Daily Practice

I’ve been writing myself thought emails for about 10 years. I never found a good place to journal, so my inbox became that thing. Some are long, some are just a thought or two. They were free form for several years, until I found a few journal prompts that resonated. I put them in an email, used FollowUpThen to send it to myself every morning at 6am with the subject “Daily Practice” and i’ve been responding to those questions almost daily since. The questions have shifted as things change in my life, but here are a few past questions I’ve used:

  • Gratitude and appreciation: Name 2 things that happened yesterday that you are grateful for or really appreciate, and why.

  • Name something you accomplished yesterday

  • What are you feeling proud of this week?

  • Where do you need to show up today?

  • What mantra or quote do you need to be reminded of today?

  • Name 2 things you are looking forward to today

  • What practice are you focusing on today?

  • Name a longer term goal you are working toward right now..

This practice has given me a place to check-in and offered helpful (generally more positive) prompts when I wasn’t free writing as often. I now have over 850 emails in a folder, which I will sometimes look back on and remember just how far I’ve come in these past 10 years.

After combing through the questions a bit, I’ve settled on just 4 that feel right for me in this moment. My hope is that I’ll free write a bit more often, but these prompts help me shift my mindset to the more positive feelings I’m seeking more often.

  • Name 2 things you are grateful for / really appreciate, and why. 

  • What has inspired you recently? 

  • What is giving you energy? 

  • Anything else you want to get off your chest?

As a 2019 project, I’m learning Swift and hoping to turn Daily Practice into a simple app that I can use instead!

Building Company Comms for Remote Teams - PodNotes

YC Podcast - Mike Knoop on Product and Design Processes for Remote Teams with Kevin Hale

The discussion around building a remote company is fascinating to me. The idea of having to focus so heavily and rely so much on building the communication culture of a company first, within the perameter of respecting both collaboration and deep work in a way that propels the company forward. Ohf, what a hard and fascinating problem.

This episode has some really interesting ideas about how to set up a remote organization, but beyond location, I thought he spoke about a lot of issues every single company has when it comes to building culture, workflow, communication and the process and expectations around that. He recognizes the need for deep work and the company is set up to protect that time over any other.

I resonated with a culture that respects and values deep work and focusing on a bias toward action as opposed to number of hours worked. This is the way I'm most productive therefore it feels like it would set me up for success.

"Bias toward action" is one of Zapier's key values. The idea being that, especially in a remote team, you have to be able to rely on yourself to take action, or if you're really stuck, find another valuable thing to work on before moving.

The remote organization relies on a level of trust most companies don't even have to think about. In a remote organization you trust people to do work, specifically deep work, on their own time without any signal that this is actually happening.

My takeaway:

I want to see all these processes! There are a number of internal tools, frameworks and processes that are clearly defined (even more important to write things down for a remote org). It sounds incredible.

Slack is for simple back and forth communication but how is deeper work being shared? For Zapier, it is an internal blog. I like this question. How does deeper work get shared and celebrated? Without emphasis, it is very easy to bias toward simple easy work and slack responses vs. doing the big things that move the needle.

*Tip: You can turn off the leave/join notification in Slack to get rid of the social pressure and free up people’s attention.

2019 Resolutions

I’m all about those resolutions. Every year I’ll write out a list of about 10-15 things in January and cross them off before the end of the year. Most of them are focused on topics, but some are experiences. Based on some recent

First of all, I decided to theme a quarter - Q1 was all about building the foundation. Things were a bit influx, so I wanted to take the time to reset, gather myself and set the foundation for a great year. The list included:

  • Be complicit in creating the conditions of the life I want

    • Be direct and ask for what I want/need

    • Know and show my value. Don’t diminish my own abilities.

    • Make decisions based on expansion and not fear or comparison.

    • Stay in your own lane - it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing

  • Love the space around me

    • Use the things I own

    • Buy and own things intentionally

    • Clear out my space

    • Sell things I no longer have a need for

  • Learn as much as possible from other people

    • Find a sense of purpose and direction with my work

    • Start exploring something on the side

    • Find an advisor and coach

  • Continue creating good habits with food

    • Eat more vegetables at every meal

    • Drink a gallon of water a day

    • Handstands, Pull up, splits, stretching, spin, outdoor cycling, yoga, weights, run a mile. Mix it all up!

    • Start working with a hormone / gut doctor

Q2 is themed “communication”. This is a broad area that I haven’t quite flushed out yet but I’m including: written, verbal, public speaking, small talk, negotiation, empathy and listening. The overarching goal is to get comfortable speaking up and having a voice.

I’m currently reading “It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work” by Jason Fried and DHH. I have so many thoughts and notes to share, but I’ll keep it to one for the moment - They talked about not planning too far ahead, doing everything in sprints of about 6 weeks. This idea of loosening things up and doing things in 3 month sprints, then moving to the next thing allows me to keep focus and deepen one trait before taking on something else. 8 weeks into the year, so far, so good. Let’s see what the next 6 or 8 weeks brings about!

I change up the focus and the goals every few weeks which allows for flexibility. The idea of “sprints” vs. year long planning opened up a world for me. I don’t have to think about everything at once, I’ll continue to evolve at the year does.

With this framework in mind, I recently read an article which sparked another prompt that got me thinking: “Absolute goals are those that if done consistently, you would likely see your skillset or life change in a material way. If you did that activity continuously for a year, would your life be any different?”

Thinking in terms of absolute goals, these are the driving forces for the year.

