Thursday, September 22, 2016

What's Been Going On Behind the Scenes?

It's been a little quiet over here but for good reasons. Yesterday, I was sitting here doing some work and I realized that I haven't talked much about my career here or what has been going on behind the scenes. This space has always been a place of all things relating to my life and journey, hence the title of this blog... I realized that my work is a big part of my life but I hadn't shared much of that. I think the reason I haven't, is because I didn't want it to come off that I was trying to sell myself. This blog has always been a very "Real" place. I keep it honest and talk about topics that are raw. Topics that I get emails and messages about, women who can relate and say thank-you for being real.  But truthfully, my career and work is real as well. The reason there's been crickets over here is because work and a few other projects have been consuming my time.

My family and I have gone through some challenges- some ups and downs to get where we are now. Life evolves and with each new chapter, you grow and learn. Why not incorporate all aspects of my life? Why am I not sharing how motherhood and work CAN exist together? Or that it takes some sweat to get to something good?

Good question.

I've decided to share with you all that has been going on behind the scenes. I've done a little update of my blog and will be including topics that follow along with not only my life, but my work life too. You will notice a little added page at the top titled, "Real Estate". There you can find out how to contact me and more about what I do. The reason I haven't been as active recently, is because I've been focusing on building something more....let me elaborate.

Making the decision to stop my 40 hour 8-5 job and venture into a new territory was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I must admit that I have always loved the idea of being my own boss. Most of us have, right? Making my own hours and still being able to raise my own kids 80% of the time sounded ideal. But I could never figure out how to do this. Sometimes life gives us little nudges in the right direction and this is just what happened to me. After the birth of my son, and not wanting to pay the majority of my paycheck to daycare, I decided that I would take a leap of faith and try something new. I had already put 10+ years of mortgage and lending under my belt. So what could I do with that type of background that would make for an amazing transition? Real Estate landed in my lap and I went for it. Keller Williams seemed to be the right fit for me. They offered amazing training, support and everything that was important to me. Since then, working comes as a pleasure to me. I'm doing 3 of the things that I love best:

Helping others make their dreams a reality,
being my own boss
And tackling new adventures all the time!

I couldn't ask for more! So what do I do everyday? I build my business and raise my family. I wake up in the morning and have breakfast with my kids. I get Scarlett off to school and then take some time to play with Maxwell. When he naps, I get down to business and work making phone calls, returning emails and prospecting. I did hire a Nanny to help out with Maxwell but she has since left to school so I am in the process of hiring a new one. Most of my work is during evenings and weekends which works out great for my family. When Ty comes home, he takes over with the kids allowing me to head out to showings or appointments. I also do a lot of socializing. Parties, social and community events are all ways for me to market and work effectively. Who doesn't love a good party or two? What makes it better is that I'm working while enjoying something I love to do anyhow. That is probably one of the best parts of my job is that I get to choose how to run my business.

Of course, it still takes A LOT of work. In fact, I'd say that keeping on top of myself and keeping motivated is a lot more challenging than going into a job every day working under someone else's supervision. There are also a lot of unexpected surprises that pop up here in this business. But I enjoy a good challenge. And when I am helping clients, I feel the happiest and work the hardest. I offer a variety of different services. I intend to talk about a few of them here and there while still maintaining the other parts of my life like motherhood, life and style topics. In addition to buying and selling, I also specialize in some areas: First Time Home Buying, Relocation, and Luxury Sales. I am amazed at what people don't know about Real Estate and how available and affordable it really is. I hope to spread the word on that and to also address topics that I get asked by my clients often.

So while I've been hard at work with real estate and raising these kiddos of mine, Ty and I also have begun the process of opening our umbrella business, LaFountaine Enterprise. The website is in the works but it will offer all of our services in one spot. What kind of services? My husband owns his own electrical business. Electrical, Seasonal Rentals and Real Estate are just a few of the things that we will offer. (More on that soon). I'm really excited to start something that is our own. Something we take pride in and do with passion.

