Living Well

Don’t Forget Yourself

November is well underway at this point. Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is just around the corner with other winter holidays following close behind. It’s a busy time of year, which for many of us will only get busier. While you’re running around gifting and giving this holiday season, don’t forget yourself.

I say this because I’ve noticed that in my own life, the self-care rituals I really enjoy are the first things that drop off when my schedule picks up. We all have responsibilities and must be flexible at times; it’s part of adulting. But we usually sacrifice those little things that bring us joy when we need them the most. Head’s up-I have one way to ensure you get yourself a little TLC before the holidays, (and at 15% off too) but you’ll have to read on for that.

When the tasks pile up, I feel like I don’t have time to take care of myself. How can I possibly go to yoga when I have so much to do? I can’t spend an hour cooking when I’m already behind on this project…Sounds familiar, yah? I think many of us have felt this conundrum. FELT being the key word. 

If only I had more…Subconsciously I believe if I can require less energy/time/food/sleep/whatever I can have more energy to channel elsewhere. While it would be cool, this logic doesn’t say much for common sense. The truth is that we have to take care of our needs if we’re going to be of any use to the world. And speaking of the world, it will continue to turn regardless, so you may as well make yourself a priority.

Simply put, we cannot get something from nothing. I think it was a third grade science lesson that I first learned that matter can neither be created or destroyed. It can be transformed though and embody different states. I like to think about human energy in the same way. Our energy can ebb and flow but it is present at all times.

Self-care is one way we can transform our energy. Spending time generating good feelings can help us feel rejuvenated and refreshed. A few months ago I had an opportunity to recharge my energy at a local yoga retreat hosted by my dear friends Lauren and Cici. It was the perfect way to reconnect with myself and my yoga practice in a playful and friendly atmosphere. Here’s a little recap of my Day Pass experience.

The retreat was located nearby at The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain in Chapel Hill which is about 40 minutes outside of Raleigh. I couldn’t go for the whole weekend, but I was able to purchase a Day Pass to attend the Saturday sessions. This was perfect because it allowed me to enjoy a TON of great activities like multiple yoga classes, workshops AND yummy snacks, at a great price.

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

I arrived at the farm and was greeted by the sweetest little goats just in time to gather with the group for a quick cup of tea. We said hellos and headed upstairs for an energetic morning vinyasa lead by Lauren. About 75 ass-kicking minutes later, I was roused from Savasana by the scent of roasted sweet potatoes. Magically, there was a delicious brunch spread waiting for us after class. It thoughtfully included every possible dietary option with labels to help clarify… very nice touch!

After brunch, we had a couple of hours to explore the farm before we resumed our afternoon activities. I took a walk down to the adorable Honeysuckle Tea House to get a cuppa and chat with some of the other retreat goers. To my surprise, everyone had the same story. We chose to attend the retreat because it was perfect for a last-minute Treat YoSelf activity. 

We reconvened in the afternoon for a workshop focused on demystifying the “bandhas” which of course, lead to an upside-down yogi recess. Even with many different levels of experience, Cici was able to get everyone playing with the concept of arm balancing. SO FUN!

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After this empowering but exhausting hour, Emilee from Healer’s Hemp Co gave us a crash course in all things Cannabis. She offered some insight on dosing and what to look for as you shop. Raleigh Raw came through with a create-your-own poke bar which was a huge highlight for me. I just LOVE Raleigh Raw and I got extra cashew sauce this time. 

Our evening yoga class was inspired by Yin and Thai massage and was a perfect way to conclude such a physical day. We partnered up for some assisted stretches, which contrary to my expectation, was not weird at all. (By that point in the day, we were all very close friends, ha!) The class was gentle and relaxing and it left me feeling restored but still alert…I had to drive home after all. 

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After a fireside s’more, I hugged everybody–literally everybody at the retreat, goodbye and headed home. I was so blissed out, I don’t even think I turned on the radio.

So, with the Day Pass I got way more than I paid for…multiple yoga classes, knowledge, delicious foods, fellowship with awesome yogis AND I was home before 11pm! It was amazing and I highly encourage you to join Lauren and Cici for a day at their upcoming Winter Immersion Nov 21-24. For 15% off, use the code DAYPASS15 when you check out. Visit the retreat website to sign up; the discount is valid until Saturday 11/16.

