Category Archives: Pals

Lean In.

lean inNo, this has nothing to do with the book Lean In.

According to my roommate who is an Improviser here in Chicago, one is supposed to run toward the fear. Once you figure out the thing you are afraid of, do it. And then that thing isn’t so scary anymore.

She was taught this in improvising but she applies it to life. She was encouraging me to do the same thing.

And I’m trying. I’m leaning into the fear. I’m growing. I feel it. And I think the more I grow, the more aware I am of those parts of myself that have atrophied. For example, I need to forgive myself for some things. I need to extend grace to myself. I’m scared to do it but I am leaning into it.

Psalm 56:3 has been my touchstone for as long as I can remember: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” So I trust him as I lean and though it makes me feel slightly better, the leaning is still uncomfortable, like a slow moving rollercoaster–not necessarily bad but funny and strange. I laugh a lot at the weirdness of it all. I grimace and make awkward silly faces.

I would rather be uncomfortable and growing than stagnant and complacent. And though I can’t grow in all directions at once, I’ve picked one and I’m leaning into the fear. Sooner rather than later, there will be another fear to conquer because this one won’t be so big and scary anymore, and I’ll lean into that. I refuse to live a deeply rooted life, one where I am unable to lean, unable to move towards the fear.

What are you afraid of? Run towards it.


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Bridal Shower Inspiration: Flowers in Your Hair, Wood Watch on Your Wrist.

Bridal Shower Jord Here are the facts: Chelsea is one of my most stylish friends and she is getting married. She is one of those people who can slip in and out of trends, wear what inspires her, and just glows with beauty. And yes, she is getting married on top of it so she is glowing even more than usual. We’ve been friends for a long time and while I could have happily given her some china for her Bridal Shower but I wanted to something that was quintessentially her. Hello, wood watch for my California dreaming, flowers in her hair wearing, friend (and when I say wood watch, I obviously mean JORD). Full disclosure, this watch was given to me in exchange for a story about it.  But I’m obviously a fan because I have one myself that I told you about

Full disclosure, this watch was given to me in exchange for a story about it.  But I’m obviously a fan because I have one myself that I told you about here. And I don’t give my friends lame presents, so there.


The vibe for the Bridal Shower inspiration: flowers in your hair, wood watch on your wrist. Are you feeling it or what? These watches would be such great wedding gift ideas for the couple or for bridesmaids gifts. The men watches are awesome too and would make such a unique groomsmen gift!

She loved her watch as much as I loved mine. I kind of let the cat out of the bag and told her what she was getting (oops) and I thought I would make it extra special with the cutest macaron wrapping paper and card. And it did make it more special.


But what made it more unique and perfect? How seamlessly it blended into her style. How beautiful is she with her flowers in her hair (!), mixing metal and wood jewelry together? She’s like the girl in the magazine we all want to be.


After the shower (I gave the watch to her early so she could wear it), she was looking at pictures and said the best thing a bride-to-be could say at her shower: “I felt so loved and felt beautiful too.”


The best part of JORD wood watches is that they work for someone like me (I’m more classic with my style) and someone like Chelsea (an ethereal mermaid). I gave Chelsea this specific watch. She loved how light weight it was and how it felt on her wrist.


Sure, a few bangles would have been pretty but I think the watch took it to the next level. And I can’t wait for the next level of the Wedding shenanigans in June! I think the watch will probably make an appearance at the bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner…if not the ceremony. Ha!

AND GUESS WHAT? If you go to any of the JORD links provided anywhere here and enter your email, you could receive a $25 gift card (it’s not a lottery, but there is a limited amount!).

How beautiful is Chels? And isn’t the watch  perfection on her?


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Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie.

free people miss american pie 1There have been three or four times since I turned eighteen when my life came to a major crossroads and every single time, before I hit that crossroad, before I even saw that fork in the road coming, a certain song followed me everywhere. It haunted me in the way that good songs do but also in a way that was impossible to ignore. The song was Don McLeans’s American Pie.

I am not a person who believes in “signs” like this but maybe I have started to believe that God makes sure I hear it, a gentle early warning device. Let me explain.

The first time it happened I had just turned eighteen. Back then, a clock radio woke me up each morning and in one week I heard crackle and static and the words: “A long, long time ago/I can still remember how that music used to make me smile/And I knew if I had my chance/That I could make those people dance/And maybe they’d be happy for a while.” Each morning I blinked my eyes open like a struggling baby owl, the song starting in a different place, and thought only: how weird, but at least it’s a good song to start the day.

