Pictured: My lovely Cream Cheese Danish with candied citrus peel marmalade from Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. I could hear the angels sing. Choosing to save treats for special occasions makes them that much more fun and exciting!
I am back to real life after the holidays and an amazing 2 weeks celebrating my 26th (I unintentionally milked my “birthday month”, and I’m not ashamed of it! haha) I was careful of what I ate, and kept up with my workouts through this time, although I did allow a treat here or there, with Christmas and Christmas Eve being feast days. Loved the food, but it didn’t leave me feeling so great!
I was so blessed this year by my family and friends who treated me like a queen! I enjoyed an incredible Prime Rib dinner with two of my besties at our favorite steakhouse. They showered me with gifts and love, and we shared many laughs over a bottle of Rosé. If all of that wasn’t enough, the steakhouse presented me with a box of truffles handmade by the chef, and a gift card! I think we’re planning on spending all our birthdays and half birthdays there 😂
Pictured: Fitness progress from September 30th – January 13. Not extreme changes – some people don’t notice any…that’s ok – but since I started out at a healthy/average weight/body composition, my focus is on cultivating a healthy mindset, building lean muscle, and developing healthy exercise and eating habits. I did not feel comfortable in my own skin in the photo from September 30th, but thanks to coaching, journaling, doing exercise that I love, choosing uplifting podcasts instead of music on my commute, and starting to practice intuitive eating, I love the skin I’m in, and I’m thankful for the body I have and all that it allows me to do.
I spent my actual birthday doing what I love most. I started it out with a Zumba class and a session with my personal trainer. After that, I spent the afternoon getting hair and make up done, and working with http://www.xandrajanephoto.com on a Victorian inspired, enchanted woodsy shoot. I finally got to wear my Black Poplin Victorian style Corset from Dark Garden Corsetry in San Francisco, and I had an absolute blast. Alexandra and I warmed up after the shoot with homemade mochas before I headed down to The Chef’s Table for dinner with my family. We enjoyed a lovely meal, and topped it off with cake from Ettore’s (Princess Torte for me, of course 👑). The next day was spent with some of the amazing and inspiring women in my life. A group of us took my aunt’s van to Napa where we enjoyed morning pastries and coffee at Bouchon Bakery, soaking in the beauty of the French Laundry Culinary Gardens, wine tasting at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, shopping around Saint Helena, and dinner at the Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch (grass fed cheeseburger FTW! And their Brussels sprouts are amazing!). I stuck to veggies and protein for dinner, but I did taste a cheesy biscuit, and savored chocolate from Ginger Elizabeth which I got as gifts for each of the ladies. Overall, a dreamy weekend full of the people and things I love the most. I know there are many people who don’t have this opportunity or freedom, so I consider myself incredibly blessed. The value of my blessings is by no means lost on me.
Pictured: Hair and Make Up by Alexandra Iriarte – check her out on Instagram and Facebook! 2018 is a year of trying new things for me, and this was the first time I tried winged eyeliner!
My dream is to use this blog as a means to connect with others. Even in our uniqueness, our battles are not so different, and if you feel like you need a friend, or an afternoon coffee and a chat, I want to encourage you to reach out! I have been so blessed to have found so many wonderful resources that have helped me through my struggles with body image, self-worth, frustration and bitterness, etc., and would love to share those with you. So, in honor of entering a new age, and working towards becoming more of the woman I was made to be, here goes:
26 things I’ve learned in my 26 years. 26 things that are true for me, and 26 things that are most likely true for you, too. 26 things that I hope will bring you a laugh, some encouragement, a bit of inspiration, or just something to relate to. You’ve probably heard all of this before, but here goes:
~ Working out is a miracle drug. Endorphins are real, and I’m starting to reap the benefits of a body free of pain (don’t try to go to the bathroom in stilettos after doing your squats and lunges, though), and plenty of energy to get done what I need to get done! Start slow, and do what excites you. Your interests will expand as you get stronger!
~ Ladies, don’t invest in a man unless he puts in the effort to prove to you that he needs you in his life. He should make an effort to call you, see you, treat you, and pursue a future with you. If he doesn’t, he’s not the one, and hasn’t earned your affection, loyalty, and attention. You just do you! Have fun, and throw yourself into all the things you love! You are stunning, just the way you are, and worthy of the love and devotion of an honorable man. Period.
~ Sun protection. Rain or shine! And if you have no clue what the best routine is for your skin, seek out the advice of a professional! Trust me, it’ll be worth it!
~ Take time to journal thoughts, emotions, and prayers. Don’t forget to write down what you are thankful for, even if it’s just the basics like being able to walk, being able to see, or having food in your belly. I’ve spent too many days feeling sorry for myself and the losses I’ve experienced, and not enough days celebrating just being alive and well!
