Fashion is More than Frivolity

I’ll be honest. Widely considered exclusive and elitist, fashion was never my bread and butter. I couldn’t see the connection between the power of a well-assembled ensemble and feeling empowered until I embraced fashion and my personal style as battle armor for a series of unfortunate events.

It was then that I remembered how strong and confident I could feel by taking pleasure in the details, carefully crafting the pieces that exuded who I believed I was – or could be – how, as a result, my self-worth and confidence came gushing through, and I walked taller, more gracefully and with the poise I needed to handle a few hard times.

Fashion is for more than the elite and the waifs of the runway. It’s for real people of all sizes and shapes! photo cred: Paul Eulette

Fashion, in fact, is a powerful means to cultivating confidence and a stronger self-concept. Used as a mode of self-expression, fashion is one of many ways we speak to the world with our own unique blend of nuance, passion and vulnerability.

When we fully express who we are, we access the deepest parts of our authenticity and personal power, which paves our path towards optimal well-being.

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak" overlay on an image of a runway behind

photo cred: Pinterest board of myperfectline.com

Much like how you organize and decorate your home or office or what you post on social media, how you put yourself together, ahem, your personal style says, “here’s who I am, here’s what I’m about.” Although, at times scary, in expressing ourselves through creativity, e.g. fashion and personal style, we satisfy an intrinsic desire to speak our truth and express our individuality.

Want a few ideas to awaken your inner muse without breaking the bank?

Try these on for size (see what I did there? 😉 ) :

  • Browse Pinterest and Instagram for real-world fashionistas, the kind who are your size or exude confidence, boldness, or other attributes that inspire you
  • Write down a few words (or print a few pictures) that describe your style
    Bonus points: Make a mood board
  • Take an inventory of your closet
  • Note which items awaken that inner confidence? Keep these!
  • Note the items that make you feel drab or frumpy? If there’s hope that a good tailor can resurrect some beloved pieces, keep them; if not, donate them!
  • Decide on a budget for any additional pieces you want to add

Once you have an idea of what you’re working with, slowly fill in your wardrobe with the key pieces that you can wear again and again!

To make your budget go even farther, shop sales at your favorite department stores and mosey through TJMaxx, Marshalls, Saks Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, etc. to shop the look you want without going broke. Set a time limit for how long you’ll shop and shop with intention! You’re on a mission!

Fashion is simply one of many fluid, flexible means to enliven your creativity, satisfy your desire to show up in the world and be seen as only YOU can. No matter your size, income level or personal style!

How are you using Fashion to express who you are?

We love to hear real-world stories on how you do Fashion (and so does our community!), so leave a comment below, share this post, or discuss your great ideas with friends, and report back!

Out & About @ Taqueria del Mar in Monterey, CA

Taqueria del Mar logo and wall signageOn a recent trip to Big Sur for the infamous Big Sur International Marathon, our appetites and Yelp! App led us to one of the highest-rated restaurants, yet best-kept secrets in Monterey, California. The unassuming Taqueria del Mar, a Mexican eatery, is a beautiful hidden gem found on Lighthouse Avenue.

Its calm, warm ambience with simple decor offers the freshest, made-to-order fare you may find in the area. (Trust me, I ate my way through the region!) Worthy of its cult following, the carnivore, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items range from the expected, such as burritos, tacos, and enchiladas to the quite unexpected, like guaraches, chimichangas and carne al pastor!

Delicious guacamole with housemade gluten-free chips! (aka my favorite appetizer!)

 

Grilled fish guarache covered in raw cabbage and pico de gallo alongside a crab soft taco with fresh lettuce and pico de gallo

Delicious grilled fish guarache and crab soft taco with a slew of fresh cabbage and pico! Hold the cheese, please! 🙂

The food at Taqueria del Mar is nourishing, delicious and prepared with care; the airy, open space with its bar of window-seating facing Lighthouse Ave and Mexican tile floor reinforces the simplicity and authenticity of the cuisine. Within walking distance of Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fishermans’ Wharf, it’s a convenient “must-try” for your next adventure along the Monterey Bay!

Taqueria del Mar
530 Lighthouse Ave
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 372-7887

Stopping the Shame Game.

I got very stirred up while listening to E! News yesterday.

In discussing a recent Instagram post by Paris Jackson in which she was pictured almost nude and, as a result, subsequently received body-shaming comments online, Catt Sadler (one of the hosts) mused that she could not understand how people could body shame Ms. Paris because she has a beautiful body.

It was at this point that I had to change the channel lest I start arguing with the TV while on the elliptical machine and be removed from the gym. (The irony that I was at the gym while hearing this was not lost on me.)

By no means do I believe that Ms. Sadler was intimating that body shaming of anyone is acceptable; however it got me thinking about how easily we criticize one another, particularly around our outward appearances.

