Category Archives: Personal

My Recipe for Self-Love

What you’ll need:

  1. SOLITUDE – Spending quality time alone is one of the number one ways we get to know ourselves. And you gotta know yourself before you can even think about loving yourself. When you’re away from the “busy” of everyday life and the external influences that shape you, you can express yourself however you like. So get creative!
  2. AFFIRMATION – When we repeat positive, encouraging messages to ourselves it can change the way that we feel. Toxic thoughts are bound to crop up — no matter who you are! So why not actively try to negate some of that negativity?
  3. INTENTION SETTING – If we never set a target, who is to blame when we miss the mark? Write down your intention for tomorrow, speak your intentions out loud, share your goals with loved ones. Clarifying what we want to achieve not only sets us up for success, but honors our path as something that is important and achievable.

 

And how it all comes together:

-Schedule some time for SOLITUDE. Spend this time getting to know yourself by brainstorming what you love about yourself in the present and what you’d like to improve on or accomplish in the future. You may want to write in a journal or meditate during this process.

-Begin a regular AFFIRMATION practice. Need help getting in the swing of things? Try a daily mirror affirmation for the next 7 days or check out my 30 day mantra challenge. Remember those things you love about yourself in the present? Start telling yourself.

-Now set yourself up for future successes, and new areas to affirm, by SETTING INTENTIONS. Start writing out a daily intention for the following day before you go to sleep at night. Not only will you sleep better, but you’ll start prioritizing based on your own needs and dreams. Self-love (with a dash of productivity) at it’s finest!

Want to go even bigger? Identify 3 intentions for the year to come. Write them out and post somewhere you’ll see every day. A constant reminder that your goals matter and are possible.

Do you utilize SOLITUDE, AFFIRMATIONS, or INTENTIONS to facilitate self-love? What does YOUR self-love recipe look like? Share the ingredients below! 

P.S. Interested in learning more about the power of positive affirmations? Check out my 4-part series on MANTRAS! 

 

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The Foodie Instagram Accounts You Should Totally Follow

Way back in 2014, I wrote this post about why I love Instagram so much. Instagram is like a happy union between glossy magazine, family photo album, and public diary so it’s no wonder I still love scrolling through the app to this day!

With that in mind, I thought I’d do a little series shouting out some of the accounts I love to follow. Starting with a very controversial subject matter — FOOD. Secretly (well, not such a secret NOW), I LOVE the fact that there are folks out there who take pics of their meals. While I recognize the critique of the millennial snappin’ pics of her plate while her food gets cold is a valid one, the entertainment factor on my end is certainly enjoyable. (And if it brings the ‘grammer joy too then I say, “DO. YOU.”)

You Should Totally Follow —

amy__currie … for her Trader Joe’s hauls and serious commitment to Pizza Fridays.

beckyinbold … for the super simple Whole 30 meal ideas and hiker snacks.

chefdphillips … because she’s a Kentucky girl and she wrote an awesome cookbook.

honeysucklebeez … for the beautiful food styling and meal prep ideas for busy bees!

pinchofmar … for fresh fruit and veggie inspo and her realistic healthy meals.

100daysofrealfood … because real food is the BEST food and you gotta love a lunchbox snap!

Over to you! Leave your fave foodie follows in the comments below. Oh, and drop your IG handle as well. Mine is @BBerg1012 and I’d love to connect (even though my foodie IG game could use some work, lol). 

The one small thing I do every day to put myself in a good mood…

Years ago, I found myself in a bit of a rut. No matter how hard I tried life wasn’t turning out the way I had hoped and the pressure to turn things around started to feel like a black cloud rather than a rainbow of possibility.

Then one day, something changed.

I decided I would spend my drive to work (at a job I never expected to have) looking for things that would make me smile. A sweet old labrador lumbering down the sidewalk. A pair of siblings running to their bus stop. Weird license plates. Light hitting a puddle just so.

In the span of my 15 minute commute I went from grumpy to great! I continued to practice this exercise every day and was dumb-founded at the difference it made. Suddenly I was “finding delight” in the present moment instead of worrying about the future or what my life should look like.