~ Turn off all notifications. This was one of my 2018 intentions, and it’s worked wonders for me! Those little red bubbles get incredibly distracting in a world that is constantly online. Now, I only check social media when I want to. And I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
~ When you make self care a priority, it comes back to you in every aspect of life! This can be prioritizing gym time, making space for a bubble bath and a book, treating yourself to a nice coffee, saying no to a night out in order to have some quiet time to yourself to get caught up on life, or saying yes to a cute outfit that makes you feel great. It’s ok to seek joy and fun in life! And if you don’t love and respect yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?
~ Be grateful for the wonderful people in your life. Be present in your time with them. Enjoy the moment. You are here, now! Not thousands of miles away, or months ago.
~ Never say never. You never know what life will bring you. I’ve been faced with trials and challenges I swore I would never face, and I believe that is because God wanted to humble me, and teach me to have compassion for others.
~ Take care of your smile. A well-tended-to smile can help you feel like a million bucks. But even more important is a smile from the heart, and a smile behind the eyes.
~ Date yourself! Sign yourself up for a class, go get your nails done, or take yourself out for coffee or lunch. Enjoy being alone with yourself!
~ Make your girl-friends a priority, and honor your time with them! If you’ve found your tribe – a group of women who encourage, love, challenge, and inspire you, you’ve found gold. And I’ve truly hit the jackpot in this department!
~ Eat smart, but enjoy your food! Focus on how the food makes you feel over time, focus on colors and textures. Enjoy bitterness and spices. Enjoy the process of cooking your food and making it aesthetically pleasing on your plate. Take out dairy for a week. Try an organic green tea instead of your morning coffee. Be grateful for the opportunity to eat nourishing food, and eat in a state of peace.
~ On the subject of food; log everything you eat! Even if it’s a 600 calorie slice of cheesecake, or if you ate your weight in mixed nuts. Just be aware, and have grace for yourself. The key is consistency, not perfection!
~ Stand up for yourself and what’s important to you. It’s ok to have standards, dreams, and desires. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel silly for having them.
~ If your plans crash and burn, just be grateful, and enjoy the journey (I still struggle with this one, but I’m learning). The people and the opportunities that are meant for you will always be there, and you never know what kind of bullet you’re dodging. Nobody said it would be easy, but everything will work out.
~ Be genuinely happy for others, even if they have what you’ve been desiring for as long as you can imagine (nope, I don’t always feel this, but I’m trying). Chances are, you have things they’ve always wanted, and we all have struggles. Don’t let your heart harbor envy. It will only eat you up, and prevent you from connecting with people on a deeper level.
~ Dream your wildest dreams. Ask to try on that $17,000, 3 carat diamond bracelet with the marquise cut clasp from Tiffany & Co. You are a princess! Start claiming your birthright. You may never own that bracelet, but you are absolutely worthy of trying it on and enjoying how it sparkles on your wrist! (This is a real thing that happened, and it was pure magic)
~ Hold your head high. Smile at people as you pass them. Say hi, and ask them how their day’s been!
~ Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty. To purge your closet, or scrub the grout in your bathroom floor with comet and a toothbrush.
~ Travel opens doors to a whole new perspective on life. Take every opportunity to travel. Talk to the locals. And be thankful for Home when you’re back. It’s true what they say.
~ It’s totally OK to want to feel sexy, flirty, pretty, fruity, and absolutely stunning. It’s OK to doll yourself up. But know that you ARE these things with no make up in your grubbies, or hot and sweaty from a hard workout! And own that!
~ It’s also ok to say no to a date, a night out, or an event if you don’t feel up to it. Honor your intuition, the rhythmic cycle of your hormones, and trust your gut. And don’t let anyone give you crap about it! Everything will work out ☺️
~ Prioritize sleep, and develop your own nightly rituals to help you wind down! I like to take an Epsom salt bath, light a pretty smelling candle and some incense, 3 drops of hormone balancing essential oils on my neck, turn on ocean sounds, and cozy in with a book. This doesn’t happen every night, but I sleep better when it does!
~ On the subject of dreams: let them marinate…let them simmer. You don’t have to jump to achieve them all at once. Keep working at it, keep dreaming, keep pushing forward. They will come someday. Maybe not in the way you planned, but they will come.
~ Try to look at the ways God has answered your prayers. I have always asked God for children, and while I don’t have babies of my own yet, I have nearly 50 children in my life on a daily basis who challenge, inspire, and bless me.
~ A little bit of lipstick goes a long way 💋💄
The End. 🌹