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Nourished in October

Goodbye, October. Hello, November.

After months of pretending that it’s fall in SoCal, the actual fall weather finally arrived. Hello crisp air, flannel shirts, and boots. How I missed you so. Here are somethings that nourished me in October…

  1. All the music. This new T. Swift song, this War on Drugs song, and also this song. Like on repeat.
  2. Blowouts. The other day, I had this feeling like “I need my outsides to match my insides.” I’ve been feeling a little fiercer this year and I just needed a change that helped reflect this. So, I went to the Dry Bar, and bam! Feeling a little more like myself with this do right now.
  3. This show. Have you seen it? You can watch season 1 on Hulu and it is SO GOOD.
  4. And this movie. I’m a sucker for inspirational sports stories. And for women rocking it. If you are too…then run, don’t walk to see Battle of the Sexes.
  5. Running. Running and I have a long history, and I took a few months off after July. However, in October, I started lacing up my sneakers again, and it’s been feeling pretty darn good.
  6. This essential oil diffuser. I’ve now used this gem twice, and my room feels like a spaaaaahhhh!

What’s been nourishing you? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Scrappy

Last night
I saw a picture of myself
from about 4 years ago.

“I look so young,”
I thought to myself.

Baby face
less little lines
pre-highlighted hair.

That younger me
she was curious
but not daring.

She was strong
but stagnant.

She held onto things with clenched fists
rather that rolling with what came and went.

In truth, there are pieces of that girl I miss.
That I miss so much.

I miss the security she felt.
The safety.
The simplicity.

But when I catch a glimpse of myself now,
when I see a picture
or look at myself in the mirror
I like what I see.

I like those little lines
around my mouth from smiling,
and in between my eyes
from
fierceness
and drive.

I like the story my face tells.

I like the word “scrappy.”
That a person can takes pieces of heartbreak
and celebration
and road trips
and funerals
and make something twisted and beautiful out if it.
That they can put together a collage of their own creation.

I look different than I did four years ago.
I am a few years older
a few pounds heavier.
I am bolder. 

In these past few years
I traveled to Israel
and Greece.

I moved into a cottage
and then moved again.
I learned I’m a little restless that way.
And I like it.

I lost both of my grandparents
and jumped on a plane
without packing a thing.

I got 2 cavities filled
and drove to Mexico
where I got food poisoning.

I welcomed my baby niece into the world
and went to the laundromat more times than I can count.

I closed my eyes and bought new tires.
I left my first real job
and my first real love.

I ate beignets at 3:00 am with my best friend
and rubbed her back during a funeral.

I danced hard at two different family weddings
and began a master’s program.

I adopted some food rules
and then let them go.

I read a bunch of books including
The Alchemist
and Love Warrior.

I discovered The National.

I began writing again.
Fiction.
Poetry.
Truth.
For the first time in a long time.

These are just some.
Some of the things.
Some of the pieces
of my scrappy collage.

Some pieces are shiny and bright.
Others are dark
and still hurt.
But they are all mine.

I may be less pretty.
Less young.
Less clean.

But I feel much scrappier now.
And I like that just fine.

Nourished in September

Hi friends! Did you think I forgot about the September favorite posts because we are already a week into October? Nope, I didn’t…promise.

getlost

Because I’m all about being honest, I will honestly tell you that September was a little rough. When all of the excitement of new beginnings wore off, I was left feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I will also honestly tell you that I’m still finding my footing. Plugging back into self-care practices and slowing down. Wayyyy down. Here are somethings that helped…

