Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Thursday Thankful List: Friendsgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

This is the third year in a row my friends and I have hosted a Friendsgiving here in San Francisco. Many of us are from out of town {okay, mostly from Ohio} so we decided to throw our own shindig in 2011 and now, it’s one of our favorite days of the year. There will be 20+ people squeezed into my tiny apartment and tons of homemade {and some store bought ;)} goodies and plenty of wine to go around. One tradition we’ve implemented is that everyone goes around the room before we eat and share three things they are thankful for. If you’ve read my blog before, this shouldn’t be too surprising, as I often write about how important it is to not only think about, but share, what I’m thankful for. For me, it’s more inspiring to hear what OTHER people are thankful for. Some of these people are my bestest of friends from college, some are colleagues, some are new-to-me San Francisco family, some I barely know. That’s the beauty in it all, though. When we share what we’re thankful for, it’s a way we open our worlds to other people and let them in on what makes our hearts sing and what makes our days a little brighter. Gratitude is only multiplied when we take it out of our thoughts and turn it into action – and that starts with saying these things out loud.

So while I’ll be saying what I’m thankful for out loud to my Friendsgiving family today, I also want to say them out loud, right here for you. Here’s just a few things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving morning:

Creating our own traditions
Pumpkin EVERYTHING
Random outbursts of laughter
The free gift of grace I wake up to each morning
Fall bouquets of flowers
When the light hits just right
Cards in the mail
Three beautiful, spunky, ridiculously silly little sisters
Blue turned pink turned purple turned yellow sunsets
Balsamic-drizzled brussel sprouts
Group texts
Parents who have taught me the value of hard work and loving others
A necklace I wear almost daily that was my 21st birthday gift from Mom & Dad
Putting on comfy clothes after a long day
Celebrations
Bus rides with Zach
People who know me so well and love me unconditionally
Fall leaves
Friends that have turned into family
Lazy, long weekends
Spontaneously
Sleeping in an extra hour
Days off work
The feeling of actually being overwhelmed by thankfulness {yes, in the best way possible}

I hope today is not the only day you think about and share what you’re thankful for. I hope you view the Thanksgiving holiday as a time to press the ‘refresh’ button on gratitude and start making it a key ingredient in your life moving forward. Enjoy today! xo

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20 things we should say more often

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, you’re not thinking hard enough.”
Kid President is officially the cutest human.

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Pre-Thanksgiving Snack Ideas from November Bestowed Box

As always, I was excited to receive the November Bestowed box this month! Bestowed is a monthly box subscription service that sends 8-12 healthy and tasty products in the mail each month. This box was a mix of snacks I’ve tried before {hummus and crackers} and snacks I was intrigued by and pumped to try. Overall, this box was less meal focused and more add-ons to other meals or snacks, like the Eat Green Tea, Nektar Honey Crystals and the Salba Smart Chia Seeds. I would put all three of these in Greek yogurt, oatmeal and voila – I have an uber-healthy snack. Another one of my favorite things about Bestowed is that I always discover a new granola or energy bar. I’m always throwing bars in my purse to eat on-the-go and it’s been really cool to discover new ones that are ACTUALLY healthy and not just sugar traps.

Here’s what was in the November box:

Wild Garden Hummus Dip – individually sized and perfect to throw in your bag for an on-the-go snack

Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers – a blend of quinoa, sesame seeds and amaranth; so crunchy, tasty AND gluten-free

Eat Green Tea – did you know edible green tea leaves off in their pure form offer 100 TIMES more antioxidants than brewed tea? sprinkle these onto a meal like you would with any spice!

LifeIce – 30-calorie trays of mini frozen treats. these portion-controlled popsicles have zero preservatives, gluten or GMO are a delicious and healthy frozen snack

Nektar Honey Crystals – GMO-free honey crystals contain all of the sweet goodness of liquid honey with no mess. can’t wait to try this on top of almond butter toast!

Perfect Fuel Chocolate – dark chocolate and ginseng endurance snacks; best enjoyed before a workout to boost stamina and maintain mental clarity. PLUS, dark chocolate is known to decrease stress and improve overall mood {duh}.

