The "Bear in Mind" blog project is meant to be my outlet to put thoughts of all aspects of my life into a digital form.


You'll find a wide array of content here as I write whatever is on my mind from my family, to different passion points, to how I go about my career in the world of digital advertising, and more!


All thoughts are my own. :)

I have never been the best gift giver, however, it's become one of my own personal goals to be better at. A thoughtful gift always goes a long way! I've even started to compile a list of ideas to grab from whenever needed and wanted to share what I have so far. Most of these are pretty personalized and can be customized as needed.

I'd like to keep adding to this as I go, so always check back or bookmark this post for new ideas! :)

Personalized Minimal Necklace from GLDN: This has become one of my favorite jewelry brands where I find myself browsing their collection quite often. I love the minimalistic and clean aesthetic they have to offer. Their personalized necklaces include engraving initials with various designs, perfect for any gal friend!

Custom Home Decor from Smallwoods: Have you ever looked for an affordable, beautiful framed sign where you can use any image you like? Smallwoods is just the place to create this! They create wooden framed signs with different sizes, including even a way to create a gallery wall with smaller square images. This is great to spice up a home and in a personal way.

Custom Notebook or Planner from Golden Coil: If you're like me, and love a well-designed planner or notebook, then Golden Coil would be just the place to look. You can edit the content and layouts for any friend and it will be beautiful no matter what!

Custom Illustrated Pet Portraits from West & Willow: Got a friend who's a huge pet lover? This custom gift will surely be a great one. Simply upload an image of their pet, and you can create a custom portrait that becomes a framed sign or even a phone case.

Cute Soy Wax Candle from Lit Candle Supply: I came across this candle company on Facebook and found it very unique. These candles are not only soy-based but also the design and naming of these candles are creative and relatable.

Greetabl: Need to give something small but still personable? Greetabl lets you create a small box that fits one small cute gift and a gift card. The box is completely customizable and you're able to upload your own photos that can later be torn off and used.

BoxFox: What about a more comprehensive gift box? BoxFox is the next best option with many different box themes with unique, cute products in them. These gift boxes are purposeful, thoughtful, and above all else personal!

I've been a bit MIA from the blogging and that's because we had a whirlwind major event happen earlier than expected. Our daughter, Kaylee Riesz, has officially arrived! She came into this world on May 4th at 12:05 PM weighing 5 lbs and 1 oz at 17.5 inches long. She's very tiny, and healthy. We are so lucky to have her here 3 weeks early.

As for her birth story, it was surprisingly fast and easy. And I know that's not something a typical first-time mom would say, but honestly the whole labor and delivery went so smoothly. Of course, at times it was painful with contractions at 10 cm dilation yet once the epidural kicked in, I was finally able to bear the pain and bring Kaylee into the world. Ken was right there by my side. He was patient with my frustrations and held my hand all the way through it. When they placed Kaylee on my chest for the first skin to skin contact, it was a moment that we wouldn't forget. Both Ken and I went silent. We could only admire what we had created and truly bonded with her at that time.

Now that it's been about 10 days since her birth, we have been at every beck and call that Kaylee has. We're trying to set a better routine but with a newborn that kind of goes all out the window. She's by my side 24/7, and I've started to see what she loves.

She's quite a flail-er. She loves to move her arms and legs, and she's quite strong! We have a swaddle pod that keeps her super contained, and although she doesn't quite like it - it has helped a ton in getting her to stay asleep for longer periods of time. Also, she loves to be held, especially by Dad. Dad has already spoiled her and carries her around as much as he can. I think she loves the warmth and comfort of his body.

Only time will tell us more about her, and we can't wait. We want to know her personality, which features she starts to settle on from mom and dad, and how she will learn and develop. This is an entirely new adventure. We're so excited to see what's next and take the journey together as a family.

My parents were actually the first to introduce my brother and myself to gaming (and they may have regretted it at some point). Gaming not in the entertainment sense, but in the educational one where they had bought several different CD-ROMs and installed software into our shared computer that sat within our playroom. My parents encouraged us to play all the different grade levels within the Jumpstart series. If you don't remember these games, you were totally missing out.

I recall exploring these digital worlds and accomplishing a variety of mini-games throughout them. My brother and I would challenge ourselves even further and play grade levels ahead of us. This experience transitioned into upgrading our gaming even further. We convinced our parents, like most children, to buy the latest and greatest consoles like the N64 and Playstation. We each got our own individual Game Boys and when the next newest handheld gaming device launched, we would again beg for it. Gaming became a way for our parents to distract us, but it became our way to escape. I think they recognized that gaming would stimulate our minds in a way that other mediums did not.

Fast forward to today, I'm about to turn 29 and I still game pretty much on a daily basis. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to gaming whatsoever, rather I would say it's my hobby and a pastime. I don't game for more than 2 hours a sitting and while others may sit and watch a tv show or read a book, I love being able to entertain myself in a more interactive digital format. I would say I'm not the best player nor expert in any game. I simply enjoy the challenges gaming brings (which I'll get into), and the ability to play with others and work to a common goal.

When I met my husband, I was also never turned off by his gaming. I would say he has a much stronger relationship with it as he can game for hours on end, but I would never say he prioritizes gaming above me. He's truly an introvert, and gaming allows him to not only escape into different types of worlds but also connect with all sorts of people around the world. I often hear him talking through his mic and conversing with close friends, different teams, and strangers all around. Although he doesn't expend the energy by going out to bars on the weekend with friends, he truly takes the time to simply play a game with friends, and honestly, it's no different than the former experience.

There shouldn't be a stigma against gaming. It's truly a positive, mind-stimulating hobby. You learn to create solutions to problems, or you find out about different experiences with simulations, or you open your imagination and creativity even further through building something entirely new. Games are a way to go outside of certain boundaries and interact with a challenge hands-on in a digital form, and that's what I truly love about it. It's not what people think as a waste of time and marked as "bad for you".

Interestingly enough, my grandfather who is almost 90 has an Xbox and he uses it to exercise his mental health daily. He always tells me about what new game he's already completed or where he's hitting a roadblock. I think this surprises a lot of my friends when I mention this, but if you met my grandfather he's at a point in his life where he's the healthiest he's ever been. I believe he hasn't had any dementia or confusion, for one - because he has great genetics, but secondly, he avidly exercises his mind.

I hope to only continue this hobby myself well into the rest of my life and you bet our daughter will be introduced to gaming at an early age. We don't have plans to move her away from this hobby, and if Ken had his way - he would have raise an eSports athlete if he could. We're honestly pretty excited to raise a fellow nerd! :)