Hi There.

So long, no talk!

I am not quite sure where to start this post, so I am just going to start rambling..

I had no intention of starting to blog again. Literally, none. But then I received an email reminding me that my domain subscription for The Soul Simple Life was about to expire. “Hm..” I thought – Was I ready to let it go? Apparently not.

Truth is – I love The Soul Simple Life. I don’t mean that I love this blog when I say that (clearly!). I mean that I love everything that “The Soul Simple Life” embodies to me. 

To say that I have learned  A LOT in this past year is an understatement. To say that I am the happiest that I have been in a long, long time is also an understatement. And I wholeheartedly believe that the reason I have learned, grown and become this happy version of me again is because I have finally started living the authentic life that I am meant to live. I have a long way to go and lots more to learn – that is for sure – but my excitement for life and what the future holds brings me a sense of excitement that I haven’t felt in a long time. This makes my soul pretty darn happy.



Choosing Joy

Writing my post last night was very therapeutic for me, and it really put things into perspective. I am in control of my life and my happiness – no one can take that control away from me unless I allow them to. That is why I decided to do things a little differently today. Today, I chose joy.

Instead of working from home with Brooke and Bo, as I usually do, I decided to get us all out of the house for a change of scenery. I brought Bo to “school” (doggie day care) so that he could run around and play with his friends, and Brooke and I went to my grandma’s house to work and, in Brooke’s case, run the household!

Feet on the dinner table? GiGi says "Okay!"
Feet on the dinner table? GiGi says “Okay!”

Even though I was still working, it was a nice change of pace that I think we all enjoyed.

While Brooke hung out with her dad after work I went for a run, which I desperately needed. Before I actually left the house, I really didn’t feel like running. I would have much rather taken a nap, but I knew once I got going that I would be happy that I did. And as always, I was so happy that I took that time for myself. I didn’t set any time limits, pace goals or distance goals – I just put on my headphones and ran. It sure did feel good. And when I was done, I had a few minutes to spare to hang out with this guy:


He’s awesome. I can’t rave enough about how great Bo has been since they day Brooke was born, and with all of the new transitions we are in now. He may not always get the one on one attention that he deserves with everything going on, but he is the most forgiving being I have ever met. I learn a lot from this guy too when I take the time to look around in this always moving world every once in a while.

Pure love.
Pure love.

How do you “choose joy”?

Stuck In A Rut

Hey Guys!

Well, there is really no excuse for me not posting over the last several days other than the fact that I am really stuck in a rut – a crappy one. The emotions of everything that I have been going through are really taking their toll, and I am frustrated with myself for allowing them to.

As I stated in my previous post, I really need to prioritize and focus on my “me” time. Well, hate to tell ya but… I haven’t been doing very well with that! I really need to get my act together and accept where I am at instead of dwelling on it.

The reality of my life is that I am so beyond blessed. I have the happiest, most beautiful and healthy little girl. I have an amazing family that supports me in all that I do. I am healthy. I have a job. Everything else is just circumstantial. It will all pass. I just need to keep going until I come out the other end – which I know I will. Some days can just be tough. Luckily, I have this little sweet pea to keep my days full of joy.


It’s amazing how these little humans can teach us adults how to keep it all in perspective.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Prioritizing “Me” Time

Prioritizing “me” time is something I have always struggled with. I grew up in a big family with divorced parents, four brothers and two step-brothers – There was always something to help with or someone to hang out with, so why spend time alone, right?

Me with my four brothers and my dad.
Me with my four brothers and my dad.

I remember when I moved out of my mom’s house at 19 with my ex I hated how quiet it was. I had always been so used to background noise in my life growing up in such a large family, the quietness was definitely a shock to my system.

Christmas 2012 with four of my brothers.
Christmas 2012 with four of my brothers.

After several years, I grew to enjoy the quiet life that we had created, but I still didn’t love to spend time alone. I would much prefer to spend my time with the people I loved, whether it was my significant other, my mom, a brother or a friend.

Me with my mom, cousin and aunt.
Me with my mom, cousin and aunt.

As I have become a mother, and now a single-mother, I am really realizing how important it is that I do prioritize my “me” time and really take advantage of it. I have found that when Brooke is spending some time with her dad, I am spending those few hours preparing for her to come back instead of focusing on doing something simply for myself and my own well-being. Although, along with becoming a mother has come a new emotion when I spend time doing something solely for myself – guilt. If I plan to go for a run, get a pedicure or grab dinner with a friend while my mom offers to watch Brooke I feel an immense amount of guilt spending that time away from her. I don’t want to miss out on any time with my sweet girl, ever.

She was so little!!
She was so little!!

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about prioritizing my “me” time and doing things with more intent. Instead of aimlessly staring at my phone when I have a few moments to myself, I would rather do something more meaningful with my time. I have been trying to nail down some things that I know I would enjoy doing and that my overall happiness will benefit from doing as well. Two of the main things that I would like to add more of into my life is working out and reading. I can always feel the difference that working out regularly does for my moods and my energy. And not only does reading give me a little “vacation” from reality, but I always feel more alert and as if my brain is re energized when I am using it for more than my daily work routine and scrolling through Instagram. <–Truth.

So how do I go about achieving worthwhile “me” time? Well first, I plan to put my phone away. When I am with Brooke, I want my focus to be 100% on her and nothing else. I think this will eliminate the guilt that I feel when I do spend time away from her so that I can take care of myself, too. Another way to eliminate this guilt is to really take advantage of the time she spends with her father and focus on my needs, instead of what just needs to be done. The laundry and the dishes will always get done, but it’s easy to find an excuse to put your own needs second. I need to make myself a priority.