Now, I still make time to seek out things I delight in every day. Whether this means looking out for things that make me smile when I’m stuck in Miami traffic (I clocked that burger graffiti pictured above while waiting at an intersection) or reading an article just for fun or asking myself “What will bring me joy today?” and then doing THAT. Just taking a few minutes to shift my perspective to the present moment works wonders. It’s the easiest, and simplest, way I know to turn my mood around!

So, I’d love to know — What made you smile today? If you’re still struggling for an answer, take a look around RIGHT NOW and look for something to delight in. What do you see? Thanks for sharing! 

Travel Journal: Los Angeles

Hi friends! As promised, today I’m going to fill you in on my recent trip to Los Angeles. In celebration of his birthday, my dear friend Adam asked if I would like to spend a few days in L.A. culminating in a Venice Beach birthday party. Of course I jumped at the chance! It was a wonderful excuse to spend time with him (we haven’t lived in the same city since college!) and see some of our other friends who call the West Coast home.

Lately, I’ve been really into reading diary-style blog posts (“I did this…and then we did this…”) so I decided to try that out for this post. I actually typed this up straight from my personal travel journal! Let me know if you like this method. Here we go —

Wednesday – 

After a morning of work, I Ubered to MIA with plenty of time for a leisurely, non-rushed experience. I bought White Fur by Jardine Libaire at the airport Books & Books, grabbed a turkey bagel from Einstein’s, and ate while listening to Britney’s Gram: The Podcast. I nabbed some snacks for the flight. The flight to L.A. was 6 hours. On the plane, I read a few chapters from my new book and then watched The Glass Castle and Girls Trip. Long flights by yourself are kind of a treat (as long as you don’t have a man-spreader next to you), aren’t they? I landed at 8:30pm pt and met up with Adam, whose plane had also just arrived–no easy feat as LAX is huge. Colby picked us up and we stayed up (too) late talking. I had a couple glasses of red wine because California.

Thursday –

Not a great night of sleep (damn you time changes!) but I woke up ready to tackle the day, after some coffee of course. Adam and I went to M Cafe (a vegan spot in the neighborhood) and split a breakfast burrito and avocado toast before walking around West Hollywood for a bit. We planned out the rest of our day and decided to walk to The Original Farmer’s Market.

It’s a long walk but mostly through cute neighborhoods. We saw lots of bungalows (totally my vibe!) and kids dressed up for Purim. Once at the market, we walked around the stalls. The sticker stall was a clear favorite for me and I couldn’t resist buying a few sheets. (I mean who can resist ALPACA stickers?!) We also lingered in the stalls selling incense and essential oils. Free smells! There were a ton of food options but I settled on Loteria Grill and ordered huevos rancheros with warm corn tortillas. Then we stumbled into a fruit stall that smelled even more amazing than all those hippy-oils and bought some mangoes. There was a Zara nearby so we popped in for a quick browse. I ended up buying a marigold cardigan and justified the purchase because L.A. was much colder than I had planned and I needed an extra layer.

We then took an Uber to Colby’s apartment; our driver played old school hip-hop the whole way and it seemed like the perfect soundtrack to the passing scenery. Since we’d been walking all morning, we relaxed for about an hour at Colby’s before heading out to Runyon Canyon. We hiked a large loop which took us along a ridge with beautiful views of Downtown L.A. on one side and the Hollywood sign on the other.

We stopped at various benches to take in the landscape and take pictures, and chatted the whole way. I took a water from the “honor system” cooler on the way out, paying a dollar via Venmo. (Technology!)

The red carpet is under a layer of plastic wrap!

From there, we made our way down to Hollywood Blvd, by way of Muji (my obsession), and saw the star clad side walk. Then we walked the red carpet (!) which was already set up for Sunday’s Oscars – just with a bit of plastic on top. It was fun to get a behind-the-scenes look. We also found another view of the Hollywood sign, saw more stars, and the apartment building from Pretty Woman.

The apartment building from the movie Pretty Woman.

After another chill sesh at Colby’s, we decided to call it a night after a quick pop-in dinner at Village Idiot.

