Look out world!

I always wanted to be an editor when I grew up, and I lived my dream for almost 22 years in New York City.  And now I am a freelance writer and editor.

Adventuresofamiddleagemom.com is a personal lifestyle blog that focuses on the life of a happily married Montclair, N.J. Mom of two young adults. I write with honesty and humor about my daily life and experiences with people, products and situations in which I find myself. I am a writer, reader, editor, avid cook, inveterate decorator, trash-to-treasure maven, Master Gardener, Advanced I floral designer and 5K runner. I lost 30+ pounds by living a Weight Watchers lifestyle.

I started blogging in November 2009. I’ve been published in a number of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I was part of a national ad campaign for Poise in 2012, and my face and my blog were featured in an ad in the September 2012 Better Homes & Gardens! As a participant in a Happiness Project (based on the book by Gretchen Rubin) I appeared on “The Katie Show” in October 2012. I love to tell a good story, and if I can make you laugh, so much the better!

Would You Like to Know?

My husband Mike and I designed and built our dream house and gardens here in Northern New Jersey. And we have one more design/build house and gardens up our sleeve, God willing. After much research, which I dubbed “Operation ReloSouth,” we found the perfect spot to build our retirement home. In South Carolina!

Over the years, I’ve been a hard working member of my church and many school, PTA and community committees. I’ve put my willing hands and heart to decorating on a dime; sewing on a shoestring; cooking on a budget; teaching kids to read, work with their hands and tell a good story; and so much more. One of my favorite projects is the huge landscape redesign I spearheaded at one of our town’s local middle schools; that project started a mini-revolution in the district, and each school in turn is now getting a landscape spruce up! I finished another landscape project in 2012 at our local high school. I bring people together to work toward a common goal. And I’m good at it.

Contact Me

You can also email me directly at middleagemomblog@gmail.com.

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I will accept occasional paid opportunities to review and provide information to my readers about products, events and other cool stuff.

This is a family friendly blog in which I talk about parenting two twenty-somethings with the attendant personal products involved (mostly related to hair, nails, clothes, shoes, books, TV), a husband who investigates everything before he makes a purchase (cars, eyeglasses, tires, garden equipment, appliances, you name it). In addition, I write about our Siamese cats, cars, travel experiences, restaurant experiences, recipe adventures, my competitive floral design obsession, running, gardening, books, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

I write about places, products, and activities I have personally experienced and that may appeal to my readers. And I offer my personal, honest assessment. Every time.

If you feel your product(s) might be a good fit, feel free to contact me. 


At the bottom of each blog post I disclose when I have been given a product or service for the purpose of a review or have been paid to offer an opinion on an event, activity, or product. I fully disclose if I have been given any free products or services. It’s very important to me to let my readers know.


If you have a concern about any post or comment being factually incorrect, please contact me. Please provide details of who you are, how I can contact you, what your interest is, and what your concern is. If something has been written that is factually incorrect, it will be addressed. Anonymous complaints will be ignored.

24 Responses to About

  1. Ginger Finder says:

    This is fantastic!!!!!! This photo shows up better than the first one you sent!!!

  2. Andrea Karas says:

    I’m really enjoying reading about your family antics. Keep it coming!

  3. ed lee says:

    Hi middle-aged mom,

    i found your blog post about the “Audi A5 Pirelli Tires: Low-Profile Disasters” through a google search about pirelli tires bubbling. i have an audi a4 and i just had a tire blow out on my on the highway yesterday. Thank God i’m okay, but in the morning i found bubbles on my two front tires and suspect the blowout was definitely caused by a bubble on my rear wheel. Can you email me, i wanted to ask you more about what happened in your case.

    thanks, ed

  4. Don’t know why I haven’t read your ‘About’ page before. It’s great getting to know you better!

    I have a question…Are you happy with going to a self-hosted WordPress blog?

    • It took a lot of time and it will take a fair amount of time periodically going forward to update software, etc. I did it, but if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it. It’s not my area of expertise.

  5. Darlene, I so enjoy reading about your landscaping and cooking adventures (well, all your adventures, really!). I’ve been getting into gardening here in Minnesota and enjoying it. However, I know little about plants so am hoping to take a class in the fall, and I may call upon your expertise to guide me a bit. Would love to see some summer pictures of your gardens!

  6. Bianca Brown says:


    Thank you for all the wonderful and positive comments you’ve made about myself and my team. I appreciate your support TREMENDOUSLY and look forward to seeing you behind our bench for seasons and seasons to come !!! I LOVE your blog…. keep up the great work, you’re an amazing inspiration. Love your adventures and I’m so glad I met you.



    • Coach! You were nurtured here and you returned to give back to the community who helped raise you. That makes you a special woman in many ways! It speaks of your upbringing and your caring soul. I will always be behind your bench!
      I was in the first wave of Title IX; back then, we had a hard time just getting practice time. Thank God, that’s not as much of an issue today, but our daughters still have their battles. You are in the trenches, teaching them how to be a team, work hard and be the best women they can be. To me, you are their greater gift: A strong, successful female role model.

