Phyllis Mae Zax Holland - Rabbi David Lyon remembers my grandmother

Some people live to be nearly 94, by virtue of good genes and favorable health. Phyllis Holland lived to be nearly 94, by virtue of sheer will. She didn’t want to be left out of anything, she didn’t like getting older, and she didn’t want to die. Her passion for life was evident to anyone who knew her and loved her. Phyllis lived by her own rules, and she edited them over time to suit her needs. But, if anyone observed carefully, the rule that she never edited was love of self and family. 

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How to let go of "mom guilt" and start thriving at home and at work

After teaching my first class at Define living last week, I got a serious itch to start sharing more about how I started my own business about six months into motherhood. I've decided to start a new YouTube series (name to be decided, but I'm all about doing things when you're ready and not when you have all the details sorted out) and I'm thrilled to present episode #1! Future episodes will "air" each Monday and cover topics like vision boarding, scheduling, asking for help, getting organized and more. Hope you all enjoy this first video on one of my favorite topics!

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I wrote a letter to a stranger on Instagram, and now I'm sharing it with you

For several years now, I've been following a total stranger on Instagram who reminds me a lot of my younger self. I've wanted to reach out to her for a while - she's a former health coach who posts somewhat regularly about some of the struggles she's having in her career, but I've always held back so as not to be the total creeper that messages strangers on the internet. I finally decided to throw my ego to the side for a minute and reached out to her this weekend when one of her posts mentioned she was having a hard time trusting herself after making the decision to step away from her career in coaching.

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Cleaning out my closet: how I completely overhauled my wardrobe in 2017

It all started when Ben and I moved into together. We chose an older house - I mean literally an entire century old - and there were only two extremely tiny closets for both of us to wedge all of our clothing into. Ben made no sacrifices - he hung up his suits two inches apart in his closet and put the rest of his stuff on clothing racks in our bedroom - but I couldn't stand the clutter. The idea of having one more clothing rack in our house filled me with angst and I just wanted all of the stuff out.

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The Roses get outlets in their bathrooms (where I've been + what I've been up to these past few months)

It hasn't escaped me that the last time I wrote to you was when I met my lifelong hero, Michael Bolton, at the end of May. Here we are in mid-July and so much has happened since then, I don't even know where to begin. Besides not knowing where to start, I haven't really wanted to. I've been blogging for nearly seven years, and it's taken me about that long to understand that life has to "happen" before you can really write about it. Right now, it's all happening.

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On going home

My audience is small, but they hear everything I say. They know me. They see me. There aren't many of them, but they get it, and it's everything.  I still need a witness to my life, but I don't need a million. And I don't need a false one. And I wish I could tell every lonely high schooler that as long as just one person can witness you, you're going to be okay. God doesn't ask that everyone understand us. In fact, we weren't meant to be understood by everyone.

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Easy like Saturday Afternoon: How unplugging on the weekends has made me saner

When smartphone addiction became the norm, I realized I didn't have to hide mine anymore because all of us are addicted. But then my baby was born and I read a bunch of articles about how our children are extremely delayed in learning social cues because we're staring at our phones instead of at them and I got seriously freaked out. I decided it was time to set some real boundaries around how and when I use my smartphone, and the most bizarre thing happened: I got a whole lot happier.

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5 things I promised myself I would never do as a parent that I'm totally doing

I was 17 when I read "The Continuum Concept", one of the first books written in the '70s about co-sleeping. I promised myself that our children would sleep in our bed until they were 4, and by four weeks, our daughter was sleeping in her own room. I've heard all about how much we're destroying her and hindering her emotional development, but what if I told you that she seriously WON'T fall asleep anywhere but her own crib?!

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If you're feeling guilty about not breastfeeding, read this

I planned on breastfeeding Selma until she was one and gave up when she was 4 weeks old. I won't go into all the reasons why, but suffice it to say I was traumatized by my decision. Switching to the bottle felt like a matter of my own emotional survival, but I couldn't let go of the shame of it all. How could I knowingly decide against something that I knew was "better" for my baby? If I gave up that "easily", what next?

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It's Mourning in America

It's a bizarre experience to have a child in a country you weren't born in, even though you never left home.

I was born in an America of inclusivity. Although we were flawed, we strived to do right by the promises that remain inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Today, my five-month-old daughter, husband and I live in an America that, over the course of a week, is hardly recognizable from the country I was raised in.

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We got here because we stopped listening to each other. We have to do the opposite in order to get out.

When I was about 3 months pregnant with Selma, Ben and I went on a 17-hour road trip to visit family in Colorado. We made a ton of stops on the way back, and one of my favorites was to a Bar-B-Que restaurant in Sweetwater, Texas. It was the heart of red-state America, and from the moment we walked in, it was clear we were probably the only Jewish Democrats, let alone Democrats, for miles. Still, we felt welcomed.

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In five seconds, this made me feel like a better parent

If you've ever seen the movie "Trumbo", it's easy to visualize my husband's nighttime routine. Every evening, he takes up to three baths, each with several of his favorite newspapers in tow. He usually summons me when he comes across something interesting that's worth sharing, and tonight was no different: 

"Laura, have you ever heard of attachment parenting?" he shouted from the bathroom. 

Well, that's a new one,  I thought to myself.

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The only Baby Products you need for your small space (and the ones you can REALLY live without)

New parents are a marketers dream: we really have no idea what our lives are going to be like once our little one arrives, so we'll buy pretty much anything we're told to. Especially If we live in a small space, it's easy to see why having too many products around the house can quickly become a nightmare: before you know it, you're living in a 950 sq. ft. home or apartment that's covered in contraptions with no room to spare.

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On Joy and Unpredictability

I'm writing this because this morning is exactly what this year, and especially these last 2.5 months, have been like for us. But this morning is also different. This morning I am so grateful I could cry. This morning, everything is crazy like it always is, but I get to do crazy and messy and unpredictable with the people I love most in the world. We never know what's going to happen next and how each day will unfold, but we get to figure it out with each other and hold each other really really tight during all of it. While I often wish I had a bit more control, I'm so grateful to have my little family around me so we can hold on to each other when we don't realize we really don't have any.

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