Friday –

I woke up quite early and read White Fur for a bit. Adam and I decided we both needed to do a little work to wrap up the week so we headed to Coffee for Sasquatch. This was the rainiest day (rain in LA?!) of the trip and the coffee shop was a cozy place to spend the morning.

After a little work we took an Uber to downtown L.A. to spend a few hours at The Last Bookstore. Adam’s birthday was the following day and he has a tradition of treating himself to a stack of books each year. I abstained from purchasing my own stack as it wasn’t my birthday but, honestly it had more to do with my one bag travel situation.

Books flying off the shelf, trying to come home with me!

Still raining, we darted a few blocks to Bäco Mercat. Our meal here was definitely a highlight of the whole trip. Highly recommend! We split caramelized cauliflower to start and I had The Fava Fritter. So good! Adam grabbed a post-meal espresso at Tilt

and we took a hilarious Uber pool back to West Hollywood. (Hilarious because Adam and I know each other well enough that we can speak without needing to speak…and our car companions needed to be spoken about. Let’s just say I spent a portion of the ride staring out the window with tears coming down my face because I was trying so hard not to laugh!)

From there, we drove to Dan’s house in a borrowed mini cooper. The first half of the drive was stunning as we navigated through the Hollywood Hills in the rainy weather with jazz playing on the radio. Dan and his wife Samantha gave us a tour of their house and we spent some time visiting. Then we headed to a couple grocery stores to buy supplies for Adam’s party. Back at the house, we met Dan’s 2.5 year old daughter, Olivia.

Finally, we met up with Maggie at Los Feliz Theater (Recommend! Only $9.50 for a ticket and super charming!) and saw Red Sparrow. I snuck in a burrito bowl from Tacos Tu Madre which is right next door. Sorry, not sorry.

Saturday – 

Birthday party day! Adam and I returned to M Cafe – I had oatmeal with berries and a juice (with lots of turmeric!). We ran up the street to a Trader Joe’s to get last minute supplies – water, snacks, beer – for the party. We drove to Venice Beach and dropped stuff off at Dylan’s apartment, the party locale. His place has an adjoining beachy courtyard strung with fairy lights, complete with picnic table and fire-pit. The three of us walked the boardwalk and got cold brew at a cute place nearby with outside seating (I don’t recall the name).

Party guests started to arrive, including Dan who was making all the yummy food, and Stephanie, who I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years. I also got to meet Colby’s boyfriend who had been at work when we hung out on Thursday. We dined on bean-burger sliders with coleslaw and homemade bbq sauce, tempeh kebabs, and chips with hummus and homemade salsa. Vegan BBQ-theme on point!! I also bought Adam a 9″ fruit tart from Whole Foods as his “cake” and, although we skipped the candles, we sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. We made a fire in the fire-pit, talked, and listened to music.

Sunday – 

I woke up at 4:30am and was out the door by 5:15. Made it to LAX without a hitch. Thank goodness for the early morning departure time. Paramedics were randomly resuscitating a woman on one of those metal tables in security and my pre-coffee consumption self was highly confused. She seemed to be ok by the time I made it through. I got a bagel (which I saved to eat on the plane) and coffee (which I immediately downed). On the plane I watched The Battle of the Sexes and hardcore creeped my seat mate’s business because I was convinced he was an air marshal – still no conclusive evidence on that one. I made it back to Miami just after 3pm est. Such a wonderful trip. So glad I got to spend time with Adam for his birthday!

The end.

Have you ever been to Los Angeles? What was your favorite part? Do you keep a travel journal with details from your trips? I love having a place to jot down the places I visit and the restaurants I want to remember. Hope you enjoyed this peek into mine! 

P.S. Some of these photos were captured by Adam. Thanks boo!

My Favorite Super Bowl Moment

Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? I spent the evening with a few folks, and honestly, by the time the game started we were still busy discussing all things Kylie Jenner. We even asked that the game be turned down so we could watch her birth announcement video a second time.

But then this happened…

Please someone tell me what red is in Gisele Bundchen’s wine glass! I’d totally buy a bottle…(even though her hubby’s team didn’t win.) She is all of us. Haha!