The next week it continued to wake me up and followed me on the car radio when I drove to and from school and friends’ houses. I could not get away from it. “Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry and good ole boys were drinking whiskey n’ rye singing this’ll be the day that die…”

It got to the point where I honestly wondered if it did mean something. Was I going to die? That sounds dire but if you know the background of the song it wasn’t that farfetched (except that this whole story is farfetched) and this song was following me everywhere I went.

Slowly, though, it faded away and all of a sudden some major decisions that would affect the trajectory of my life came into view. I forgot about the song. There were bigger things to worry about. I made good choices and I made bad choices. But there can be no regrets because they led me here and God was and still is good. I put the song out of my mind because I simply forgot about the way it followed me around.

Until several years later when I heard it two days in a row and I remembered that brief time in my life and a buzz started inside of me. “No,” I thought. “This can’t mean anything.”

Did you write the book of love/And do you have faith in God above/If the Bible tells you so?/Now do you believe in rock and roll?/Can music save your mortal soul?/And can you teach me how to dance real slow?”

Again, the song haunted me. It’s a song that makes me both happy and sad. It makes me want to sing along, and to dance, and feel nostalgic all at the same time. It has no particular personal meaning except for what I am explaining here. And yet, again after a few weeks of hearing it everywhere I turned, it faded away abruptly. In its wake, I was left with big career questions, and I ended up across the country in San Francisco.

There have been other, smaller times where it’s followed me that have been precursors to something. But to be honest, it has gotten to the point that when I do hear it, my ears perk up and my soul feels like an antenna. I wonder: is something about to happen?

I was talking to one of my best friends this weekend as she celebrated her Bridal Shower and she was a mix of emotions. At one point, I said, “In simple terms, a new part of your life is beginning and an old part of your life is ending. It has to end in order for the new to be born and so, of course, your emotions are all over the place.” On the way home from the Bridal Shower weekend in the country, guess what song I heard?

I happened to be caravanning with her younger sister for part of the long ride home, who would shortly after the song ended, take the fork opposite me to go back down to school where she will graduate in a week–a part of her life has to end in order for the new part to be born–and as I sang along with the words I wanted to cry.

Here are two of the Miss American Pies in question aka Free People models:free people miss american pie

“I met a girl who sang the blues/And I asked her for some happy news/But she just smiled and turned away/I went down to the sacred store/Where I’d heard the music years before/But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.”

Because being at a crossroads is the same thing as something ending in order for something new to be born. I was tenderhearted to leave my good friend, only to see her in a month at her wedding, and to say goodbye to her sister, who is at a particular crossroads I remember well. I wondered what was to come for all of us, not in scary way and not an exciting way. But where would be in a year? In two? In ten?

At the same time, I was reminded that some things don’t change but evolve into something rooted so firmly and completely that despite endings and beginnings, that one thing remains perfect with all its imperfections–like the love and devotion between sisters like these. So very many things will change in our lives and if we want to grow, we will change with them. And yet what remains is something altogether marvelous in its simplicity like a spring sunset and strong like the heaviest of anchors.

But then I started singing Bye, bye Miss American Pie…






P.S. The part that is strange this time is that I don’t have a car because I live in the city and therefore don’t listen to the radio. I choose the music I listen to and so the one time I drive for an extended period of time, the song came on. Life is a mixture of the bitter and sweet which is perhaps why the song itself is such a catchy tune and yet tells the story or allegory of the death of three musicians in a plane crash.

P.P.S. I could take pictures of these two gorgeous gals any day of the week. In fact, I just want them to play dress up and let me take photos of them.

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Girls’ Night with Bioré Facials, Crafts, Mani-Pedis.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FiercelyCleanPores #CollectiveBiasbiore8


Henry David Thoreau once said, “All good things are wild and free” and though he wasn’t talking about Girls’ Night, it’s the quote that inspired this Girls’ Night. And in this case the free refers to being a free spirit. When I saw the Limited Edition Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips found exclusively at Walmart in Cheetah and Zebra, I knew they were perfect. So I got my girls together and we laughed, we crafted, and nose stripped. Add in some delicious drinks, hair masks, mani-pedis, and it was a great time.
How much fun are these animal prints on the Bioré Strips? They totally went with our theme and as someone who believes that cheetah/leopard is neutral, I will be putting them to good use in weeks to come (plus over time, they reduce the appearance of pores!). Plus they remove the dirt and oil in the deepest recesses of your skin in a wildly good way.