I have one bit of advice for those of you out there looking for a change or feeling the need for more...take a chance! My husband Ty is the dreamer while I'm the practical one. I need plans and formulas. I want to see that we aren't taking a risk. He tells me all the time, "If you never take risk, you won't ever get reward.".............These words are oh so true. We make a great team. He thinks of great, vibrant ideas and I back them up with facts and organize the implementation of them. Whatever it is that you want to do....just go after it. Nothing in life is easy so you might as well go after something that you really want. There are still MANY ways in which this country is flawed and it could always use improvements, but what a great place to live in that we can have the opportunity to go after our dreams.  Never in a hundred years would I have thought that I could raise my children all while contributing to my family's income. Now, I'm excited to expand that even further, with my husband, doing something he is passionate about as well. Now you know what's been going on behind the scenes over here and I hope you follow along on our journey. I have a feeling it's gonna be a good one!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Taste of Fall, My School Shopping Secrets & Other Ramblings...

These past few mornings have given us a taste of Fall here in upstate New York. I sure do love those crisp mornings when I wake up to open windows fresh air before the day heats up. I am not ready for Fall quite yet, but I do enjoy it when the humidity lessens at the end of summer.

Lately I've been trying to mold all aspects of our home life into some sort of organized fashion. That's a hard task with two small kids. But I've found that less is more lately. I've been decluttering room after room, each time I accomplish one section, I feel a little bit of weight lift off of me. It could very well be a personality trait. Just the same, I'm sure it gives anyone a little bit of relief to do some good old organization and purging. The kids have so much STUFF! I think about the fact that Christmas is 4 months away and the thought of MORE toys in my home is overwhelming. Scarlett is a little hoarder at times, so when she's not looking I've slowly taken a few things, (that I know doesn't even look at), away for donation. A lot of their clothes I've tried to sell to make money for the never-ending need for new clothes. I will say that the second time around, I am a lot smarter with what I purchase for clothes and baby products. With Scarlett I bought every cute outfit that I came across. If recommended it, I had it. But I guess that's what happens with the first. With Maxwell, I know that that cute outfit will only fit him for maybe 3 months, so is it really worth $60? I am more strategic with my purchases and I know that not every toy on the best baby website is as good as it is reviewed. Maxwell has much less than Scarlett had at his age.

Do I feel bad? No.
I know that he has everything that he needs. The fact that I bought Scarlett a lot of gender neutral items is paying off now that Maxwell can use Scarlett's old toys and things.

As Fall approaches, I find myself doing more of a binge cleaning than any other season. Winter is long and with much time spent inside. That being said, I want my home to be an enjoyable place to live in. Less clutter = less stress in my opinion. I also need to really buckle down on getting my office area organized. It's where I've been working a lot lately now that my sitter left for school. I need it to be clean in order to focus and work well.

We went school shopping for Scarlett's supplies for Kindergarten. Oh gosh....every time I say that I get a little sentimental. Kindergarten. That also means the start of school shopping for clothes. I really do shopping for clothes every season, so it isn't much different. That is the difference with living in an area that has 4 very defined seasons, you need new clothes for your growing kids a lot sooner. We can't wear summer clothes in the Fall. My strategy is this: I buy 2 outfits and a pair of shoes for them. Because at the start of the school year in September, it's still pretty warm here and they end up wearing some of their summer clothes and shoes anyhow. Then about 2 weeks after school starts, I go online and pick up a good amount of things on sale. It's the way to go. I learned that after buying for Scarlett last year and seeing the prices drop a week after we bought them.

As much as I hate to see this wonderful Summer fade, I am ready to get into a routine and start a fresh new period. I always say how much I appreciate the seasons of the North East. We are blessed to have such beautiful, turning seasons. With work going into overdrive, I need to have a little more time to focus. These Summer days of naked kids, ice cream and water play were enjoyed. Now comes a soft and subtle change. A way to keep us appreciating Summer by slipping away for another year. Peace out August....It's been real.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Horse Bedroom For Scarlett.