What was your favorite Super Bowl moment? 

A Decluttering Thought Exercise

I’ve been in a real decluttering mood as of late. I did a clothes clear out, went through a few drawers full of odds and ends, did a once over on my book collection, and even edited the kitchen by quite a lot (cooking gadgets and utensils are my ultimate hoarding weakness!). Perhaps it’s the promise of a new calendar year that has me wanting to clear out the old.

Whatever the reason, it’s certainly been a successful few weeks in the minimizing-my-home department.

So, I thought I’d share with you the little thought exercise I use when I’m feeling apprehensive about letting go of *stuff*. Maybe it will help you let go of the material goods or possessions in your own home that cause you to feel bogged down. Here’s what I do…

First, I think of my happiest memories. Then, I try and identify what made them so great. Was it the people I was with? The place? A certain time of year or a feeling of security? Most importantly, was it the STUFF? Usually, as I compose bullet points in my head about these wonderful moments in my life, the “things” involved in the memories – the clothes and the knick-knacks and the books and the KITCHEN GADGETS (lol!) – sink to the bottom. After all, they’re heavy and take up space. Conversely, the feelings are weightless.

And many times I find memories created through the absence of possessions pop up, too. Like when I lived abroad as a child and the absence of tons of toys meant my sister and I went outside to play more. Or when Chet and I first moved to Miami and the absence of lots of furniture meant we didn’t just sit but explored.

Think about your very favorite vacation.
Do you remember everything you packed?

Now I’m not saying I could be one of those people who pares down so fully that they can live with 100 or less possessions. I love watching the YouTube videos those people make but I’m not naive enough to think I can disassociate all feelings from certain possessions. I’ll always have too many books and a drawer of kitchen utensils that can barely close. But once a year, maybe twice, I can edit. And my happy memories thought exercise is how I do it.

Are you successful when it comes to decluttering or do you find it difficult to part with possessions? How do you manage to minimize your home? Let’s chat about it in the comments below! 

Running Through My Mind

Here’s what’s running through my mind this Monday —

Yoga with Adriene. I love her “find what feels good” approach to yoga and her 30 day series TRUE, if nothing else, reminds me of the power of deep breaths. (But like, obvi, SO MUCH else.) The whole series (today is day 21 of 30) is on YouTube — I’ve been unrolling my mat every day and I don’t want it to end. I’m basically the living embodiment of those trendy sweatshirts that say things like “I just want to practice yoga & read books.” 

Speaking of reading books, I’m reading The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II. It is thought-provoking, expansive, and meticulously researched. Also – a great follow-up read to Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Have you ever bought clothes off of Amazon? I’ve had great success with shoe purchasing but not so great with accessories (jewelry, bags, etc.). However, after a recent closet clear out, I identified a few wardrobe holes I’d like to fill and figured why not give it a try! Happy to report everything fit just fine (reviews are your best friend for this!) and there were no unwanted surprises like poor quality or weird material. I’m especially in love with this raincoat, which is really great quality for the price tag, and this white shirt with fun bell sleeves!

A reminder to rise and SHINE:

Finally, Everything You Never Thought to Ask About Astronaut Food. Because once you read about burping in microgravity you’ll never quite look at space travel the same way again.

P.S. More on yoga. More on books. More on clothes. More inspiration. And more articles. In case any of these things are running through YOUR mind, too!!

10 Easy Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

Chet and I got hitched a year and a half ago, and I loved every moment. (You can read all our wedding posts HERE.) It’s a relief when wedding planning is over, but it’s fun to think about what nuggets of knowledge I might pass on to couples in the throes of it. Those Spring and Summer weddings will be here before we know it! I think the thing I loved most about our wedding is how personal it felt. And that’s what I would encourage you to consider if you’re working on yours — find as many ways as you can to infuse the day with what and who you love, your personality, and the way you would truly do things. After all, it’s no one’s day but you and your partner’s! Here are ten easy ways to do so…

Create a wedding website

To curtail the number of questions you’ll no doubt get asked by guests, consider setting up a wedding website. This is the first element, besides your invitations (if you have ’em!), where you can really highlight your personality as a couple. There are tons of platforms that allow you to create a completely free website. Here’s a look at ours.  We included information about our venue, times, and listed a few housing options for the weekend. But we also included some information about ourselves and our relationship. One friend of my family remarked that watching our ceremony felt that much more personal because she had gotten to know Chet and our story a bit better before the big day.