  • Focus on learning: Learn as much as I can from every situation (Q1)

  • Physical challenges: Handstand, Pull Up, Splits (Q1)

  • Eat more vegetables, drink more water - keep it simple. (Q1)

  • Focus on savings. (Q1)

  • Learn Swift - build one app on my own (Q1)

  • Deepen relationships - Spend time with people I like (Q1)

  • Communication - written, verbal, understanding more. This will enable me to trust myself and speak up more (Q2)

  • Anxiety / Self: Manage the anxiety, comparison, perfection, judgement and criticism. (Q3)

Being Complicit 

One of my very favorite podcasters, and startup coaches, Jerry Colonna of Reboot once uttered the question "When are you being complicit in creating the conditions you say you don't want" on a podcast episode. It was one of those questions that struck me in the moment and cut through all the BS. Well, there is a question.

I wrote it down. I thought about it a lot. As it turns out, and I suspect the same might be true for others, there are a lot of situations in my life that I complain about, am unhappy about or feel like I have on control over, and yet, that simply isn't the whole story. For me, this often shows up in a few specific ways:

  • Not being direct and ask for what I want/need

  • Not knowing and showing my value (to myself or others). I tend to diminish my own abilities or myself.

  • Making decisions based on fear of the unknown or comparison or others or what I consider to be a measurement of success.

  • Not staying in your own lane. I’m often measuring myself against some things that I likely have non business measuring myself against.

We are often told we have no control, and while I have never wanted to not believe something more (I’m far too type-A for that!), I know there is a lot of truth to that. Some good news though - I do have control over my actions. I can choose to speak up, or not. I can choose to ask, or not. That is all on me. Phew, at least I can do something!

For the purposes of my current daily practice, I changed that above question around for the positive. "What are two instances yesterday that you were complicit in creating the life you want". Sometimes it is a little thing like not eating something i know is going to cause stomach issues later, or bigger things like bringing up a disagreement with a co-worker - showing myself that both what I think matters and seeing how communicate will break down the walls, allow us to build trust and a relationship that allows us to work together with a better understanding of each other going forward. 

I've boiled it down to these 4 ideas, based off my main pitfalls. When these are off, I’m not acting true to myself. And thanks to this simple prompt, I can see that now. 

  • Be direct and ask for what I want/need

  • Know and show my value. Don’t diminish my own abilities.

  • Make decisions based on expansion and not fear or comparison.

  • Stay in your own lane - it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing

2018 Goals + Resolutions

I may be the rare breed who not only likes resolutions, but completes most of them yearly. I use this list as a chance to bring focus throughout the year, when the day-to-day takes over, to remind myself of the longer term goals and focus. 


My process involves looking back at my 2017 resolutions and reading  what I wrote about how I felt and where I was. Once I have gained some insight from the past, I look forward.  I have a long list of questions I ask myself about how I feel now, my focus and specifics like "How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don't want" and "What are my long term dreams for the future?". I do some visualizations and journal about much of this to spend the necessary amount of time to try to get a full picture.

After all this, I finally write my list of 2018 resolutions. Once I have a list I feel comfortable with, I create bullet points underneath stating the reasons WHY this is important this year, as well as specific numbers and action items to define what success means for each.


  • My personal goal for 2018: Equanimity. Focus on what i do have, not what I don’t. My work this year is all about bringing my mind back from the terror. It is a constant practice. Be fierce about it, there is no other choice. 
  • Create a daily list of 3 things I have.
  • Build habits that put space between the instantaneous need/get stimulation (online shopping - specifically Amazon, iPhone notification checking, etc).
  • Focus on lowering my phone time week over week. Less time on FB + Instagram (measured via spreadsheet)
  • Take more “for the archives” photos. People, places, groups, etc. 
  • Take a solo trip/go on a retreat/conference or something that speaks to me for my own personal growth.
  • Mentally prepare for all trips, outings, anything that makes me feel anxious or uncomfortable. 
  • Go through all 4 cooking Master Classes. Continue exploring in the kitchen + learning. Maybe start practicing plating?!
  • Keep my immediate and personal spaces decluttered.
  • Work on something that is deeply meaningful to me, either as a side project or (cross fingers) full time.
  • Continue my meditation and journaling practice.

2017 Book List

It is that time of the year again, I'm reviewing the books I read this year, taking stalk of where I am, and thinking about my goals for 2018. I see so much of my journey through this list - where I was at the beginning of 2017, what I was looking for, and what I felt I needed to clarify to get to the place I am today. I'm still so much in the middle of it all (seriously, when am I going to be able to stop saying that...) but it is such a great reminder of how far I've come.


The contentment I feel these days is something new for me. I feel less and less like a book with have the answers. I'm spending more time being still in the middle of it all and allowing myself and my intuition to be the guide. I stopped reaching for outside sources to fix me or make me better, and now more than ever, I'm so content with the fact that sometimes I am not fine, and that this is ok. I read 45 books in 2016, and 32 this year along with many more podcasts and lots more silence than before.