  1. This yoga studio. Since moving out of Santa Monica, it’s been a struggle to find a new yoga studio. But this place. Oh, whoa is me. I finally feel like a found a new studio to call home.
  2. Sarah Sapora’s Body Love Workshop. An entire day devoted to embracing, reconnecting, and healing. PLUS, I got the chance to meet some amazing body positivity activists, like Gina and Gia. If Sarah’s workshop comes to you…I urge you, GO!
  3. This song. But also this one. And this one. My music taste has been ALL OVER THE PLACE this month. I’ve been rediscovering some of my old college faves, like Lupe Fiasco and Girl Talk. And I’ve also been feeling all those slow moody tunes that make me feel like fall is actually here.
  4. This podcast episode. Learning about self compassion like whoa right now. It’s a serious game changer.
  5. This wine shop. A wine shop on the east side that sells wine made by lady winemakers exclusively. I love, love, love it.
  6. Sons of Anarchy. Once again, I am late to a cult TV show party. But I’ve fallen in love with SOA…enough to call it SOA. It’s on Netflix and it’s binge-worthy.

What nourished you this month? Leave a comment with any recommendations!

 

Nourished in August

greece

Hello friends! I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I last sat down to write to you. August was jam packed with travel and new beginnings. I’m so grateful to be back here at my little turquoise desk, sharing some of my August faves with you…

  1. Greece! This past month, I spent 10 magical days trekking around the Greek islands with one of my favorite gal pals, Becca. We lived in our bikinis, survived on tzatziki and tomatoes, and washed our hair in the ocean. The slow pace, salt water, and such an amazing friend by my side truly nourished my heart.
  2. Femme Fatales. In the month of August, I watched this, read this, and have been listening to this on repeat. It’s all got me feeling pretty fiery.
  3. This Ted Talk. I have fallen in love with Sarah Jones. Her performance is seriously perspective shifting.
  4. This song. I love Lorde. I just love her.
  5. This Instagram account. Realness around skin + body is just so refreshing. We need more people like Dana on social media, reminding us to embrace imperfections.
  6. My writing. While I didn’t write on la blog this month, I’ve actually been working on some fiction. When I sit down to write, it feels like this creative part me finally gets to breath. I feel more like myself when I’m writing…calm and inspired all at once.

What nourished you this month? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Nourished in July

Hello friends!

street

I’m sorry that I’m a few days late on this monthly round up. Life has been wonderfully full this past week as I’ve been moving! Remember a few months back when I talked about falling in love with the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake? Well, I fell so hard, that I moved over here! One of my girlfriends and I found a two bedroom where we can walk to bars and coffee shops. We’ve been busy cleaning and unpacking boxes. But so far, I am loving my new hood.

Here are some other things that nourished me this past month…

  1. Family. I spent almost all of July at home in the midwest with my family. I helped welcome my niece into the world, ran and walked with sisters, drank many frozen coffees from Kaldi’s, and learned how to needlepoint. The trip was truly a sacred pause.
  2. This restaurant. And this one too. Both of these restaurants are in the St. Louis neighborhood of Tower Grove Park and are actually across the street from one another. If you are going to Olio, I recommend getting the labne and pita bread. And if you go to Union Loafers, please get the nut butter sandwich and/or the little gem salad. Both are SO DELICIOUS.
  3. This show. I may be late to the Riverdale party, but oh.em.gee. I’m jealous of people who haven’t seen it yet and wish I could watch it for the first time all over again. I loved Archie comics as a kid, and seeing the characters brought to life is pretty darn awesome.
  4. This movie. This movie is hilariously authentic and raw. You will fall in love with Jessica James.
  5. This song. When I was visiting home this past month, my baby sister was home from college too. She played me all the pop music. Get it, Kesha.
  6. And this song too. Not pop. But still awesome.

What nourished you this month?  Leave a comment and let me know!

some things I know about love

My grandpa passed away on a Saturday in May.
He had grown sick quickly
and we had all been in town for almost a week.
cousins,
aunts,
uncles.

We all received that phone call
and headed to St. Louis
to sit by his bedside,
and hold his hands
and kiss his face.
To wipe his closed eyes with a cool cloth.

We all had a moment alone with him
to whisper
Thank you.
I love you.
I’m sorry.

My grandma came to the hospital during the final few days,
transported from her nursing home,
accompanied by her rabbi.

She sat in her wheelchair, by his bedside, and wept.
She held his hand
and in-between her tears said,
“That’s my man, can you believe that’s my man laying there?”