Body shaming, or any shaming of any sort, directed at any human being, is a counterproductive, negative practice that only ensures the race to the bottom of civilized society as we know it. Regardless of the body shape, size or style of the recipient, is it not, by now, an outdated practice that we would all like to see discontinued?

Shame is a scare tactic, not a technique for lasting, positive change.  Click to tweet.

To stop these unhealthy, harmful practices, we can do a few things, but first, we must let go of the belief that our outward appearance – and the exhausting practice of ensuring ageless perfection at all times – is our primary source of worth, value or beauty.

Once we acknowledge that we are more than the skin we’re in, we can begin speaking to ourselves with more kindness and grace and encouraging our daughters, friends and yes, even the men in our families and communities to, instead, see and elevate the true beauty within us all. Regardless of age, shape, gender or race, each of us is a gift to our families, communities and organizations, and to truly lift up these institutions to reach a fuller potential, we must start by building each other up as individuals, and that means stopping with the shame game.

If you have a friend, colleague or family member who could use a dose of positive feedback, take a moment and send them a quick note or share this post. Both of you will be better for it! 

We’d love to hear what’s working in your world that helps stop the shame game and gets the conversation going in a different – and more positive – direction! 

Part Two: How to Set New Year’s Resolutions and *Be Successful*! | How-To’s for Long-Term Success

It’s Your New Year! Happy New Year to you, and kudos for setting out to make this year your best yet!

You have undoubtedly set your Resolutions for this New Year, and if you read Part One of this series, you have already taken the most important step towards successfully achieving that Resolution in 2017 and beyond!

Now what?

Using the following six tips, you will align your actions with your intention to achieve your Resolution for satisfying results. So, let’s harness the momentum you’ve already gathered, and get you going on creating lasting change in your life!

  1. Be realistic with your goals… then stretch!
    Set time-bound, achievable goals, then set a stretch goal to push yourself. Even if you don’t hit your stretch goal, you will very likely outperform your initial goal!
  2. Break down your goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities that will lead to your success.
    Think through the activities that would lead to your success on a smaller scale. Setting smaller goals that ladder up to the larger success, such as planning weekly for a six-month weight loss goal, allow you to make progress towards your goal every day, week and month; before you know it, these new practices will be your regular routine, and you’ll see success every step of the way!
  3. Plan to work, and work your plan.
    Once you break down your goal into smaller pieces, you’re on your way! Prepare your daily, weekly, monthly plans in advance and think through what may create obstacles along the way, so you can have a successful strategy in mind to overcome them.For instance, perhaps before today, you used to fall into the pattern of losing yourself in social media before bed, which kept you up too late, made you oversleep, and left you tired the next day. Now, you’ve realized that going to bed early is more important to you; now, you’ll adjust accordingly if you find yourself on a digital scavenger hunt throughout the interwebs!Here’s a life hack to help you work your plan: Set uplifting reminders on your phone or put post-it notes in highly visible locations in your home, office and car.When the reminder “goes off,” you’ll be reminded of your motivation behind the goal, the goal itself and your ability to succeed.

    For example, some ideas are: “I am sticking with my goal of saving money this year, so I can travel and see the world, and I believe in my ability to succeed,” or “I choose healthier habits, so I can walk my daughter down the aisle and be around for my grandkids. I am worth the effort, and I believe in my ability to succeed”

  4. Measure, measure, measure.
    Without measuring your progress along the way, how will you know how far you’ve come? Measuring keeps you informed and empowered, and it’s not just about if you’re measuring up.Measuring offers learnings around how realistic the goal was initially and how best to devote your time and energy for the best results (i.e. if during month two you tried different activities than during month one, and you saw better results, you know to keep putting your energies into those things. If you didn’t see better results, you know to try something different).
  5. Rally your support system and let them know specific ways they can support you.
    Changing your thinking and behavior is no small feat, and undertaking the journey that accompanies doing things differently takes courage and resilience and support. Changes in your life affect the people in your life, as well as yourself. Letting them know of the changes you’re excited to make, as well as what to expect and how they can help you, will eliminate awkward situations or miscommunications because expectations will have been set and managed.Also, if along the way, you feel like you aren’t as far along as you were hoping, the emotional support and empathy that those who care about you can provide does wonders for boosting your spirit and resilience in your pursuit of your goal.
  6. Recognize and celebrate your wins – large and small!
    It really cannot be understated; making change is a brave and courageous undertaking. Particularly changing yourself. Applaud yourself for taking on the challenge of making positive change in your life, and give yourself the kudos you deserve from the Big Milestone Wins to the seemingly Small Wins, like each and every time you fall down and get back up. Recognize and reward your successes and stick with it! Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating the greatest win of all – achieving your 2017 New Year’s Resolution!