Get creative with ceremony setting

If you’re not married (hee!) to having the ceremony in a religious setting, get creative. Consider lots of options, not just the ones that have hosted weddings on their property before. It never hurts to ask! Consider getting hitched in your backyard, at a museum, a library, or your favorite park where you got engaged. Plenty of spaces hold special meaning besides churches.

Gather your favorite folk

They say you’re the average of the people you spend the most time with and it’s kinda fun to make your guest list a reflection of that. A healthy mix of family, friends, and mentors who have seen you grow up, fall in love, and shape you into the couple standing before them. Sure there are some folks you’ll have to invite but don’t let them overwhelm the list. Gather your favorites as a reflection of YOU.

Make moments to play

I was beyond grateful to have someone in our corner who passed along this nugget of knowledge to us. And doubly grateful that this person was not just a dear friend but also our wedding photographer! She whisked us away for a couples shoot before the ceremony that felt more like an adventure than a check mark on the day’s to-do list.

Buck tradition (if it’s not your thing)

Keep the traditions you like and buck the ones you don’t. Nothing personalizes your wedding like setting your OWN traditions. And hey, they might stick! We totally loved that my brother and sister-in-law walked down the aisle together and decided to do it too.

Have a friend officiate

What could be more special and memorable than having a beloved fried officiate your wedding? Their words will ring so much more true than someone’s you hardly know. And more importantly, they can offer more than stock advice because they’re more familiar with your story and their words can paint a more accurate picture of you to your guests. Just have them hop online and get ordained!

Choose meaningful readings

This was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning but I’ve had friends tell me it was their LEAST! It can be a bit daunting to find the right words…especially written by someone else. Consider a broad scope of favorites (poetry, essays, excerpts from novels, etc.) and then read new material specifically for the occasion. You might find one perfect reading that does the job or you might want to include a bevvy! Then enlist some of those favorite folk to perform with gusto!

Write your own vows

The easiest way to really put your own stamp on your wedding is to write your vows…or even your whole ceremony! Create the structure you want and write it in your own words. If it feels daunting, remember formality doesn’t have to be the name of the game. Your vows can be written in the form of a letter or a simple conversation.

Serve your favorite food

If you’re known for loving a certain kind of food or your partner is famous for always baking certain type of treat, why not include it? I’m a firm believer that food can be an important part of one’s story. And often times the food we actually like is far cheaper than what’s offered on a catering menu. (Says the girl whose husband lovingly made 2 giant pots of gumbo the morning of their wedding while she just worked on getting pretty, haha!) Have a cookout style feast with burgers and hot dogs if that’s your jam. Serve slices of pie instead of cake. Mix up your signature cocktails. You followed your heart, now reward your belly.

Show off your last name

Finally, a super cute idea if you’re stumped for favors is to find a way to show off your new, married last name. We gave out Chet’s family’s signature seasoning – Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown. Google to see if you can find any products that share your last name or get crafty with a DIY or customize some meaningful trinket. Your guests will hold your new name in their heart when they look back at the item (or use it!).

Are you planning a wedding? (Congratulations!) What ways are you planning to personalize the experience? Already married folk – What advice would you give someone just setting off on their wedding planning journey? 

P.S. All photos above were lovingly captured by my wonderful friend and wedding photographer – Carrie Guggenmos of Sur La Lune Photography. She’s the best in the biz!