Scarlett has had a few different rooms in her short life time.

Her first bedroom Here.
Another Here.
Another Here.

As she gets older, I like to change her room up every now and then. But I didn't want to spend a lot of money since she grows so quickly. Not only that, but as soon as Summer nears end, I begin major house overhaul or Fall Cleaning, if you will. Getting rid of anything that we don't need and prepping for that transition of seasons when we will spend a lot more time indoors.

As we all know, Scarlett is really into horses. So I thought it was fitting to create a horse-themed room for her. I thought about painting her room but she insisted on keeping the pink. Instead I found some horse decals on Etsy and Ty and I found them really easy to put up. Also, they aren't permanent so they will make for easy take-down. Living in Saratoga, any horse artwork or prints are priced ridiculously!  I found a horse print at HomeGoods that was only $29.99! Steal. I also found the brass horse hook for $6.99. I took a rug from another room and the garland from her 4th Horse Birthday and used them to decorate. A few horse stuffed animals here and there and I made the happiest 5 year old I know! I bought the horse decals HERE if anyone is wondering. I also took out a large amount of toys which has made clean up of her room so much easier! All the toys went to the play room closet. I will post about that soon. If any of you saw my SnapChat posts of Scarlett seeing her room for the first time (laurenrebecca44), you know that she was thrilled with all of it! Easy little make-over for the start of Fall.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chapter 32

32 came as I suspected it would. 

Too soon....
I figured a month after my actual birthday was as good a time as any to post about my birthday celebrations. It crept up on me as it does every year. Many times I have to stop and remind myself that I'm in my 30's. 30 seemed so old not that long ago. Often times I don't feel old enough to be married and settled down, let alone have 2 young children. But just the same it feels like eons ago that I was a teenager. 

There's so much that I miss about being a kid. That carefree spirit. No worries but what I would do for the summer or when my friend could come over to visit next. I miss a lot of my childhood friends. All the fun times we had. Driving my golf cart around the farm. Horse back riding. Raising baby chicks. Playing all sorts of made up games with my sisters. Imaginations were wild back then.  It's funny how birthdays pause your busy current reality for a moment and let us glance back at all of our glorious good times. It makes me melancholy to think of all those fond times past. And then I know that someday I will look back at the times that are right here in front of me, wishing that I could go back to this very day. So I quickly smile at those past moments entangled in my mind, and nod a gesture of contentment for all the joy they have brought me. I look up at what is right here in front of me and think..."Look at all this good stuff." 

I celebrated 32 with friends. My sister in law and a good friend from Massachusetts came to stay with us. We hung out by the pool and had good eats and tasty drinks. If you are looking for a good recipe, look no further than my Pinterest board, A Party Or Two HERE. We did the Scandinavian Strawberry Lemonade. I thought it was fitting since I'm Scandinavian and such. Later we went for dinner and drinks at Harvey's in downtown Saratoga Springs. After that we met more friends out in the city. Of course we visited cigar shops and danced to music. We went to roof top bars and had crazy taxi rides home. Ty even met the Redskin's head coach while out at Sperry's for a drink. The next day we went to the Race Track and then spent some more time out by the pool. It was a fun weekend indulging in good friends and lots of treats. Although a few of them were missing, I had the best time just the same. 

When all was said and done and I lay in my bed next to Ty contemplating how on earth I am 32....I counted myself lucky to celebrate another year and I look forward to all that another year might bring. I can guarantee you I won't be one of those to be ashamed of how old I am no matter what age...I'm happy to have the privilege of another year. Cheers 32! 

Take One....
Take Two...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Annual Gala White Party. 2016.

Ty and I went to Saratoga's Annual Gala: The White Party. It was a great time with a group of friends. This year, it was held at the Saratoga Polo Club. We enjoyed drinks and plenty of food while listening to live music. There were even fire works at the end of the night. I have been asked 100 times where my dress is here it is....