2017 Book List: Bold = Favorites. 

  • Three Pillars of Zen - Roshi Phillip Kapleau
  • Creative Confidence
  • Nothing Changes Until You Do - Mike Robbins
  • How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big - Mike Robbins
  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff - Richard Carlson
  • Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself - Joe Disoenza
  • The Little Book of Hygge - Meik Wiking
  • The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
  • Coming Closer to Ourselves - Pema Chodron
  • The Book of Joy - Dalai Lama
  • The Fear Project - Jaimal Yogis
  • A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
  • The Anatomy of Peace - The Arbinger Institute (BEST ONE TO DATE)
  • The Case Against Sugar - Gary Taubes
  • Being Wrong - Kathryn Shulz
  • The Organized Mind - Daniel Leviti
  • The Year of Yes - Shonda Rhymes
  • The Outward Mindset - The Arbinger Institute
  • Louder Than Words - Todd Henry
  • Essentialism - Greg McKeown
  • Friend & Foe - Adam
  • The Long Walk To Freedom - Nelson Madela
  • Solve for Happy - Mo Gawdat
  • Option B - Sheryl Sandberg
  • Originals - Adam Grant
  • Present Over Perfect - Shauna Neiquist
  • GUT, The Inside Story of Our Body
  • The Power of Meaning
  • Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg
  • Playing Big - Tara Mohr
  • Emotional Agility - Susan David
  • Conscious Business - Fred Kofman

Thank You Engaged & Inspired

I have some news and it is coming in the form of a fairly long story filled with a lot of feelings. Enjoy.

When I started Engaged & Inspired, it was driven by a deep purpose to make the wedding planning process easier, faster and less confusing for brides. I was overly honest on my blog, put my pricing on my website, took a lot of the fluff out of my process, didn’t charge as much as others because I simply didn’t have the same overhead costs, and at every turn did whatever I thought was best to make the process more efficient and in line with my purpose. It didn’t go over incredibly well in the industry but brides were loving it. I heard my fair share of advice about how I shouldn’t do something or how I should do something differently.  All that chatter didn't really phase me.  I was and still constantly get feedback that my website is the best they have seen, I make things so easy, etc. etc. etc. That purpose shined bright and was the driving force leading the way in those early years.

After achieving some traction, I think I got a little comfortable, took the blinders off and started looking up at what everyone else was doing. I noticed that the culture was shifting. Design was becoming everything and I felt like that pressure to have “the most beautiful wedding” was dictating a lot of decisions and causing a lot of stress for couples. There was just a fundamental shift with the rise of publications and the clout those features bring, perfectionism and showing your worth as a planner by the size of the budgets you were working with. I’m not saying design isn’t important, there is just a difference between comparing and deciding between 2 shades of blush ribbons and comparing, stressing over, going back and forth on, having a small panic attack and then deciding. Spoiler alert: everyone is

Instead of fighting for what I believed in and educating clients, I said nothing. By default, I become a very design heavy planner and contributed to that culture and the pressure. I began looking for outward approval and acceptance. Was I good enough? Did other people find my work pretty enough? Was I getting featured enough? I let magazine features, my social media following and other external factors define my idea of what I thought success meant. I started feeling a disconnect. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at wedding albums or features and felt completely empty inside.

I looked at my goals list for every year I had been in business and found that I had completed or surpassed every single one. Even those crazy goals you put on there and think “there is no way”. I had this misconception that if I hit those, I’d be happy. As it turns out, I was exhausted, numbing myself in a variety of ways, and definitely not happy.

I was working ALL the time doing 35+ events every year (entirely by myself for several years), missing weekends, missing milestones in my life and the lives of those around me, and was burning myself out faster than I realized.  After 3 years of intense self inquiry, reading over 100 books, a lot of therapy, a change in my lifestyle, business coaches, lots conversations with anyone who would “go there with me”, and about 85 blog posts that I wrote but never published because I felt self-induced pressure to keep up a certain appearance, I finally realized that I had swayed away from my original purpose long ago and there was simply no way to resurrect it.

I believe I have gained everything I was meant to through Engaged & Inspired and at this point, it is time to let it go and find a new calling. I always knew this day would come eventually, and though it has taken me a long time to gain the clarity I needed to make this decision, I feel so much peace just writing these words. I feel a tiny bit more myself again.

I’ve learned so much through the last 7 years and I’m incredibly grateful for the entire experience. I am a completely different person because of E&I, both as a businesswomen and as a human. I am incredibly proud of myself and the brand I have built. It has been my baby for so long, and though part of me is sad, I’m thankful that it brought me to a place where I could have the time and space I needed to realize and actualize my future goals with the confidence to do so.

So, what is next?

As far as Engaged & Inspired goes, I am looking at a few options to keep the brand going, and will continue to pursue those avenues. Nothing will change with current clients and things will continue to remain the same for a bit until we can comfortably transition over.

As far as my next move goes, honestly, I don’t know. Which scares the crap out of me. My current plan is to finish up the 2017 wedding season and execute the handful of events I have in 2018 while exploring various interests on the side. I have already started volunteering at a prison rehabilitation program, am training to work at a crisis hotline center, and continue to research and apply for opportunities as they come. I’ve pretty much ruled out getting a “real” job, unless it was at a smaller startup with a deeply social mission (something I am really craving right now), but who knows, that all might change too.

Right now I’m just trying to be ok with the unknown and see where it takes me. I’m going to start actually publishing a lot more of my writing, and do whatever I can to speak my truth, be honest about my actions, stand up for my beliefs and see who/what that type of energy attracts. I’ve bottled up so much for so long because I felt like I was not worthy of having or sharing my voice, but at this point, I am just ready to start living a life where my insides match my outsides and I feel like I’m in alignment with myself.

Talk soon, bye for now.