Peace, Love, and Cheers to Your Brightest Year yet!

Part One: How to Set New Year’s Resolutions and *Be Successful*! | Getting Clear on Your Resolution

Lighthouse with beacon of light shining across the sea

photo cred: dailyalts.com

New Year, New You! It’s that time again; a new year, a new beginning. A time of looking back and looking ahead. A time when we take stock of who we are today and what we hope to achieve, who we want to become in the coming year, then we set our resolutions to pave our way.

The process is energizing and motivating, full of promise, and opportunity! We have a clean slate! We feel inspired and activated and are confident we can achieve our goals! We can be this newer, better version of our already wonderful self! We can achieve these goals! …and then February or March hits, annnd we forget about that “old” Resolution because we’ve slipped into old, familiar patterns or found other outlets for our time and energy that seem a higher priority in that immediate moment. Before we know it, we have fallen off-track and vow to try again next year.

However… What if we don’t have to follow this pattern in 2017? What if we can be more successful? I believe we can.

In this two-part post, we’ll start with reframing how we set our Resolutions and then get into the How-To’s to stick with them for lasting results.

So, let’s get going!

First off, a new way of reframing resolutions.

Resolutions, first and foremost, are goals. Usually lofty goals that we set for ourselves in a variety of areas of our lives. Health, fitness, finance, family, career, spirituality. We sense a gap between who we are and who we want to be, that bourgeoning better version waiting to emerge, and we devise goals to help us bridge the gap.

Simply put, we:

  1. Feel like there’s something more (or something different) that we could be doing with our time, energy, skills and talents
  2. Believe the end result will be rewarding in some way (usually, at its core, we believe it will bring an emotional reward, a way to feel better)
  3. Set intentions to bring this end result to pass

While all of these are well and good to informing personal transformation and growth, a key step we often miss is a hearty and true understanding of why we want to pursue these goals (step 2). We must be deeply truthful with ourselves about our motivations. For instance, losing weight because your wife or doctor wants you to – as important as those factors are – won’t cut it when you bump up against years or decades of long-held habits and beliefs. Action and success are a result of desires and motivations that reside deep within you.

Naming these motivating factors is so important to personal growth and to sticking to your Resolution throughout the year and beyond to achieve lasting change. Naming these factors gives them meaning and signals to your brain and your being to align your choices and actions in an intentional way and to be purposeful with your time, energy, money, words, behaviors.

To honor your Resolution, your intention, for the next year – and beyond! – you must be intentional, and to do so, the motivation behind that intention has to be strong enough to catapult you through and beyond any challenge that might stand in your way, which is why the motivation has to come from deep within you.

This step of naming is the most important of all the How To’s, so take a pause and spend a moment with yourself to get clear on why you’re setting this Resolution for yourself. Write down your Resolution and the Why’s behind it. Studies show that simply writing down your goal gives you a 42% better chance of achieving them! If you take away nothing else from this post, just write down your goal! You don’t have to share it with anyone or post it online; it is for you. Simply write it down for yourself.

As you’ll see in Part Two, writing down your goal will play into other Tips and Tricks for staying on the wagon.

For now, take a pause on New Year’s Eve and write yourself a note. Include your Resolution and why it is important to you to stay on track and be successful. Why does it matter to you?

In Part Two, the six How To’s of sticking to your Resolution are laid out. Once you’re clear on your intention, the supporting structure of these six steps will keep you on track throughout 2017 and beyond!

As always, we love your feedback and thoughts, so leave us a comment below!

May 2017 be your best, brightest, healthiest, and most successful year yet!

Asian Black Rice Salad: An Easy, Elegant Favorite

Looking for a fast, easy and healthy dish for your next soiree? Try out this new Thanksgiving fave in our house: Asian Black Rice Salad! The subtle heat of the hot sesame oil along with the crunch of the veggies and antioxidant-rich black rice make this dish a healthy and memorable addition to any table.

Black rice with chopped vegetables and drizzled with sesame seeds and sriracha. So good and good for you!

Asian Black Rice Salad
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked black rice
  • 1/2 cup napa cabbage, chopped (substitute chopped kale, if desired)
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped (substitute chopped yellow or white onion, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbl soy sauce or gluten free Tamari
  • 2 Tbl roasted sesame seeds
  • 1-2 Tbl sriracha
  • 1 Tbl hot sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  • Combine the rice and veggies in a large mixing bowl
  • Whisk the sesame oils, rice vinegar, Tamari, and garlic powder
  • Pour dressing over the rice and veggies and stir so you’re coating the rice
  • Transfer the dressed rice and veggies to your desired serving dish
  • Drizzle the Sriracha
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds
  • Serve

Bon appetit!Black rice, unchopped napa cabbage and varieties of bell peppers and scallions, chopped vegetables, vegetables mixed with rice

 

Five Healthy Holiday Tips

Tablescapes of Hanukkah Feast, Chinese New Year Feast, Christmas Feast and Kwanzaa Feast

We are officially in the swing of the Holiday Season!! This magical time of year brings so many opportunities for us to reconnect with ourselves, our friends, our families, and our traditions. (All of which are rich with complexity and emotion…and usually also desserts 🙂 )

Here are a few tips to help you not only survive the holidays, but also thrive during this time of year, so you can both take care of yourself and enjoy the wonder and whimsy of the season.

