Secret Lives: The Light Way to Live
A desire to inspire and care guides a multifaceted career path
We’ve all heard the phrase, “living your passion.” Some of us have heard about or personally know a handful of lucky individuals who managed to do just that. Others are the lucky individuals who discovered what they love and now practice it. And then there’s Beth Light. She’s not living her passion. She’s living her passions.
“You don’t have to be in one box,” she says. “You don’t have to identify with only one profession. You can do more than one thing.”
And Beth is living proof. An occupational therapy major at Quinnipiac University, she transferred to Syracuse University as a junior to become a pediatric nurse.
“To make a difference in a child’s life is humbling and special,” Beth says. “I have so much energy from working with kids. They look at things differently. Some of these kids are dealing with being critically ill with diagnoses that don’t have a positive outcome and they still have a smile on their face. And the fact that the parents trust you with their child is such a huge honor.”
Beth worked as a traveling nurse before settling in San Diego to work at Rady Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit. While there, she landed a position training newly graduated nurses. Looking for more advancement, she went to University of San Diego to get her master’s degree in nursing leadership. The school happened to be piloting a scholarship program for nurses who had been accepted into the master’s degree program to bridge into a doctorate program. They asked Beth if she would be interested.
“I hadn’t planned on that,” Beth says. “I thought I would get my master’s [degree] in two years and be done. But when you are given an opportunity like that, you don’t say, ‘no.’”
In between all this working and going to school (and Bar Method exercising two to three times a week—which she still does), Beth got married. While she was working on her master’s degree, she became pregnant with her daughter, Zoë, (now 9), and pregnant with her other daughter, Jillian (now 5), while working on her doctorate.
“I was proud of my dissertation, which ended up being a big tome titled, ‘Perinatal Depression and Preterm Birth,’” Beth says. “I want to do more research and someday I’ll get back into that.”
Now she’s an adjunct professor at National University, teaching nursing leadership theory and clinical nursing—two months on, one month off—and she also teaches weekly at Scripps.
“Teaching is a way to give back to nursing, but I always will miss my NICU babies,” she says, adding, “Before I left the hospital, I was heavily involved in committee work and created a class for entire families to help them before they went home from the hospital. But as an educator, I really feel like I’m making a difference with this next generation of nurses.”
She’s also making a difference as a blogger and influencer with her website 1111lightlane.com and her Instagram (@1111lightlane) where she shares inspiration for everyday living with a focus on, no, not nursing but modern and classic design.
“After all that writing on my dissertation and heavy stuff, I felt this void,” Beth explains. “In 2015, at the home stretch of my dissertation, I decided to tackle my kitchen renovation and share it on Instagram with friends and family.”
Her knack for design brought many followers (more than 77,000 at this writing) and she realized she could turn her design talent into a business. “I thought about doing design for people on the side but that was too time-consuming for me and I realized it would not bring as much joy as doing it for myself and my home and sharing that.”
When stylist, author and HGTV host Emily Henderson included two photos of Beth’s fall home inspiration on her blog, the posting brought droves of traffic to Beth’s site. “The feeling of being recognized for my design, especially since I didn’t go to school for it, is amazing.”
Beth was one of 11 bloggers selected to meet the crew and designers behind HGTV’s Dream Home. When Apartment Therapy featured the redesign she did of her parents’ kitchen, it logged 5.3 million views. “I crack up my mom when I say that her kitchen is famous,” Beth says. More recently, her posting of the transformation of her children’s playhouse to “make it like a modern farmhouse” went viral and last November she was featured in HGTV Magazine. She’s working with KidKraft on a new dollhouse as well as collaborating with other companies, like Serena & Lily and Delta Faucet, which sometimes means she travels to blog about events in which those companies are featured.
Besides her design talent, Beth says readers love it when she cooks on the site and shares recipes and meals of the week. “My Italian grandma was always making amazing food—and my mom, too. I learned cooking from them. I like that there’s all this love that goes into serving and feeding your family.”
Spending time together with family is not forsaken, even with Beth’s crazy schedule. She volunteers at her children’s school and her husband Dion facilitates her design work. “He is super handy. He created our mantel, for example. He knows it’s important to me and he helps make my visions come to life.”
Nurse, teacher, designer, Instagram influencer, home chef and (a secret that not too many people know even though she hasn’t hit the musical keyboard since graduating from college) classical pianist—is there anything Beth can’t do? “I tend to have a hard time saying, ‘OK, I can chill for a little. It’s OK to take a second here. You don’t have to run yourself ragged.’ That takes a lot of practice.”
It’s #SecretLivesWeek at SDH/GL. We want to hear about your secret life! Do you have a side gig? A surprising talent? A superhero alter ego? We’re going to feature stories of some amazing secret lives—plus tips and tricks for managing all the extra to-do lists!—all week long. We want to see yours too; tag #SecretLivesWeek and we will add your pics to the mix!