Different Perspectives

A few years ago my world shook and I was forced to take a really good look at every facet of my life. Over the past 2 years I've been on a journey of self-discovery as marked by several different periods - depression, more depression, bargaining/trying to fix, intense anger, numbing, de-cluttering my environment, food and fitness, diving into my beliefs and feeling empty when I realize there wasn't much left to stand on, realizing I don't know what my values are, realizing I have no idea who I am independent of what I've been told to be my whole life, and slowly, very very slowly, starting from the very bottom and building up a foundation that I can once again stand on. And at every step, I doubt. I question. I think I'm wrong. I want to believe. I'm desperate to believe. So that is the back story. And as grim as it might sound (and believe me, it gets really hard sometimes), it has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. I'm very much wading through the messy middle of all of this, but the perspective that I bring with me through this phase of my life is that of discovery, of knowing we all believe different things, and knowing that is ok, and just trying to find a little more common ground and compassion among all the craziness. One day this will be my superpower, but right now it feels like anything but. Starting over isn't easy; I feel like I'm ten steps behind all the other people who have somehow figured it all out so much faster than I have. But that is the honest truth of where I am, and I'm content with that.

Recently I've had a lot of questions surrounding the concepts of what and when to believe, how/when/who to trust, and being wrong. I find myself in the middle of all these opposing ideas and conflicts, and in those moments, my thoughts float to these types of questions. I know it might all sound naive, and in many ways, I am very naive at the moment, but that is the feeling of not being able to trust yourself or anyone around you. It sucks, but I know in the end, I believe it is what is going to lead to my breakthrough.

I am constantly seeking new information, stories and perspectives to help me sort through all these topics. I love gaining a new perspective, hearing an opposing idea that moves me away from a fixed view, or gaining more knowledge around a given subject. The very best part of this whole process is finding different ideas, learning about people, trying on different views, and seeing the world through as many sides as possible.

The Power Of Doubt:

"And we hardly realize the human price we pay when we fail to question one brick, because we fear it might shake our whole foundation." Everything about this quote resonates with me and made me want to watch immediately. I keep coming back to this one again and again.

On Being Wrong:

"Trusting too much in the feeling of being on the correct side of anything can be very dangerous."

Every day I asked myself "What if I'm wrong? What if there is something I'm missing? What if I'm not seeing the whole picture? What if, what if, what if.". I see the importance of constantly checking yourself. I see the value in asking the tough questions, and allowing yourself to at least sit with it as an option. Questioning biases and digging deep enough to examine your truths can be extremely challenging, but also extremely powerful.

I haven't been able to write in a long time, and I miss it very much. So this is my less-than-perfect attempt at starting this back up. I've lost my voice and I'm ready to find it again, even if it isn't perfect. I'm not ready to share the details of my whole story publicly, but I need to find a way to move through it, and writing has always been that path for me. My hope is that one day this will all make sense (and that one day maybe I'll make sense of it all for myself).

Favorite Weeknight Paleo Dinner Recipes

These are a few of my favorite Paleo dinner recipes, all of which are quick and easy for weeknight meal planning, and they save well for lunch leftovers (which is just about my favorite thing ever). All of these have a fair amount of veggies in them, but a little side salad never hurt anyone.


Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice - One of my current favorites. Incredibly easy recipe that can be saved and eaten for days to come! I pretty much follow this recipe with the exception of omitting cornstarch (using tapioca flour if you want a replacement, but I don't think anything is needed) and use Coconut Aminos instead of the Soy Sauce. I add Peas (up to you if that is part of your Paleo diet) but up to you! You can get frozen cauliflower fried rice at Trader Joes/Whole Foods in the frozen veggies section (SO much easier than trying to grind your own!)


Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti - One of my favorite recipes. It takes over an hour due to having to roast the spaghetti squash, but it is a great one to make in large batches and even freeze. I roast half of a spaghetti squash and wrap/freeze the other half for another time. It actually makes the squash a bit more moist.


Shrimp + Sausage Paleo Skillet - Oh man, THIS. (Apparently I have a lot of favorites...) I use Spicy Italian Pork or Chicken Sausage from the Whole Foods meat counter (it is delish and compliant) but any sausage will do (just check those ingredients, a ton of sausage has sugar and a bunch of other random stuff in it). If you save this for leftovers later, just make sure you eat all the shrimp, it doesn't save as well.


Chicken Piccata - Easy weekday recipe with so few ingredients. This is one of those that I can often make quickly because I already have everything the house. I use the chicken in my salad the following day for lunch. It might be even better cold.


Salmon - We have salmon a couple times a month. I use a dill + salt  + ghee (or butter….) and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. I roast some brussel sprouts or asparagus (you could add cauliflower fried rice or potatoes if you want more). We don't eat too much fish, but it is great to have in the rotation due to the health benefits and how simple it is!

Our Kitchen Inspiration

This the current design direction for the kitchen. Nothing is 100%, but more of an idea on where I'm headed. I've already gone through a variety of design concepts and my husband nixed a bunch of them, all of which has helped us land here.  His feedback is "he doesn't want to live in a Pinterest photo, doesn't want too much of a statement, and wants it to be feel homey and comfortable". He tends to love more masculine colors and textures, loves clean lines and minimalism, and lots of plants.  
My goals with the space are: 1. I need some sort of element of surprise or some sort of statement in the space (this is going to be a weird/fun challenge given the above about him not wanting a statement) 2. I don't want a white kitchen that looks like every other white kitchens. 3. I don't want it to be overly trendy. I want our decisions to last through selling the house, or at least transcend current style. 
Below is our current kitchen for reference.
Below is our design inspiration. 

CABINETS: I'm going to leave all the cabinets the way they are (except two little shelf ones) and just paint them white.  I will also be adding in two wood shelves on either side of the range.


COUNTERS: Currently my concept for the counters is a white stone or quartz with a small amount of grey. My two favorites at the moment are "Caesarstone Fresh Concrete" and "Caesarstone Frosty Carrina". I LOVE the idea of a wood accent like the top left photo below. If that doesn't cost too much, I would love to do something like that.