Quest Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter – gluten-free bar jam-packed with 20 grams of protein and 17 grams of fiber

Salba Smart Chia Boost – add these chia seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, salads, baked goods. helllllo natural energy!

Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix – known as a ‘secret drink mix’ that is best mixed with water to provide electrolytes during a workout. i’m not a big protein shake or ‘drink when i exercise’ girl, but really curious to try it!

ZICO Chocolate – to be honest, i’m not a huge coconut water girl but definitely think if you like coconut water, this would be a yummy option!

Need more snack inspiration? Read my old Bestowed blog posts here, here and here and start discovering more healthy and tasty snacks! Don’t forget, you can get your first Bestowed box for $10 with the code HELLOTEN105 {normally $19/box}. This offer lasts until this Saturday. xo!

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today's advice

1. When your friends ask you to hangout, and you don’t feel like it, don’t go. Don’t ever do things halfway or do something that makes you uncomfortable. With everything, give all of yourself, even the pieces you never knew existed.

2. It is okay to not know. Everyone always despises the phrase, “I don’t know” but no one tells you that it is okay to not know. The becoming is more important than the being, anyways.

3. If someone ever makes you feel less, in any way, you have every right to walk away. You have every right to cut out toxic people in your life. To close the door on people who make you feel bad about who you are or what you stand for. Friends don’t tear down, they build up.

4. Loss is always going to happen. Just like paint will always chip and rain will always fall, loss will always be part of life. No matter how much I don’t like it, or avoid it, it is going to walk my way at several times in my life. Learn to embrace it and learn to get closure.

5. Give yourself a chance. Stop saying, “I don’t think I can” or “But what if I am not able to?” and give yourself a chance. This may be cliche, but try to believe in yourself. When you get older, your knees won’t work the same and you won’t have the best memory, and you are going to wish you’d given yourself a chance years sooner.

6. Fall in love. Don’t be guarded before you fall in love. You could fall in love three times and still not find the right one, but none of it is going to make “the one” matter less. Don’t fall into that idea that your first love has to be your best love. Fall in love as many times as it naturally happens.

7. Firsts are going to be messy. First loves, first kisses, first dates, first failed tests, first college class, first time you drive a car, first time you ride a plane – first times were made to be imperfect. Just because it’s messy and all over the place, doesn’t mean it can’t be good or worthwhile.

8. You want another scoop of ice-cream? Go get it. Get three more scoops of ice-cream if that is what you want. “Fat” is not the opposite of beautiful and it is not the opposite of happy. Don’t let anyone tell you that your body type isn’t beautiful. Beauty is a social construct, create your own, become your own.

9. Let yourself be alone. Loneliness is not a bad thing. It is healthy and normal. Everyone needs to spend a good portion of their life alone. We learn who we are when we are alone; life is less crowded and more clear when we are alone.

10. If you aren’t happy where you are, change it. Quit your job, move, become a vegetarian, get a new hobby, pick up an old hobby, whatever you do – make sure it benefits you. Life is too short to not be alive, to not be passionate, and overflowing.

Amanda Helm – Ten things I learned before I turned twenty

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you're not a princess

I recently discovered a pretty awesome ad campaign from Mercy Academy, an all-girls preparatory school in Louisville, Kentucky. The ad campaign tells young girls “You’re Not A Princess,” and encourages them to “prepare for real life.” In an interview with the TODAY show, Mercy principal Amy Elstone shared that, “this message empowers them [young women] to move beyond that whole fairy tale idea and to write their own story in life.” She continues sharing that, “our girls are growing up in a society where they’re told by their parents that they’re a princess, and our message is that they’re not a princess, they’re so much more.”

What I love is that the ads encourage girls to be proactive with their own lives. That they shouldn’t wait someone to save them or for things to magically fall into place. That young girls should expect big things for their lives, and go out and make them happen. That their future is in their own hands.

What do you think of the ad campaign? I’d love to know! xo

mercy-ads-collage-1

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18 things to make time for again

Thought Catalog for the win again. Someone recently sent me this article sharing 18 things everyone should make time for again and I wanted to share with you. Enjoy! xo


1. Writing things by hand. Letters to friends, lists for the store, goals for the week, notes for lovers, thank you cards and memos to coworkers. Digital communication is easy and convenient but ask anybody: there’s a huge difference between texting someone to say that you love them and hope they have a great day and writing it on a note and leaving it next to their bed.