How I’m Kickstarting 2018…and my RESOLUTION

Hey guys! Happy New Year! Here are 6 things I want to do in January to help me kickstart a healthy and happy 2018 (and hopefully lay the foundation for new habits I can carry out all year long!!)…

  1. Drink more water – This is pretty much my life’s mission at all times of the year and while I’m not bad at hydration there’s always room for improvement! I’ve been trying to up my game with lots of freshly squeezed lemons and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Cut out sugar – Our Whole 30 really taught me how much better I feel when I cut sugar out of my life. I tried to stay away from the stuff as much as possible after the 30 days but then the holiday season hit and all bets were off. Back to natural sweeteners only in January!
  3. Yoga – While I’ve been pretty happy with my workouts lately, I really want to reconnect with yoga in a deeper way for a bit of a mind, body, soul REBOOT. Lucky for me 2 of my YouTube yoga faves (Yoga with Adriene and Bad Yogi) are kicking off 2018 with yoga challenges. I’m planning to practice yoga daily for the month of January (and maybe longer depending on how I’m feeling) and then transition back to my regular workout regimen. (If you want a post on what that looks like let me know!)
  4. Stock up on produce – I’m always a fan of shopping the periphery of the grocery store as opposed to the aisles, I want to pay special attention to the produce section to kick off my 2018. This means I’ll be focusing on adding more fruits and veggies to my meals but also experimenting with new produce and trying to find fun ways to up my intake.
  5. Streamline sleep schedule – I’ve gotta be honest, my sleep schedule is all over the place. I’m forever going to bed and getting up at different times and not giving my body a chance to acclimate to a single schedule. And with an insane work schedule over the last month or so, it was pretty much impossible to do anything about it. Now that things have settled a bit, I’m ready to find a sleep schedule that will work for me for the long haul.
  6. Daily chores – And finally, I love finding ways to eliminate decision fatigue. So in January I’d like to find ways to make household chores a little more rote and taking up a little less brain space. This month is the experimentation phase but hopefully it will pay off with an implementation phase!

While I have other (how shall we say? loftier?) resolutions for 2018, this year I want to try and focus on what I can do NOW. These healthy lifestyle changes are where I’m starting in January. And I have a similar, bite-size approach for my other goals…relationship goals, professional goals, even goals for this lil ol’ blog!

I’ve always been more of an ideas person than an action person and I guess if I’m being real with myself that’s my biggest resolution for 2018. To change that. To take more steps forward on one idea before I’m on to the next. Wish me luck!

What about you? How are you kickstarting 2018? How do you approach New Year’s Resolutions? I’m so excited for all the possibilities this year holds. Wishing you all a wonderful start to 2018!!! xoxo

Found: My Perfect Planner

I’ve finally found a planner that I’m totally obsessed with and can foresee using for months (maybe years!) to come. It’s the Bob’s Your Uncle 8 Days-A-Week Planner Journal.  Here’s what I love about it:

  • Features 52 week at-a-glance spreads.
  • Each week runs Monday-Sunday and includes a “Someday” column for other tasks you want to complete during the week that aren’t specific to a certain day.
  • Includes 30 minute interval time slots so you can map out your day super precisely.
  • Spiral-bounding allows it to lie flat and stay tucked in a drawer with the current day facing up.

This may sound a bit neurotic, but when I was contemplating the reasons why past planners just hadn’t cut it, it was the inability to create a detailed timeline for my day.

You see, my work schedule can be a bit of a puzzle. I do freelance work for a number of different clients, I work on this blog, and I side-hustle at a local wine store. The great thing about this set up is that I can create my own schedule by piecing together the three. The not so great thing? Doing so can be a little difficult to conceptualize. A traditional planner with a big empty box for each day almost felt over-whelming. Jotting down “work at 3pm” or “phone call w/ client at 10am” didn’t do my brain any favors when visualizing how I should schedule the rest of my To-do’s.

Then I had a *lightbulb* moment. What if I could find a planner that was more appointment book than daily calendar? I stumbled upon this 8 day-a-week version while searching on Amazon and the rest is history. It’s honestly one of the best things to happen to my productivity levels in YEARS.

 

Above you’ll see a little peek at my planner in action! Nothing too fancy. I throw in a few stickers here and there when I feel like it (like the devil emoji for a 7am meeting, LOL!) and use a few colors of highlighters to indicate different things. Sometimes I’ll mark off a certain time-frame for client work and then bullet point more specific to-do’s off to the side. And that’s about it. I love it!

What type of planner do YOU use? Tell me below!