Stick to the Basics.
Throughout the Holidays, these year-round basics will be your best allies:

  • Pack in the greens and unprocessed, whole foods as much as you can, for instance:
    • When you’re invited to a party, bring a veggie (or even raw veggies with dip) as your dish to pass to ensure that you’ll have healthy options at your finger tips
    • Plan ahead and stock up on healthy snacks at home, so you’re not reliant on cookies and leftover pie for snacks when you get hungry
    • Fun fact: the best way to guarantee you’ll crave something tomorrow is by eating it today; if you eat less sugar and more veggies today, you’ll work with your natural wiring to prevent off-the-rails sugar cravings the next day and the next…
  • Drink plenty of water, i.e. one glass every hour if not more; when attending a party, alternate a glass of water with every sugary or alcoholic beverage, which will give you the added benefit of something to occupy your hands while also preventing a hangover
  • Exercise 20-30 minutes each day; even a 15 minute walk a few times throughout the day makes a difference for your mental and physical well-being
  • Get enough rest; when we’re rested, our willpower, patience and energy levels are significantly higher, which means better decisions and more equilibrium and energy to navigate the jam-packed social calendar!
  • Meditate or practice positive visualizations and/or affirmations five minutes a day

Be Mindful.
Very important is to be aware of what you’re eating, how full you are and why you’re reaching for seconds. Often times, we choose to feed our feelings instead of to satisfy our physical hunger. Being mindful of our choices and the reasons behind them will help us outsmart the autopilot eating that is easy to slip into when we’re having fun (or not) and surrounded by food and friends!
Quick tip: If you find yourself on emotional overload, try 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Do this about five times whenever you feel the stress or anxiety (or any emotional trigger) overwhelming you.

Make time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the Holiday – the planning, the parties, the presents – and the allure of saying yes to it all! Families, friends, work, and school activities are abundant, and whether out of obligation or delight, we will say yes… and yes, and yes.  In doing so, we get thrown out of whack and worn out. Make sure you keep your overall well-being in mind as you schedule your fun and festivities.

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your equilibrium:

  • Schedule your workouts on your calendar, so you can blow off steam and get those natural endorphins to keep you energized
  • Say no to social engagements if it’s too much (or simply leave early, so you can get enough rest)
  • Schedule time with friends who lift you up and nourish your soul (you know the ones)
  • Put quiet time on the calendar, such as reserving a few nights for doing absolutely nothing
  • Take a nap on a Saturday afternoon
  • Have a “wrapping party” to allow you and friends to catch up as you wrap gifts or a cookie swap where the cookies baked can be given as goodies for co-workers or teachers (time with friends AND gifts for folks on your list sounds like a win-win!)
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help and/or delegate; for instance, if you’re having a party, prioritize your to-do list and enlist family to help or hire someone to help clean before or after, ask friends to bring a dish to share or help clean-up afterwards, etc.

Whatever helps you maintain your sense of self and balance this time of year is a MUST.
Spoiler alert: it may vary day-to-day, and it may not look the same as what your friend, sister, mom or significant other needs, and that’s OK. Taking the time to make time for yourself and your mental, emotional and spiritual health this time of year will reap enormous benefits!

Eat the pie. Then let it go.
It’s OK to indulge, especially if you’re keeping the other 80% of your food and drinks on the lighter side. One powerful trick to minimizing the impact on your overall health (and waistline) is letting go of any guilt your carry for indulging in a slice of pie (or two), and then resetting to “normal” eating habits. Remember that there are hidden calories and sugar in holiday libations and dishes. Swap in water or herbal tea where possible, and if you do indulge at that office party, overindex on clean eating for your other meals that day and a few days after.

Enjoy!
Most important of all… Enjoy the moments, the meals, the memories of this Season! Savor each bite and every experience because this year’s Holiday season is different than all those that have come before and all those to come. Soak it in. Even if you eat too much, have an emotional breakdown, or don’t get it all done before your family or guests show up, it’s OK. It truly is OK. Breathe. Speak kindly to yourself, and give yourself grace. ‘Tis the season after all. Take advantage of the joy and generosity of this time of year. Live in the moment. Say yes when you feel it, and say no when you feel called to. Take care of yourself and those you love and enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Happy Holidays!