  7. Hey Darlene, I stumbled up your website. Your fragrant flower garden was a welcome sight! Yeps, I’m also at a similar stage of life, except you have joined WW and done the hard work…I’m just beginning. I would love you to come on board my Pollyanna train of thought. I’m hoping to get some good conversation going to break the long journey ahead!
    Patricia (O’Neill)
    Irish National now living in Victoria B.C. Canada

  8. Michelle Roca says:


    Just moved to Wilmington and my mom, who reminds me a lot of you, is looking to relocation. I’ve been reading your “Operation: ReloSouth” blog entries, but can’t seem to find where you ended up — do tell!

    She is coming to visit in March to check out St. James, Landfall and other retirement friendly, but still lots to do, places.


    • Hi Michelle,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the ReloSouth posts. Yes, we traveled a bit more and we did buy…a lot! We visited St. James, Landfall and a couple more places before we found The One. I guess I really should continue to saga. Stay tuned!

    • Hi again Michelle,
      Duh. I did write other posts, including one about where we purchased a lot. Sorry! If you type “ReloSouth” into the “Whatcha Lookin For” box on the right-hand side of my home page, all of the posts I’ve written will be listed. Also see my reply to Nancy (below) too. It contains a couple of those links.

  9. nancy says:

    Adding my request for follow up! We are relocating and looking at the same properties, and have a lot of the same requirements. I hope you’re happy wherever you landed.

  10. nancy says:

    Thanks, Darlene! I finally located the posts, must have been tired that evening when I first looked. Or maybe I only tried to look via HuffPost, dead end.
    I’ve now read EVERY one, and learned so much good stuff from your research. We might have to expand our search into SC because most of the amenities we want are similar to your preferences, add a boat for Jim and he’ll be happy. Did you discover any communities other than The Villages that were golf-cart friendly and still had a resort feel? You made Brunswick Forest sound quite a bit more appealing than their own marketing materials did, too!

    • Caroline says:

      I agree, Brunswick Forest sounded younger and more fun. I’m not quite at retirement age yet. I am also a writer, looking for a pretty, safe place to write and play tennis, with some good dining and interesting people around… and an airport to whisk me across the pond. Wondering if you joined any writing groups in the Wilmington area?
      Best Wishes,

      • Caroline,
        Brunswick Forest really did seem younger! And I love how close it is to Wilmington, a hip, happening college city with great eats. We ultimately didn’t buy at Brunswick Forest because we think that the shared amenities (particularly the pool) will be far too small to accommodate the ultimate number of homes planned for the community. And we really wanted waterfront property.

        Please let me know about your continuing travels to find the perfect spot for yourself!

  11. Lisa says:

    Add my to your list of ReloSouth readers. We are in the research phase and are looking at many of the same communities. Sadly, I was unable to find your write-up on The Landings.

  12. Barb says:

    Hello Darlene – I too have stumbled across your blog as my husband and I prepare to get down to business with the re-lo, can’t wait to go – decision.
    We grew up near the ocean of Monmouth Co NJ and then were relocated to western burbs of Chicago, IL 18 years ago. Kids are employed so we are getting outta here before weddings and babies lock us in. I am an independent travel consultant, avid gardener, and both play golf. So Ocean Ridge Plantation is looking very appealing for its access to two airports, St. James Pl seems to isolated and also considered Ponte Vedra FL because of JAX and Orlando not too far away, and the eventual cadre of doctors, but not crazy about FL home styles and landscaping. Heading to NC next week to do another visit. Wanted to thank you much for your assesment of the various communities and incites. Also really enjoy your writing in general. Someday I will work on my travel blog… but for now… gotta move!

  13. Nancy Golden says:

    I too stumbled upon your ReloSouth Blog during my search for the “perfect” place to retire to. My husband and I retired on the same day in early August, and a week later, started our journey South from the Northern Virginia area. I had two locations in the Wilmington area that we stopped at first, Compass Pointe was nice but a bit to stark for my husband who wanted more greenery. Stop two was St. James Plantation, lovely but so big (we kept getting lost), we decided it was too big. Went to Myrtle Beach, nada. Then we went to one location that wasn’t originally on our radar, but that I had read about in your blog and decided to go for their 3 Day 2 Night package. BAM! We fell in love with Hampton Lake in Bluffton, SC. By day two we had put an offer on a lot, had it accepted, met with a great builder, put money down to start the ball rolling, and within 4 days, we had a place to call “home”. I believe you and your husband also felt what we did and purchased your lot in Hampton Lake. Just wanted to say thank you for doing a lot of the leg work, reporting on it and finally handing our new home to us on a platter. Thank you, Thank You. We move down there September 27th, into a rental on the property and will watch our home being built. Hope to see you there in a few years.

    • Nancy,
      What a wonderful surprise to know I was helpful in your search for the perfect place to retire. Thank you for writing and letting me know. Hampton Lake is a really, really great community!
      We have a few more years before we relocate. That said, we plan to sign contracts soon to get our dock built. Then when we visit we can sit on it and dream about our home-to-be!
      All the Best,

  14. Nancy Golden says:

    Well, I hope to meet you and Mike when you make the final move. Maybe we can have a margarita on that new dock of yours If you need a place to stay when you come down to Bluffton, we have plenty of room in our rental home on the property.

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