I bought this dress last minute on Forever XI online. You can find it here. 
I bought this dress for $35.00 and I believe it is on sale now! I was in love with the cutout on the back of the dress. Great bargain cocktail dress!

Dressing up and going out with Ty is one of my favorite things to do. We don't do it as much as we used to but when we do get a chance to get out, we definitely enjoy it to the fullest.  We even made it in Saratogian Newspaper! ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Date Day in Saratoga. And My List of Date Ideas.

Ty and I got a sitter and spent the day at the Saratoga Race Track's Luxury Suite for a work event. Best seats around + perfect weather = the ultimate date day. Ty and I are really good about having a day or night out with just the two of us at least once a month, usually more. We used to take turns planning but this summer has gotten us off schedule a bit. We love to think of different things to do to keep things feeling fresh. As most of you know, I'm that wild Leo soul that needs spice in my life. Ty is pretty content with however we end up but at the end of every night out, he will also tell you that everything seems a little less stressful. I know the importance of time away as a couple instead of being Mommy and Daddy all the time. Don't get me wrong, those jobs are amazing and we wouldn't trade them in for any night out. The key to life is balance. So we make it priority to do this. If you feel like your relationship is been in a rut....make going out AT LEAST once a month mandatory. I promise you it does wonders. 

We drank drinks, ate food, bet on horses and laughed the day away. I guessed the first 3 winning horses....I bet Ty wished he had listened to me know, doesn't he? haha....

I compiled a list of date ideas that Ty and I have done or have on our to do list. I'm always open to new ideas so if you have any, comment them to me below! 

- Go to the drive ins to watch a movie. Bring an air mattress or lay on some blankets in the back of a truck. Bring some beers or wine and snuggle up together under the stars. 

-Dinner in the Park. Sometimes the mundane of eating in your kitchen every day can be monotonous in itself. Pack up a picnic and head out to a park to eat together with no distractions. 

-Get another couple to join you for dinner. I always love meeting other couples that are in the same boat as we are. Leave all the kids with a sitter, (split the cost if you have to) and go grab dinner and listen to some music. 

-Ice Skating. Depending on where you live, sometimes it's fun during the winter months to take an evening to go ice skating together. Outdoor rinks are the best experience but you can even do this at an indoor rink during the warmer seasons. After, go grab a hot toddy at the closest place or make your own :)

-Try a local event. Here in Saratoga we can go to the Horse Track or watch a Polo Match. Take advantage of those events that your area holds. 

-Couples Massage or Couples Pedicure . This is self explanatory. A little R&R is always a great idea. Nothing like a good day of relaxation to reset your spirits. 

-Boating/Sailing. This may seem far fetched if you don't live close to the Ocean but it's really not. Going on a sailing trip together is  my favorite but even canoeing on a like or going down a river in a tube is a good alternative. Get a little sun and then have some lunch on a dock or sand-side after returning. 

-Horse back riding. I have this on my to-do list for Ty and I. I'm not sure how he feels about it but I know it would be an adventure for sure. 

-Something a little more low-key is Wine Tasting. Go taste some wines at the nearest winery. Ty and I did a wine for our first Anniversary here, and it was the best getaway I've ever had with him! This is another great one to bring another couple along. 

-Back yard Campfire. So you don't have a sitter? Wait until the kids go to bed, turn on the monitor and then start up a fire in the back-yard or patio.  We bought a small fire pit at Lowe's and it was $150 well spent. We start a fire and have a couple cocktails. I always make smore's. Easy date night.

-Dance class. This is an idea I've been toying with for awhile now. I LOVE dancing  but Ty does not dance- so I thought it would be a fun idea to have him come to a dance class with me. Takes the guess work out of it for him and pleases me. This could even be fun for couples that love dancing a lot. Try a different type of dancing that you aren't familiar with like salsa or swing. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Little Life Update and A lot of Pics.