2. Savoring time to do nothing. Taking a cue from pre-industrialized society and cultures that enjoy siestas and long, drawn-out, sit-down teas that serve no other purpose than to spend time enjoying the time you have.

3. Thinking before responding. We’ve become too conditioned to require things immediately. Someone asks a question, and we have to respond that second. Such was not the case before instant messaging and comment threads. A sign of true intelligence and confidence, I think, is someone who takes time to consider the question at hand in a little more depth, and then offers a response.

4. Cooking a nice meal just for the sake of doing so. It really trains you to defy your need for instant gratification and of course puts you in touch with something that’s very human and can be lovely if done right.

5. Getting really dressed up for no other reason than just wanting to.

6. Books. Actual hard copy books that you can scribble notes in and mark off sections of and smell ink through and hear the sound of turning pages and bending spines while you read.

7. Making phone calls to relatives for no other reason than to just say hi, and to ask how they’re doing.

8. Disconnecting from technology frequently enough that we won’t be anxious and feeling like we’re missing something when we try to do so for an extended period of time.

9. Celebrating things with long, multiple course dinners that we hold for people as opposed to just drinking ourselves into an oblivion and being belligerent (that has it’s time and place, of course, but having thoughtful, celebratory dinners is a dying art).

10. Cleaning because it’s satisfying and doing things like painting walls or getting fresh flowers just because it’s therapeutic.

11. Spending time with kids, and doing kid things with them. They just know what’s up.

12. Answering things in a timely fashion, not putting off invitations and requests just because we can.

13. Making sure relationships are actually based on time spent with one another. People seem to be sustaining them through only digital means with increasing frequency and I can understand how that’s important if it’s temporarily long distance but in general, physically being with people is the only thing that will give you that sense of human connectedness.

14. Just sitting and listening to music. We’ve made music background noise in our everyday lives, but now and again we should just sit and enjoy it like people used to.

15. Traveling by train, or if that’s not possible, at least exploring places that you pass everyday. Especially if you live in a big city, there are always little hidden gems around that you won’t believe you lived without seeing while they were a block away from you all along.

16. Putting personal health and well-being first, as it often falls to the wayside in importance. This means, aside from the obvious, taking those personal days and using them to just relax. We’ve made such a quirky commodity out of enjoying napping and relaxing, as though doing so makes us boring and old. It doesn’t, it’s healthy.

17. Planning something, especially with someone else, as simple as dinner or as grandiose as a long vacation next year. You always need something to look forward to.

18. Stopping to talk to people throughout the day. Connecting with them genuinely, as such interaction is really important but is becoming increasingly less common. Turning our phones off when out to dinner (who even turns them off anymore?) and learning to not spend all of our time documenting whatever we’re doing for social media. It often takes away from the experience itself.

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Lovely Links

This quote is what I’m reminding myself this week and weekend. It reminds me to not take every single thing so literally and seriously and instead, take life for what it is in each given moment. I often am mapping out ideas of what I want in the future, and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it can take away from the spontaneity in life. I want to be open to whatever comes next.

That being said, I’m taking today off work and having a mini ‘me day’ before a fun trip down to Big Sur. I’m taking a major break from the constant planning and coordinating and scheduling to just – be. 

In the meantime, here’s some of my very favorite gems from the Web this week. There’s a lot of good ones – perfect for some good weekend reading! xo

Zach’s Mount Davidson story – beeeeeautiful photos from one of my favorite sunrise hikes

11 differences between dating a boy vs. a man

The CUTEST little boy diagnosed with cancer who is having his Batman dream come to life in San Francisco

How to wear a scarf

Having major wanderlust…need to book a trip asap!

Coworkers who are bloggers is always a good thing! Love Sarah’s honesty and openness about moving across the country

A Pinterest find! How cute is Kaylee’s blog and especially this post AND this tulle skirt!

Laughed about this for at least ten minutes

Think less, do more…an awesome reminder and article from the always amazing Darling magazine