Just remember you can only find these limited edition ones at Walmart.

biore1For our craft, we made some wild jars to hold toiletries like cotton balls or even Bioré Strips. I had puff paints, ribbon, washi tape, and most importantly mason jars. biore3One friend used puff paint to make a zebra mason jar:biore6I used the ribbon to create a pretty bow:biore7 I cut the ribbon to size and used hot glue to adhere it around the rim of the mason jar. For the bow, I folded the ribbon to size and then wrapped another section around the middle. They turned out great and were so fun. Mason jars are a great way to organize stuff in the bathroom anyway, so we just jazzed them up a bit. It was an easy craft so we could talk as we did it which made it perfect for a girls’ spa night.biore4For the spa part of the evening, we washed our faces and after patting them dry left our noses damp to apply the Bioré strips. As you can see from my selfie, I chose cheetah and added a hair mask while the strip dried for ten minutes. And the fact that these babies can remove a week’s worth of dirt and grime in ten minutes is crazy in a wild way.biore5Add in a mani-pedi (I went with teal and I tried to convince a friend to let me give her zebra stripes but she told me she only wanted animal print on her nose strips…which seems fair) and it was a perfect night of pampering, laughter, and crafting. And by perfect I mean, wild and free. And by free I mean, not monetarily free–more like a night for free spirits–but also within my budget. Haha!

When was your last Girls’ Night? Have you tried the Limited Edition Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips from Walmart?

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Moving: A Drinking Game.

wine1My roommate tells me every girl should own a power drill. I did not know this and have been using elbow grease but it makes a difference. Still, even with a power drill, bolting a bookcase to a plaster wall can be an adventure. I don’t remember exactly when we decided it was time to go out and get refreshments but for this story’s sake, it make sense that it was about the time that we had a hole in the wall deep enough to go through the plaster into the wooden stud and into plaster again. About one inch in diameter, it would have been the perfect place for a secret camera. Since that was not our intention, we were thirsty.

We were suckers but sometimes it pays to be suckers. We laughed at ourselves when we fell for the display of the wine and cheese pairing. “This just looks delicious,” we said, knowing it was ridiculous. Hey, guess what? This random wine is now, I think, my favorite white wine I’ve ever tried. The recipe, when putting together bookshelves and realizing the parts you got to replace the ones that don’t fit still don’t fit, also calls for white cheddar (aged 6 years, from Canada).

Cut to another night of putting up the draperies in a a bay window. We had to go back for more wine and cheese. We binged Making a Murderer while sipping and snacking at night…a show with many themes, one of which is the bearing of class and wealth in the justice system. We drank our wine and and ate our aged white cheddar like huge jerks.

But we also move rugs and furniture. I unpacked (or started to). I put together a headboard. We (mostly my roomie) held the power drill high above our heads for long periods of time for projects (which is much harder than one would expect). We balanced precariously on stools to unscrew lightbulbs. We didn’t drink through all of this, of course. Through some it? Yes.

But some nights, after work and some serious manual labor, we opened a bottle. Turns out there was a sale on the very wine I loved when we went back for it. So I bought five bottles only to be informed that if I bought another, I would receive 10% off. I’d actually done my research and knew what major liquor stores sold it for (actually, to be honest, in a moment of delusion, I wondered how much a case would cost and googled it so that’s how I found out all that pertinent info…which is crazy because I think I have bought less than a case of wine in my life). We ended up saving almost four dollars a

MK, the roomie, says this is a nesting phase. Whenever one moves, one likes to get all fancy and go through a wine phase. I believe her because I have never been much of a drinker. Honestly, not much appealed to me outside of champagne (taste-wise) and that’s so snobby. When I lived in SF, and took day trips to Napa and Sonoma, I learned to appreciate wine for what it is. I also learned that expensive wine really does (usually) taste better.

Our little wine is not expensive, especially how we came across it. And it’s the best. Maybe this would have been a shorter phase if I would not have fallen in love with the taste. And maybe after everything is resolved and life feels “normal,” I won’t be rearranging our fridge based on wine bottles.

So. This moving thing? It’s kind of like a drinking game.





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