. Normally, Jack spends the entire day under blankies...but put him on some carpet and you've got a Whirling Dervish. He'll be a skinny pumpkin in no time!

So, the new bedroom is a big departure for us decor wise. We usually go with lighter colors, pastels, lots of white. But we went with a gray on gray on gray color palette for the new bedroom. We were trying to channel the feeling of a dimly lit, cozy hotel room. A place to shut out the world and just sleep. And so far it feels amazing. We have yet to actually's just the bones right now...but it'll all come together eventually. Maybe not right away though. We've got way too much on our plate to worry about the little details.

Even though the news channels have moved on from the story of Hurricane Sandy, the reality is still bleak and tragic for a whole lot of our neighbors. There are many people who are still without power. Just a block over we can still hear a generator going. So many families are without homes. We walked around our small town and entire neighborhoods are empty...every house gutted...the contents, the walls and floors are in piles out on the streets in front. We've been bringing goods to our American Legion. They are still in need of cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products...also underwear and socks. And now with the holidays approaching the focus is on food and utensils. Plastic forks, spoons, and knives...paper plates, cups...these are in demand right now. And The Food Bank of Monmouth County will be in desperate need of donations as well. They do great work. So if you'd like to help out, give them a visit and see how you can.

My friend Amanda from The Fancy Lady Gourmet , who is also a Jersey girl...well, she is just amazing and my heart goes out to her and her family. She lost her uncle in the storm and through this heartbreak she still found it in her heart to take the time and energy to bake and send us a BIG box of her famous cookies...and donations for our community. I've blogged about Amanda and her amazing beautiful and delicious cookies before. I was floored when her package arrived.

These photos are just so so heartbreaking. I feel dizzy, and my heart pounds when I look at them. This is an aerial shot of Ortley Beach. And below is the exact same view after the storm.

Devastated. All of those families are displaced...those memories, collections, living rooms, and kitchens, and holidays...All gone.

Today we took another walk around our little town and surveyed the gigantic clean up effort. So much of the town was under water and the muddy residue remains. We're lucky that it isn't summertime because in the heat I'm sure the place would be so so stinky. In any empty lots there are piles of the debris from all over town. The objects that once were the heart and souls of so many family's homes are now not even recognizable.
But it was a beautiful day weather wise and you really do get a sense of people making the best of things. Trying to rebuild and move on and make life better a day at a time. I know we are. Big hugs to all of you who have helped us along the way. You could never understand just how much your help means to us.
xo, Jenny


  1. Hugs, Jenny (and send some to Aaron)! These images and your updates are so heartbreaking, but as always, your incredible strength and optimism shine through. I know there are plenty of days when it'll be hard to stay positive, but I hope you keep in mind how many people you've helped by sharing your story and asking for donations.

    Oh and as a funny side note, my latest post has the same title as yours.

    Much love from Seattle!! <3 Kels

  2. Wow, that aerial shot.. that really tore at my heart.

    Seems your cloud has given you a silver lining in your new grey bedroom... sounds like a perfect place to relax and rest.

    *big hugs* Tori

  3. Thinking about you two daily.

    Yeah for cozy carpet, just wait 'til the dogs start scratching it for nesting... Lol I'm always telling my Bill he can't possibly make the carpet more comfortable but what do I know!?

  4. Oh Jenny, I'm still crushed by your story but just reading these posts is inspiring. And your friend Amanda sounds like a sweetie.

    I love the idea of a grey bedroom, been thinking about doing the same thing in my home. I have a pinterest board for it too and waiting until I have a nicer place for it but maybe I shouldn't wait.


  5. Oh, Jenny! I'm so sorry for all you've been through! Sorry I didn't see this until today, but I'm glad you are hanging in there. Hope everything gets back to normal for you soon! Hugs and Kisses! Laurie:)

  6. I have been reading every one of your posts, and have felt so heartbroken for you and the people of the jersey shore area. I admire your tenacity to move on, and make lemonade from lemons. :) Your new bedroom is beautiful, and gives me great inspiration for an upcoming renovation....the colors are fantastic. Big hugs and wishes for you all. <3

  7. here's to keeping your chin, up in the such destruction! that's so sad about your friends uncle. :( those cookies do look delicious. :)

  8. Those cookies look fantastic ... Losing someone you love, as Amanda did, is the hardest of all losses. Glad she still finds it in her to be positive about life, and glad you do too. I am sure some days you just want to sit and cry about all you and your friends are going through, but I am sure writing help. It helps me no matter what the situation is. Sadly, the media moves on very quickly ... There is always something else happening in this crazy world, something that sells more .. I used to be in the journalism business, and it's that selling aspect that made me quit. It didn't feel very noble anymore.

  9. Thank you so much for thes heartbreaking updates, I have a brother in Staten Island who I haven't spoken to in many years, from what I've heard he's doing fine, but rode out the storm in his basement appartement :/ Try to enjoy the decorating process as much as you can, it may seem trivial, but anything that can keep your spirit high is worth it :)

  10. Completely breaks my heart! My cousin in north NJ was telling me that the bar he bartends at was filled with sand and they can't put it back before it's checked for sewage... just heart breaking!!

  11. So glad your keeping a positive and I love your pillow on your bed.

  12. Made me cry. Great post. Keep writing.

  13. Goodness, such tragedy. :( I can't even imagine. I'm really glad you promoted your local food bank, as we attend one in our area and it's such a help - especially around the holiday season. I hope a lot of people go donate and help out everyone who is struggling.

    Your new bedroom sounds absolutely lovely. :) Mmmm, carpeting and dark colors! <3

  14. Sweet pic of your new glad for you both or should I say all 4 of you? :o) Sorry to hear of people still without power....terrible for sure. :o( and the aerial shot reminded me of Japan....beyond words.

  15. So glad to see you "on the mend" AWESOME to be able to start fresh and new....and so quickly! I know it probably doesn't feel that way to you but when you look around and see all the other devastation it has to make YOU feel blessed.

    Thanks for keeping us posted on the progress.

  16. love your outlook, very inspiration! must be so hard, i am far too precious over my space and material possessions!

    so amazing to hear your blog/fb friends helped out so much in your past entries!

    Barnicles x

  17. Wow that is so sad so many people lost their homes, so many memories got washed away by Sandy my heart goes out to all those who lost their homes and their lives :(


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