The day my grandpa passed away
all the cousins
and sisters
and partners
went to be with my grandma.
We noticed that sitting on her table
there was a Valentine’s Day card
written in my grandpa’s shaky script.
It said:

“Hon,
Valentine’s for 71 years. Wow!!
Love, Hon.”

Love is the riskiest, craziest, juiciest thing out there.
To give your heart to someone
and know that at some point, it might be broken.

Even after 71 years.

Five weeks after my grandpa passed away,
my grandma followed.

My dad
and my cousin-in-laws
and friends through generations
were the pallbearers at both funerals.

These men accompanied both of my grandparents on that final walk.
And watching them honor my grandma and grandpa in that way
was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

I know that in my family,
we bury our own.
Physically filling each grave with dirt.
It’s the final thing we can do for our people.
Each shovel of earth saying
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

I know that the day of my grandma’s funeral,
my sister went into labor,
most likely because my no-nonsense grandma was up there
and told that sweet baby it was time to get going.
That we needed her.

I know that the morning my niece was born,
I was cuddled up next to my cousin
who whispered
that the baby was coming,
and we needed to get to the hospital to greet her.

I know that the first time I saw my niece, I cried.
For I loved that girl before she born.

I know that when your heart is open to love,
it can break,
and at first, it feels like this grief is the only return on our investment.
The only proof that we loved.

But I’ve learned that isn’t true.
Grief isn’t the only thing we are left with.
We are left with bigger hearts
and crazy stories.
We are left with cousins
and sisters
and nieces.

We are left with Valentine’s Day cards that remind us
that love can outlive lifetimes.
Wow.

Our grief reminds us
that real love holds the power to create
to transform
to build a family.

Our grief reminds us that if we allow it
our hearts can be filled over and over again.

Love is anything but glossy.
It isn’t always rom-com,
OMG, super cute,
all hearts and rainbows.

In fact, love is the messiest thing I know.
At times, it will leave us stumbling and sick
and other times,
well other times,
we will hold our baby niece
or share a first kiss
or paint our grandma’s fingernails
and know that there’s nowhere else in the world we need to be.

My grandparents got to love BIG for 71 years.
And while their bodies are gone,
it is their love that remains.
It is the family they built.
The stories they told.
The values they engrained in us.

This is the return on their investment.
It is each other that we are left with.
This is how their love lives on.

Social Media and Self Care

Truth: Getting on social media used to leave me feeling depressed. I found myself scrolling through Instagram, comparing my life to everyone else’s highlight reel of beauty, weddings, and dreamy vacations. And before I knew it, I was spinning into a place of comparison. Over the years, I started to notice that I was signing off from Facebook in a worse mental state than before signing on. My mind was filled with everyone’s gorgeous pictures, and gratitude for my own life seemed to somehow drift into the background. This year, I decided enough was enough. I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I kept my Instagram account, and set boundaries around my use. I began curating my feed. I unfollowed accounts that didn’t make me feel good, and instead filled my feed with body positivity folks, rad writers, and mental health activists. Here are some tips and tricks for social media use that support YOU.