I ate for the first time on Wednesday at 3:30 pm.
The day before I dropped Scarlett off at summer camp and when she got out of the car, she had no shoes on...

It's been that kind of a month.  Life as a working mother can be really demanding. It's gets crazier when it's working from home with kids....Of course, I'm glad that I'm busy but balancing that and taking care of the kids has proven to be a challenge. Maxwell's Nanny left for school already and Scarlett has only been going to Summer Camp for two days a week now that Horse Camp is over. There are days that I lay down at the end of the day and think....How did I even get my work accomplished today? Did I enjoy the kids as much as I should have? I should have worked out longer. Does Ty still love me as much as he used to? After all, I'm kind of a hot mess lately...I should make a list right now of what I need to accomplish tomorrow. How do mom's who work at home do it with small kids? I need to get to sleep before Maxwell wakes up...I wish I didn't lose my temper with the kids earlier...

But I've learned to be gentle with myself. I'm doing the best I can. Ty and I have been rotating with the kids and that's meant not seeing each other much. He walks in the door and I walk out. I walk in and he's asleep. I wake up and he's gone. And the I say to myself like I have so many times before....seasons. 

Scarlett starts Kindergarten in less than a month so I try and breathe through the hectic moments because I know I will miss her soon enough. Besides work, lately I've been trying to get our home more organized. I love a good clean, organized home. I feel that it makes things much easier when everything has a place. And not just a place but a well thought out place. This week I gave Scarlett's bedroom a small make-over, a horse themed make-over. She was overjoyed about it. I will post some photos of that shortly but for now you can see more on Instagram: itslaurenrebecca or SnapChat: laurenrebecca44 I also cleaned out a bunch of toys from Scarlett's bedroom when I redid it. Less toys=Less mess. Tip for those looking to have cleaner bedrooms....I organized most of them in the large toy closet that we have and the made a reading nook in the office. I desperately need a large, organized office spot too, so I'm taking over Ty's desk until I can sit down long enough and order one online.

The last couple weeks went by quickly. We spent some time with family at my sister's house a couple towns over. We also grabbed dinner on the lake. A great little place called Lake Local where the kids can play in the sandy beach area while the adults enjoy beverages as everyone waits for food. If you are ever in the Saratoga area during the summer, I recommend it. Another great thing to do in Saratoga during the summer is go to the plays in Congress Park. We lay out picnic blankets and bring dinner and just relax while we watch some Shakespeare. Even the kids love it! We watched Cyrano this year. One of my favorite plays ever! Also, Scarlett had her very first horse show and took home 4 ribbons!! 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place!! Then she won Reserve Champion for overall points. I have never been so proud of her!! Well, I guess I have, but this was a different kind of proud. I love watching her do something that she absolutely adores. I admit that we tried a few different things but I think that we finally found her thing. 

With work being so busy and life in general taking over, I've been starting blog posts and then not finishing them. It's really annoying to me, since I'm the 'get things finished' type of personality. Juggling work, motherhood, working out and trying to maintain a love life with my husband....not an easy task but I never stop trying. Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I say that I know one day I will miss it all. But it's true. I think about it a lot. When I'm old and gray and sitting in a rocking chair looking back at old photos, I know I will cry those big tears missing it all. It's as if I already know how I'll feel. The fact that I don't take one second of this life for granted is something that is embedded in my blood. I like and dislike that about myself. Often times I I feel as though I want to live even more. Does that make sense? Well...that's how I feel. As though I want to experience more love, more adventure...and see new places. I suppose the only thing that can be done about that is to go out and do it. Anyhow, as busy as it's been, I've been enjoying the last bit of summer. Looking forward to upcoming adventures for my little family and I.

PS. Because I have been slacking in the blogging department lately, I have SO many posts going up this coming week on The White Party that we went to, a date day in Saratoga, Scarlett's new horse bedroom and my birthday weekend! Check back!