BACKSPLASH: My plan for the backsplash is to do a white tile with a white grout. Currently my favorites are Calcite or White Gloss by Clayfire Tile. The biggest decision is going to be which pattern to choose. My husband likes the herringbone the best, and I'm partial to the hexagons. Part me wants to do something different that hasn't been so done in the past like the triangles or something.


ISLAND: At first I wanted to do an interesting tile pattern with a black grout for the island cabinets, but that got vetoed pretty quick. I switched gears a bit and decided on painting the island a light gray with a light wood butcher block for the countertop. I don't love the combination of dark colors with the wood counters, so thinking of doing something along the lines of the top left image.


LIGHTING: I love the idea of this style of lighting but haven't done too much research into other options. My favorite are the black options but my husband likes the gold with clear glass option best. I'm not married to this concept, so there is room to go in a completely different direction.


STOOLS: I love the white stools best, and think those would pair well with the gray paint on the island, but I'm definitely open to other ideas.


There you go! Next I get to visit all the tile places, pick the paint colors and get everything lined up to ACTUALLY get this done. Should be a fun next couple of months.

Home Vibes

The time has officially come to start working on designing and styling our house! So far it has been far more overwhelming than it has been fun, but I'm hoping getting a really good grasp on my style, what I want, and how to achieve it will help ease some of the nerves! 
Currently my style is minimal and modern with eclectic accents. White and bright are huge for us - and of course, TONS of plants! Here is my first go at creating my home vibes mood board! 
More to come as we move, measure and work out all the kinks until we can call our home "done". Oh and I will definitely have one of those hanging pod chairs. I'm really obsessed!

WHOLE 30 - My Story

8 months ago I hit a point in my life that can only be described as my personal rock bottom. Among other things, I was binge eating, drinking too much too often, and generally trying really hard to act like everything was ok. My mental health was suffering and it was deeply affecting my personal life, my marriage, my friendships, and finally, it was starting to creep into my work. I saw Whole 30 as a way to control something in my life. Anything. I just needed something to hold on to.


It all started on one of audio book binges when I discovered "Why We Get Fat". It was extremely eye-opening and changed many of my eating habits overnight. Then a friend recommended "It Starts With Food" (the Whole 30 book), and after reading it, I wanted to try it immediately. I didn't plan in advance or wait until I had a free social calendar. I read the book and I started the next day.


I wasn't 100% compliant. I had a few dates on the calendar that I decided I would give an exception to AND I didn't stop putting cream in my coffee. There was no excuse aside from just being scared. I know this isn't Whole 30, and that was ok for me at that time in my journey. I don't regret it at all because I vowed to do an actual round when my schedule permitted it a bit more. I simply needed to start changing my life and for the moment, this was the best I could do. I wouldn't recommend this route as a first choice, unless you are about to explode (which I was). These were the results:

Non-Scale Victories:

  • Clearer Skin - I've always been acne-prone and still struggle with annoying skin but noticed 15 days in that my skin was smooth, I had no blemishes and the redness was drastically better. And it hasn't changed since, still totally clear!
  • Better Sleep- I used to get 12+ hours of sleep, wake up late, and still not have much energy. On Whole 30 I started noticing I was waking up earlier with more energy. Now I consistently wake up around 7am with a lot of energy and it lasts through the day. My sleep patterns have been so different, and I never even tried to change anything!
  • Way more energy - Like I'm talking so much energy to workout, get more done, take on hobbies, go walking and then some.
  • Excitement about life + things again - This one is a whole subject in and of itself. After a slump into some deep depression and anxiety related issues, I finally found a small glimpse at excitement for life again.
  • And the biggest of all (this might be TMI!) zero cramps. Once a month for the last 10 years I spent the day in bed throwing up every hour and take about 15 advils just to manage said pain. On Whole 30.....I felt nothing. NOTHING. Anything that can cure the torture of that wins big in my book.
  • Plus small victories including not craving carbs or sugar, losing weight, etc. 

My Before & After:


After  6 weeks of psuedo-Whole 30 and a couple of completely off diet vacations, I started my second round of 100% compliant Whole 30 (goodbye cream in my coffee!) mid-May. My goal this time was 100% compliance and a full food reintroduction after the 30 days. 

I became obsessed with reading ingredients (I literally can not believe how many things have sugar in them!), I read and participate in many online forums, am constantly searching out new Whole 30 recipes, and even created a spreadsheet to track compliant brands, recipes, and just about everything else Whole 30. I've fully enveloped myself in clean eating, learned so much about myself, what works for my body and food in the process, and loved every minute of it. And the cream in the coffee? I haven't had regular cream ever since. 

I didn't have as much physical progress, but mentally, my entire relationship with food changed. I did a full re-introduction after this round and have a much better idea of what and how much of any food is good for my body. I've found some balance but am still very aware of exactly what I am eating. It is still hard sometimes, there are a million situations where it is easy to fall off course, but slowly I'm experiencing and learning from each one. The first round was what I needed at the time, but this round actually changed everything for me in terms of creating a lifestyle.

Before + After - Whole 30 Round 2:


I get asked about about Whole 30 or food daily. Some people have been encouraging and others...well, I learned not to care what people think and just do what makes me feel good. Here are some of the things I've learned along the way:

1. Making the decision: This program has really worked  for me. It actually changed my life, and that is not an exaggeration. That being said, no amount of inspiration or progress pics could have made me do it before I was ready. You truly have to make the decision for yourself. I wasn't ready for a long time (I could never have imagined I'd EVER put my health first), until one day I was.