instagram

  1. Unfollow people that don’t make you feel good. Yes, all of them. I know, I know. This seems like the most straight forward, basic piece of advice. And yet, how often do we continue to follow people that don’t make us feel good? Or accounts that leave us feeling like we need to “improve” ourselves somehow? Unfollow these folks asap. You are enough, exactly as you are. Your unfollow list might include: ex-boyfriends, toxic friendships, weight loss peeps, or fitness fanatics. Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. If seeing their pictures doesn’t make you feel good or leaves you feeling less-than, unfollow. End of story.
  2. Curate your feed. Your social media feed should make you feel good. It can be filled with people that are real and inspiring! Follow accounts that support body positivity, make you smile, and remind you to to embrace all of who you are! Some of my favorites: Laura Mckowen, Virgie Tovar, Jamie MendellAshley GrahamNayyirah Waheed, Mari Andrew, and Ruthie Lindsey. You can search hashtags such as #bodypositivity and #healthateverysize to discover accounts that make YOU feel good.
  3. Set boundaries around your use. What social media sites do you enjoy? Which do you rarely use or are just complete time sucks? Maybe you want to keep Instagram and SnapChat, but Facebook can go. It’s also possible that you really love all of your accounts. That’s cool too. You can still set boundaries around how often you scroll through each site. This time boundary is one that I still sometimes struggle with. However, I find that when I set guidleines around my use (Instagram for 10 minutes every other day), I enjoy my time spent scrolling so much more.
  4. Gratitude, baby, gratitude. Remember, social media tends to be most people’s highlight reels. And guess what? YOU have highlights too! There is beauty in your life too. So often we forget this. I have started using this app as a way to practice gratitude and list a few ways I can show up for myself each day.
  5. Sharing honestly helps us feel less alone. The accounts I love most are real and vulnerable (see #2). Choosing joy doesn’t mean pretending that everything is perfect all the time. Because….well, blah. It means that things can feel yucky, and there is still beauty out there. Being real on social media means celebrating it all.

Nourished in June

Hello, July!
I flew back to the midwest last week and am ready to enjoy a St. Louis summer. Hello sweet humidity, how I missed you so. My plans: soak in family time and write a whole bunch. Woot, woot!

Here’s what nourished me in June…

molly

  1. My niece! Sister had a sister! Molly Ruth was born just couple days ago and whoa is me, her timing couldn’t have been better. Welcome to the world baby girl, you are already so loved!
  2. This song.  And this one too. I’ve been on a bit of a Kanye kick lately…
  3. Wonder Woman and pretty much all things Gal Gadot. We needed this movie like, yesterday. It’s so empowering to see women finally represented in a way that shows our strength and resiliency!
  4. This eye cream.  I always feel so much brighter and awake after using it! It’s simply the bomb dot com.
  5. Vegan ice cream. If you live in L.A. or are there visiting, you must go here. It may just change your life…
  6. Tara Brach. I love Tara’s guided mediations. Most of them range from 10 – 20 minutes and focus on body and breath awareness. So good.

What nourished you this past month? Leave a comment and let me know!

P.S. I currently have 3 coaching spaces open! If you are interested in breaking free from diet and perfectionist thinking, then check out my coaching page! Together, we will identify your authentic goals and move forward from there. Send me a message and we can schedule a free consolation!

 

food journey, round 2

quiche.jpg

A few months ago,
I wrote about my journey with food.

I wrote about doing crunches when I was a tween
grunting and sweating on an itchy hotel room floor
hoping to create a flat belly.

I wrote about being full after a fancy meal out
and quietly sneaking off to the bathroom to shove my fingers down my throat
in the hopes that something would come up.
Nothing ever came up.

I wrote about the South Beach Diet
and Weight Watchers
and staring at my stomach in the bathroom mirror
wondering when it would be different.

I wrote about how despite being pretty free around food
that I still had some struggles.
How after months of working with my own coach
to de-classify foods as “good” or “bad,”
I still wasn’t really giving myself “unconditional permission to eat.”

I wrote about ice cream.

I wrote about all of these things
…and then I took the post down.

There are a few different reasons why I pressed delete.
Unfortunately, all of those reasons were rooted in fear.

A couple of people told me that the post made them feel uncomfortable. That they hadn’t known me to have any sort of restriction around food. That they didn’t know what to say. I should have said “I’m sorry this makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to say anything. You don’t have to fix this. I needed to speak my truth.”

I should have told them how sad it is that diet culture is considered “normal.” But instead I allowed myself to be filled with shame rather than share my story.

I was also afraid…because who knew how this would end? After discovering that I didn’t have the true food freedom I thought I did, I was afraid that perhaps I never would. That I would always approach food with some level of fear. And if that was the case, did my coaching services hold value?

I took the post down, but I promised myself that I would continue to work towards this unicorn of food freedom. I wouldn’t give up.

I gave myself true unconditional permission to eat.