Setting goals and “rules” will help immensely. At the beginning of each week I will set a goal for how many workouts I will complete – no excuses. I am pretty accountable when I tell myself I am going to do something, so I think this method will work well for me. I think setting the “rule” that the tv goes off at at a certain time so that I can take that time to read will be more of an adjustment, but that is my plan to get more reading in. I will keep you updated on that one!

So that’s it! Here’s to focusing a little bit more on me. I know it will make me a happier, healthier and better momma for Brooke in the long run! Hope you all have a great day!

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Tell me, how do you prioritize your “me” time? What are the types of things that you do for yourself? If you are a mother, have/do you ever suffer from “mom guilt”?

One Of Those Days

Today began as one of those days.. You know the ones – Where nothing seems to go quite right. The phone for work is constantly ringing, and your little one decides that the minute you get on the phone it is a great time to start screaming.Your eye is twitching because you are so tired. The baby not only doesn’t want to nap, but decides it’s a great day to get into everything – “The dog food tastes good, right ma? You don’t mind if I dump Bo’s water bowl, do you? I think I might TP the bathroom while I am at it.” Yep. That’s how our day started.

But then, I decided after 40 minutes of trying and failing to get my overtired one year old to take her nap, we both needed a change of scenery and a healthy dose of Vitamin D. So although I technically shouldn’t leave my house where I have access to my computer for work, I decided to strap Brooke into her stroller and take a quick walk in hopes that it would rock Brooke to sleep and improve my mood. And guess what? It did.

I started our walk hoping that Brooke would fall asleep right away so that we could get back home quickly, but the walk quickly turned into some much needed “me” time. I enjoyed the sun, the cool breeze and knowing that Brooke was getting the rest she needed to wake up as the happy little lady that I know and love. It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do for the soul.


Now it is just time to finish up the work day, and I am feeling inspired to go on a run with the hopes of it not hurting my knees (they’ve been having issues with running lately). I will check back in tomorrow to let you know how it goes!

Weekend Recap

I know I am a day late on this one, but I needed to get my first post out of the way and I couldn’t let this weekend go undocumented because it was a pretty special one – It was Brooke’s First Birthday!

Let’s start with the 4th of July – Brooke’s last “first” holiday. I had high hopes for bringing Brooke to see fireworks for the first time, but she was ready for bed hours before they started and I didn’t want to push it since we had a big day on Sunday. We still had a great day, nonetheless.

We started our morning with an early birthday gift – A water table to play and splash around in!



We (well, Brooke) wore our patriotic gear.



We had our first trip to the pool with Grandpa and Uncle Jack, which was so fun!







We were pooped after such a fun afternoon, and we promptly walked home and took a nice long nap before getting ready for the birthday festivities on Sunday!

Given the nature of everything that is going on between me and Brooke’s father, I decided that a big party was not necessary this year and it just did not feel right. I really wanted to spend the day doing something that I knew Brooke would enjoy and just make the entire day about her. That included gathering up a small group of some of her favorite people and going to the zoo, but not before a fun-filled birthday sized morning!


The balloons were way more exciting and fun than any of her new toys!
The balloons were way more exciting and fun than any of her new toys!
The BEST!!
The BEST!!

After having some fun playing with balloons and not opening her presents (don’t worry, I took care of that for her), we pulled ourselves together and got ready to head to the zoo!



We started off with Brooke’s very first carousel ride.



We spent the rest of the morning walking around and taking in the sights. Brooke was a big fan of the fountains and the goats at the petting zoo.








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We lasted about two hours before it was time to head home for a nap, lunch and cake. More family came over to celebrate the birthday girl before she went to spend the afternoon with her dad.


Sweet cousins!
Sweet cousins!


Who knew this girl would love cake so much? I think she gets her sweet tooth from her momma!






Yep, that’s about how I look after eating cake too : )

After spending a few hours with her dad, Brooke and I ended our long and eventful day with a walk to the park to play and spend some extra time with Uncle Patrick. My brother Patrick recently got a GoPro camera so he documented Brooke’s entire day and he is going to put together a video so that we can always remember her very first birthday! I am so excited and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Sunday was a very special day for me and for Brooke. We are so lucky to have such great family and friends who are always there to support and celebrate life with us. The day could not have been any more perfect for my sweet little girl. I am one proud momma!

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Happy First Birthday, Brooke Claire!

 I love you forever, for always and no matter what!!

Tell me, if you have a child – how did you spend their first birthday? Would you do anything differently? I am so glad I decided to go the small, simple and sweet route instead of making a big production out of the day. I felt like I really got to enjoy each and every moment with Brooke, and that is something I will savor forever!

Here We Go..


I’m not quite sure where to begin, so why don’t we just start with introductions?

My name is Danielle. I am 26 years old and I live in the Chicagoland area. I (very) recently joined the “single motherhood” tribe (is that a thing? Let’s go with it!), and I am the luckiest momma in the world.

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You will see these two a lot.

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My first baby, of the furry descent, is Bo and he is my big hunk of love. Bo is a four year old Rottweiler. He is the biggest baby in the world, clumsier than me and at 120 pounds he thinks he is a lap dog. Bo is the cause of a lot of shenanigans, laughs and spills in our household, and we couldn’t love him any more for it.

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Now, onto my real and most perfect baby (sorry, Bo!), my daughter – Brooke. I am about to get all mushy on you, and I am not even embarrassed about it. Brooke is, without a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to me. Brooke has taught me more in the first 12 months of her life (how is she one already?!) than I have learned in the 25 prior to her arrival. This little girl has given me the strength that I have always needed, but never knew I had. We are on a new and sometimes scary journey, but I am so excited and overwhelmingly blessed to be on it with this little girl.

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So that’s us! I love this little family of mine, and I hope you will too.

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