I was able to acknowledge my own reality, and only then was I ready to make actual changes to my diet and lifestyle with determination. The "one bite won't kill you" thought process is more detrimental than you might think and won't work with this program. That decision, the one to change your life, that is always always always the first step.

2. Read The Book: The first thing out of my mouth when someone asks me about it is "READ THE BOOK" (It Starts With Food). There is seriously no substitution for it. Without it I never would have understood WHY I was doing what I was doing. This is the biggest key to it all for me.

2. Community: I've actually learned not to talk about my progress because of the remarks, comments, eye-rolling,etc. that come when mentioning a diet. The judgement used to drive me nuts, but I've learned to tune that out and focus on making the best decisions for my body. I turned to blogs, facebook groups, and other online resources for help and inspiration.  I've found that friends/family can actually be incredibly unsupportive for whatever reason, but that might not be the case for everyone. Find whatever community works best for you


3. Prepare! The best way to do Whole 30 is to make it work with your lifestyle. Keep things as simple as possible by finding easy recipes, sticking to the same salad every day (change up the dressing if you need a change), and prepare some on-the-go meals when needed. Before heading to the grocery store, do a little research on ingredients and prepare a list. Before going to a restaurant, look over the menu or call the restaurant. It can be very hard to "be that person" special ordering everything, but you are worth it.

At the beginning of every week I spend a little time working on a weekly meal plan, taking a look at the calendar to see which days I need to prepare extra for (tons of meetings, not at home, etc.). I don't stick to it completely, but it helps to have something to fall back on. Planning is so important in the success of this program, don't underestimate how much it can help!

4. You Can Do It: Don't underestimate yourself. You have full control over the decisions that you make. It is 30 days, it isn't that hard. Change your thought process, stop making excuses and just start. Oh and check that "one bite won't kill you" attitude at the door and commit 100%. Restart if you eat something you aren't supposed to, do the re-intro. It is worth it.

My Go-To Foods:

Breakfast: Every morning I have 2 scrambled eggs and about a 1/2 cup of breakfast sausage (I make my own - this recipe is delish!). To help with my vegetable intake, I have raw carrots/cucumbers on the side. (I never liked eating anything before noon so this whole eat breakfast thing is HUGE for me.) If you are one of those people that can eat dinner for breakfast or have leftovers, this is a great way to switch things up a bit.


Lunch: Salad. Salad. Salad. I prep the basics of my salads at the beginning of the week (lettuce, cut carrots, cucumber, and green beans) and place the tupperware in the fridge for the week. At lunch I cut up whatever leftover meat I have or grill a chicken breast, cut up some avocado and a little fruit and top it with TesseMae's Lemonette dressing and a little salt! Easy. Sometimes I will have dinner leftovers for lunch, but for the most part it is salad central!


Dinner: This is where things vary most. I have a Pinterest board of recipes and I now spend some time finding, prepping and making completely new recipes at least twice a week. But if I am short on time, didn't prep properly, etc. I BBQ or grill some sort of meat, steam veggies and call it a day! I have watched a couple YouTube videos on how to grill, some simple stove techniques, etc. which has helped improve my cooking game. Since I have to eat this food every day, I might as well stop overcooking things!


DISHES: Chicken with Masala Spices, green beans + sliced cucumber | Roasted Salmon with steamed Brussels sprouts + salad | Chicken Piccata with steamed Brussels sprouts

Some Favorites: 

Here are some of my favorite online resources, recipes, and staple items that helped me with Whole 30. Everyone has different tastes so it is wroth doing a little research of your own to at least find some recipes that sound interesting. There is a ton of great inspiration out there that will help make Whole 30 anything but boring!

Online Resources:

  • Lazy Girl's Guide to Whole 30
  • The Official "Can I Have" List
  • Mealmade - Paleo Meal Delivery in SF. They list the ingredients for each item making it easy to find what meals are and are not compliant.
  • Spreadsheet of compliant brands, etc. - You must still read labels to confirm. This list is meant to point you in the right direction.
  • Tasteful - An app that highlights the best restaurants for any given diet, as well as recommendations for the best diet friendly dishes!
  • Use Google as a research if you don't know if something is compliant - I still do this daily!




For the past 16 months I've been dealing with some situations that have tested me like never before. I've tried keeping it together, I've tried acting normal, and drafted about 50 blog posts about how I *really* feel because I couldn't keep it in quite like I thought I could. Feelings of defeat, anger, blame blah blah blah. Those posts will seemingly never see the light of day, but they helped me realize and work through some particularly hard times. Over the course of the past year I've experienced too many encounters with depression. I'm in head all the time, which is not only hard, but incredibly exhausting. Seriously. Exhausting. It is so hard for me to understand how I feel and ever harder to try to explain it to other people, especially people who have never felt this way (so most of the time I think I'm weird or crazy or that there is something seriously wrong with me). I know my triggers, but I've realized it isn't as much about the situation as it is about where my mind instantly goes when the situation arises.

I have no more mental energy and/or space to do this any longer. I have had just about enough. I know I'm not "fine". But for the first time I really feel like I know that. I'm not trying to trick myself  and just letting myself feel how I feel. Recognizing all of these real feelings (as opposed to the popular and ever-damaging approach of acting normal and sweeping all the feelings under the rug) has allowed me to come to terms with what I can't change, and shift that focus on what I can. Me.