“What if all I want is ice cream and pasta?” I asked my coach.
“Then all you will eat is ice cream and pasta.” she said.

I gulped with fear. But I trusted the process anyway. And let go of ALL rules.

During that time, I discovered frozen yogurt again. And donuts. And popcorn.

I realized that my body was ravenous. And sometimes for lunch, I would eat a sandwich and then a whole second one. Or I would wake up in the middle of the night, my stomach grumbling because I hadn’t eaten enough that day. And rather than forcing myself back to sleep, I got up up and made a bowl of cereal.

Sometimes I ate emotionally,
and learned that food didn’t really make any difficult emotions go away.

So, I learned to find nourishment beyond food.

I stopped posting recipes during this time.
Because while I do love to cook,
I was learning to eat at restaurants without fear.
To eat boxed mac n’ cheese without shame.

Eventually, many of my cravings settled.
I learned to trust my body’s hunger cues.
I was generous with my portions.
I took my time.
Sometimes I left food on my plate
and other times I went back for seconds.

And the truth is
after years of subtly restricting my food,
I did gain some weight.

This is the opposite of what you wanted to hear, isn’t it?
You wanted to hear that after tuning into my body’s needs that I shrunk in size.
Because that’s what society tells us is better, right?
Smaller is meant to be better.
What a stupid lie.

My body fell at a size I had been fighting for many years.
A size that was natural and totally me.
A size that didn’t require any restriction in oder to maintain.
In time, I fell in love with this body.
I became completely tuned in to my her needs.
I could hear her when she asked for yoga,
or spinning
or chocolate
or a hug.

I also became tuned into my soul’s needs.
When she asked to be with friends
or read a piece of fiction
or to create a piece of writing.

Last week, I discovered a half-eaten granola bar in my purse. Along with a bag of almonds.

And I just smiled.

Because if you would have told me last year that I would eat half of a granola bar, and somehow just forget about the other half, I would have laughed at you. Back then, I planned my meals and snacks to the T, and ate accordingly. Now, I listen to my body and respect her needs. I trust that the granola bar will always be there. So will the kale, and ice cream, and sandwiches.

I have found true, absolute, food freedom.
I have met that unicorn.

face.jpg
I’m starting to cook more again.
To roast lots of veggies.
To put some overnight oats in the fridge.

And this time, there is no force.
I can eat the overnight oats in the morning if I want.
But I can also change my mind and have a donut instead.

I’m laying shame down along with food rules.
Both are too heavy to carry.
I’m telling the whole story.
There may be some recipes on this site from time to time
but there will be even more truth telling.
Because that’s soul medicine to me.

Dear heartbreak,

Dear heartbreak,

There is something I must tell you.
I have decided to choose joy.

Quite honestly, I only recently learned that joy is a choice.
I’ve decided to stop waiting on external circumstance,
and seek out the beauty instead.
I’ve decided to live there,
in that space.
Because let’s be real,
there is so much freaking beauty out there.

Last night, I drank wine with girlfriends
And ate too much thai food.
During the day, I taught students that are dear to my heart
and had meaningful conversations.
My lunch included fresh farmer’s market bread and cherries.
Joy, Joy, Joy.
Beauty, Beauty, Beauty.

So yes dear heartbreak, I see you.
I see that there are pieces that still ache.
I know that in the past month there has been loss
and difficult conversations
and lots of questions.

Yet there’s also been a turning of the seasons, heartbreak.
Can you feel it?
The change in tide?
The breath of fresh air?
And I’ve decided to go soak it all in.

Heartbreak, my dear teacher, you are always welcome.
You may stay as long as you like,
as long as you need.
I will never force you to leave.
But I’m just telling you that joy will be at the table too now
and she will be running the show.
She is vibrant and alive
and jumps into life fearlessly.
She makes mistakes
but never looks back.
Trust me, you will love her.

Know that there’s always a space for you, heartbreak.
You just won’t be the loudest voice anymore.

Sending you lots of gratitude,
Amy