Thank You, 2017


There's been a meme going around the interwebs that goes something like this: "2016: Caterpillar; 2017: Cocoon; 2018: Butterfly." Cheesy? Yes. But also, accurate. At least for me.

2017 absolutely felt like a cocoon year. It started off with me still reeling from a rough 2016. I spent a lot of this year feeling vulnerable and apathetic, aimless and lost. I cried a lot on my way to work, I spent more time journaling than I have in years, I did a lot of going to bed right after I got home from work and I hunkered down for most of the year, not really having the energy or the desire to give much to others. I was just depleted... I couldn't "give" anything because I sort of felt like I had nothing left to give.

And for much of the year, what little I had left seemed to get exhausted by the news. Natural disasters, mass shootings, Trump's latest atrocity... there was never a time where it felt safe and so the cycle of vulnerability followed by my defense strategy of retreat and apathy continued.

But as I sat down yesterday reflecting, prepping this annual recap and looking at pictures from the year I realized that despite months of working through that depression, a lot of good stuff did happen in 2017. For instance, instead of deaths, there were births: 7 of our friends and 6 of my co-workers welcomed new babies into the world. Instead of poor health, there was self-care: unlike 2016 where I was constantly sick and stressed out and googling WebMD about my newly uncovered Lynch Syndrome, I don't think I visited WebMD once this year or had one health-related anxiety attack.

This was the year that Ryan and I began apart and ended engaged; the year that I recommitted to taking care of myself spiritually and healed so much through A Course in Miracles, surfing and solo travel; the year that I got involved by marching in protest, joining ACLU, making frequent calls to my representatives in Congress, donating when I could, making lifestyle changes and learning about important issues; and the year that I really learned how to let go of what wasn't serving me.

Ultimately, I'm thankful for 2017. It may have often been a dark one internally, but I see now how those dark spots were so necessary for what's coming up ahead. Here's a look back at everything that went into it...

Sparkly and Bright


We're engaged!

As surreal as it feels to be able to type that, I'm happy to share that it's true. And the way it all went down was better than I ever could have imagined.

Party Pants


From the streets to the beach to yoga to bed... I have basically been living in these harem pants

Honestly, I think harem pants may be the greatest fashion trend to have ever happened to me: they're cute, they're comfortable, they have a thick cinched waistband to hide my belly, and I basically never have to take them off because they are functional in every situation I find myself in: sleeping, working out, hanging out, and going out. 

One Tribe Apparel is the company behind this pair, which I love because their design has a pocket. They have a lot of other gorgeous patterns, like their Plume Peacock pattern in Teal or Black, their Black and Red Peacock pants or the Dolphin Honey Hive style, none of which break the bank at only $28 dollars a pair. 

All of One Tribe Apparel's products are sourced and made in Thailand by local artisans who are paid fair wages. And with every purchase, they donate $1 to the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai, Thailand, which rescues and cares for elephants and other endangered animals. 

I've test driven these party pants for almost 5 months now and they are still crushing it, despite how much I wear them. They will get a little pill-y if you toss them in the dryer, so I recommend air drying them after you wash them, but aside from that they're super low maintenance. And with one size fits most sizing, they're a pretty safe bet for any gift giving you may have coming up... 

Party on!

Clean, Green Bathroom Routine


30 days ago, I joined Groundswell Community Project in a #NoPlasticNovember live-a-thon. The goal of the challenge was to get rid of one type of single-use plastic (or all plastic!) for the month of November and I decided to eliminate plastic-packaged bathroom toiletries.

It was a good place to start too, because I happened to have 80 of them lying around

The thing is, single-use plastics are killing our oceans. And the $432 billion dollar beauty and personal care products industry could really care less. Probably because every product we buy that's packaged in a single-use plastic is us voting for them to make more!

I used to not think that way. I used to pick up a plastic-packaged product and think, "Well. It's already made, so I might as well buy it, right? Also, what difference is one purchase by one person going to make?"

In fact, honestly? At one point, I used to not care at all. But now, after doing more research and watching documentaries like "A Plastic Ocean"on Netflix, I am heartbroken and ashamed. 

So I have officially started my plastic-free journey with a strong disclaimer: I don't claim to have the whole plastic-free thing totally figured out yet. I am simply committed to figuring out my personal approach and sharing that here in a way that's as personal and educational as possible. The last thing I want to do is come off as self-righteous or preachy... I have no right to be. And I'll share this all with the sincere hope that others will share their journeys with me in return or be inspired to try to reduce their own use of plastic. 

But, back to my bathroom. 

Giving up single-use plastic toiletries was a start, but it was only one step I took over the past month to make my bathroom a little more green and a little more zen in the process. And I did it all in four easy steps. 

Savory Thanksgiving Turkey


Ready for the oven!!!

After three years of cooking Thanksgiving turkey in a row, I think I've finally got my recipes down.

Which is a really good thing, considering this year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 17 people and 5 dogs and hosted them all in our 500 square foot beach bungalow. #yikes

But after sharing my methods while talking a few first-timers through their turkey prep this year, I realized that I should probably take the time to write it all down. So I decided to put together a little guide to my no-fuss Savory Thanksgiving Turkey: from the kitchen essentials to the shopping list to the day-of timeline right down to the recipes for the roasting pan, herb butter, and gravy... I compiled it all here for future reference.

If you're into a relatively uncomplicated bird and have a local Trader Joe's nearby, this guide may be all you need for a delicious, stress-free Thanksgiving turkey!