I have found that some of my current relationships are triggers for unwanted feelings. It isn't that I think anyone is purposely trying to harm me (or honestly that I blame any of them whatsoever), but I've realized I'm just not strong enough for it. I know that people are doing the best they can, or doing what they think is right, but ultimately, it is pushing me further and further down due to feeling misunderstood, therefore alone, therefore depressed (all my own feelings to control). So I'm taking breaks and taking myself out of those situations for the time being. The block feature on my phone has become my favorite thing. It sounds harsh, but I'm not just blocking people to prove a point or be childish. I just realized that while in this state, it is incredibly important that I block out any potential negativity until I'm strong enough to take that on and deal with it. It is the most incredibly freeing thing I've done to date.



I have been using Audible for a while now but over the past 4 months I've been on hyper-drive. This week alone I've completed "The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking" "The Happiness Project" and "Better Than Before". I've discovered the subjects I really enjoy (minimalism, de-cluttering, happiness, meditation, and my current favorite category, forming habits) and have had so much fun diving into all types of books to learn various philosophies and process a ton of different ideas. "Why We Get Fat" and a whole bunch of health-related books are next on the list. (I'm excited to clean up my health a bit. I know that will help a ton too).

These books have helped me more than I could ever express. My entire outlook changes daily as I discover and try the various methods, then adapt the pieces I like to my daily routine. It has been amazing.


I realize this seems like the most bizarre happiness provoking item, but it is my current number one! I've received a bajillion candles as gifts over the years, and I never understood the appeal of them. A few weeks ago I decided to light one and let me just say, I instantly fell in love. I light my little collection of candles first thing every morning to get my day started on the right foot. It feels like such a luxury. Who knew that such a simple jar could make you feel so good.



After reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" I've been obsessed. I've always de-cluttered as a way to cope with stress, but this book took that up a notch. It also helped to occupy my time and occupy my mental energy enough to get out of a few funks (incredibly helpful during some of my darker months).

Along with the stuff, I've let go of those feelings and desires that my home has to be something out of a magazine with a bunch of props and baskets with throw pillows in them. I appreciate the style, don't get my wrong, but I don't want a house that can't be lived in. For years I tried to create that perfect house with the right amount of styled vignettes, and this book single-handedly changed everything for me. I understand myself and the type of environment I thrive in perfectly now.



For the first half of my off-season (November-January) I was burnt-out, questioning myself, and honestly went through a period of just wanting to quit all together. I didn't hate it, I just wanted some time off. Some time to process and deal with everything after an incredibly long year. Turns out all that did was leave me alone with my thoughts long enough to become incredibly angry all the time. In February I started having to work more and had my first wedding of the season a couple weeks ago. Turns out the thing I was missing all along was work! I need to be creative, to be busy, to be working with people, to be doing something to get out of my own head. I absolutely love what I do and I was letting everything get in the way and bring it down.

One thing I did realize is that I need a bit more "balance". For the past few years I've been an "all work" kind of person, and that isn't sustainable. But giving up all together was the wrong solution to the problem. My new focus is balance. That will allow me to do more of what I love without getting so burnt out. Luckily wedding season has started back up and I've never been so excited to get started.


I'm a couple weeks in, and I feel the change. I have no idea if anyone sees it, but I don't care. I feel it. And I've waited a long time to feel this way again. I know things are fragile and I have to build up my tolerance and ability to deal with all the things I can't change, but I'm ok. I'm doing better. And for now, that is enough.

KonMari // Defining My Style

I've slowly started purging and de-cluttering each and every room in my home. I'm generally an organized person, but when I run out of time, organization is the first thing to go. Over the course of the past year, I've gone through every room 2 or 3 times, each time letting go of more and more things I don't need. It has been a lesson in awareness of surroundings, and creating intention for each and every item that is in my home. It is the closest I'll ever come to minimalism, and it is something I truly enjoy. When it comes to decorating, the story is a little different. I have defined my personal home style for the most part, but have a hard time figuring out the need/desire to buy every pretty thing I see and use it as a decorative object, and having only things I love/need/use in my home. I've purchased the exact items from a photo only to find out I don't truly connect with the items on my own. This is where I get lost!


pin it 

Sources: 1, 2, Ashley Winn Design, 4

In the midst of my confusing purging and purchasing habits, I started reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and sort of feel in love instantly. About 100 pages in, and my views have already shifted on many of the principles I have previously used to organize, de-clutter and purge. (This is the first time where I feel like I'm not a walking example of all the worst-case scenarios....which is nice!)

I thought I'd share one very interesting experiment I did while I was reading this book. Before getting started with the tidying portion of the book, you're asked to describe your "dream lifestyle" and "reasons for tidying" until you really feel like you understand why you are doing this. She goes into much more detail, but for the purposes of this post, that will suffice. Here is what I wrote down:

Visualize the ideal lifestyle you dream of:

Striking the balance between beauty, comfort and usability in everyday life.

  • A schedule that allows for focus on hobbies/interests/personal growth
  • Freedom from all toxic relationships, people, topics, etc.
  • Continually building an inner-confidence
  • Not focusing on regret or guilt
  • Minimalist-inspired simplicity
  • Intention over frivolousness


What do you hope to gain through tidying:

A home that feels “done”.

  • Why? I hate excess, waste and clutter. A space that is free of all those things will relieve the guilt I feel for not having a perfectly clean home at all times (no where to put things) or for having things I don’t use which constantly remind me of the money I wasted (or try to use them, even if I don’t like them.) In contrast, I’ll be surrounded by things I love, and therefore be inspired to use my home the way I want to use it without the attention on an incomplete home. This also eliminates the need to buy something to decorate the space.
  • Why? I’ll be inspired by my surroundings and free my mind from the distraction of the things around me.
  • Why? Everything has a place which eliminates the need to spend extra time organizing.
  • Why? Efficiency will allow me to keep up my ideal lifestyle.

After doing this exercise I clearly understood the type of home I wanted. So I took a look at my Pinterest boards and put together some images that went along with the dream lifestyle. I have a fairly distinct style, but I still find myself looking at my Pinterest boards and trying to decipher why I love a few very different styles all on the same board. This time around, the lens I was looking through was instantly different, I could feel it. Here we go:


In contrast, here are some of the images that I have pinned (and loved/considered decorating inspiration) that I now see don't define my "dream lifestyle".


pin it Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

It seems incredibly obvious from the way these images are arranged what my dream lifestyle looks like (clean lines, no distractions, no cluttered decor), but in many ways the styles and colors are similar throughout (take a look at the first set of images, which combines images from both sets). I pinned all these thinking they fell into the same category. I still love and appreciate a variety of styles, but now I better understand my personal vision versus what I just find aesthetically pleasing.

Next step - purge! I currently have  a little bit more time in my week to dedicate toward purging my home and I have to say, I'm very excited to focus on my home and creating a space that I love. I'll likely share some periodical updates on my progress. And if I ever figure out a way to take photos and list the room full of things I'm giving away, I'll try to make those available! (help?!)

Marble Coffee Table Round Up

I've been pretty obsessed with marble coffee tables lately. Since I'm on the hunt for the perfect coffee table, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to go marble! 
I absolutely love the idea of marble and gold (that combo is just perfect to me in so many ways). I wasn't able to find anything in my price range that fit the odd living room arrangement we have going on. I know my husband is a lover of walnut wood, so I thought I'd appease him a little. I went with the very bottom option from West Elm! I can't wait to see it in the living room with my super awesome new couch

1: Sean Woolsey 2: Kathy Kuo Home 3: Worlds Away 4: West Elm 5: West Elm 6: West Elm

Being A Good Wife

I try really hard to be the perfect wife. You know the ones that have their lives all figured out, have the perfect home and cook every night. Well, turns out I'm not even close to that. At least not in the traditional sense. I work so hard at building this business of mine that my wife duties are often the area that suffer the most. It's seriously so hard to work hard doing your own thing and keeping up with it all (and I don't even have kids! Major props to moms, am I right?!) I spend a lot of time feeling incredibly guilty about it all. Some days I just want to quit and focus on being a wife, but I know that wouldn't make me all the way happy either. So why can't I seem to find the balance? Why must I take on more than I can chew and push myself to the limits, only to find new limits and push myself to those? Well, it turns out, I'm always going to push myself to the limits, that is just my nature. I'm always going to be dreaming bigger and finding new heights. But I'm always going to strive to be that perfect wife. Until I get to a point of finding the balance in it all, I'll just have to make due with what I have.

Hiring house cleaners, having Google Express run my errands, and I won't even tell you how my laundry gets done (yes, I sometimes outsource that too). Its not quite the vision I had in mind, but it works and at the moment it will have to do. Hopefully when I have kids I'll start spending more time on the home. I think there is something to be said for a child (either gender) that knows how to cook, clean, sew, do laundry and generally take care of him/herself and others. Those are values I plan to instill in my children like my parents instilled in me (I promise they did. But my dad was a hard worker who started his own company when I was little, so apparently I took after him a little more than my mom).

My husband signed us up for Blue Apron last week. It is a service that sends you the ingredients and recipe you need to make a dinner for two. The service takes care of meal planning and shopping, and you get to cook it! Here is an example of what they sent to us for one of the dishes!

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 6.24.45 PM

We actually had a lot of fun doing it, and the meals were so so good. The best part is that we got to cook something we would otherwise not have tried. The whole experience was pretty awesome! These are the meals we tried this week and I'm pretty excited to do it again soon.




For now I'll add blue apron to that list of outsourcing. Now, who would have thought that a service that sends you groceries and recipes would spark such an internal debate in my mind and in my life?!

Patio Inspiration

Sprucing up the patio at the end of the summer proves an interesting challenge! Patio furniture is all sold out! YIKES. After striking out big time at Ikea, West Elm, and the like is giving me a little less hope. I've been in the inspiration stage for the past couple of weeks and I've come up with a concept I'm really loving right now. Comfy couches and a lounge type setting is where I'm headed with my patio. And of course lots and lots of bistro lighting!





Lighting the Bedroom with OneFortyThree

I found and instantly fell in love with OneFortyThree about a year ago. I've been stalking their collections and watching them introduce many wonderful products and grow like crazy! When I was looking for a solution to the lighting issue in my bedroom, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase some beautiful lamps from them.
The issue: Our bedroom is rather small. We have two end tables that also act as dressers. Since they aren't very large, I don't want a lamp taking up what very small amount of surface space we do have. These wall hanging lamps were quite a perfect solution, don't you think?




Obsessing Over Home Decor

The home is very much on my mind right now. With a recent move, I find the constant desire to change everything. Out with the old, and in with the new - as they say. Unfortunately, that requires way more work than I have time for at the moment. So I'll stick to just looking and longing at all the amazingness that I might one day be able to create. 
I like to think of my style as very colorful and super eclectic. When I'm in a store, I'm always drawn to bright colors and funky patterns. But when I go through my Pinterest boards, it is becoming apparent that I'm more in love with clean color palettes and interesting lines. Crazy how that happens, huh?