As the holidays draw near and you’re giving everything to everyone, don’t forget yourself. You deserve TLC as much as the next guy or gal on your list. When things get crazy double down on the joy mongering. Make time for fun so you can smile your way through these wild times. 

Whether you commit to your weekly fitness class, family dinners or spending a day (or maybe the whole weekend) at an amazing local retreat, DO NOT forget yourself this holiday season.

in love and light,


Living Well

thank you for speaking up

As a woman who was born and raised in Virginia, my head has been spinning from all that’s been going on. Normally, happenings with our state leaders don’t make national or international news, but we’re not so lucky right now. On the first day of Black History Month, we found out that our governor may have been depicted in black face or in a Ku Klux Klan hood in his medical school yearbook. Shortly thereafter, we found out that our lieutenant governor has been accused of sexual assault. Then to round it all out, our attorney general admitted to dressing as rapper in black face with friends in college. I think it goes without saying, but this has been shocking, and invites questions about who should be in leadership of our state. I’m not here to say what I think should happen with our leaders, BUT I do want to take a moment to say thank you to my friends who have been speaking up against racism after these disappointing and embarrassing revelations.

Despite many speaking out against racism, I’ve heard people say that they are shocked by the recent events.

Personally, I was initially stunned that this was occuring in the 1980s, but then again I wasn’t that surprised. I was a child in the 80s who was teased regularly for the color of my skin, the shape of my eyes, and the perceived differences.  I remember having many conversations with Erica about her experiences for being teased for the color of her skin. Our shared bond of being the mixed kids at school was something my mother at least understood. As much as there has been progress, racial insensitivity is still a thing. Being left out of the conversations of people of color is not uncommon for us folks of mixed heritage too.

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As we discern how to move forward, may I ask a favor?

Please don’t forget about the other people of color in your midst, in particular, those who are mixed race. We aren’t enough of one thing or the other to truly belong, so we get left out. Whether our ethnicity is Asian, Native American, African, Indian, whatever, different parts of society do not want to claim us. Some say they “don’t see us as different”, which is a nice thing to hear, I guess. But it is still the exception and not the rule. Both Erica and I have had plenty of people point out our differences over the years. It seems despite it all, we are still different enough. Enough to stand out. To be recognized as the other. We don’t quite belong, which leaves us continually sitting on the sidelines struggling with racism, latent and blatant.

We want to be part of the conversations that move us forward to a better future.

It is thanks to progress that our parents decided to cross the racial divide. We have the benefit of learning from both sides of our cultural and ethnic background, and know that understanding someone who is not quite like you can be a great thing. We know firsthand that teaching our children to be authentic and aware of those who are different is a great thing. After being aware, we begin learning about others that aren’t quite like us and appreciating what makes them unique.

We need you to help us.

Those of us with a different colored skin are in a difficult position. If I speak up about racism and racial inclusivity, I am perceived as a victim or I’m an angry person of color. BUT if other white people speak up, other white people listen. I beg of you not to write me off AND to not write off the prophets of your time. Together we can make this world a better place that is rich in culture, wisdom, and understanding.

Love your Japanese/Native American/Irish/Norwegian American mixed friend,

Living Well

one down, 11 to go!

We are now into the second month of this year. If you’re anything like me, you are shocked at how rapidly January came and went. You may be equally shocked to find that it did not turn out how you expected or planned. Outside of paying bills and other basic human functions, I did not check a single box of my “stuff to do” list. I did not create my ideal routine or lose 10 pounds or start eating clean. I made very little, if any, progress. It’s too late for resolutions, but it’s too early to wait until next year. How do we get ourselves pumped up for the year when we’re only one month down, with eleven to go?

We all have a story in our heads and it can get a little dark when things get topsy turvy. Learning to spin that story into motivation for change is like giving yourself a mental high-five. Read on for some ideas on how to soften the blow of disappointment and affirmations to pick ourselves back up when life knocks us down.

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We start with forgiveness.

We can all cut ourselves some slack, and right now, I know I desperately need it. As tempting as it is to beat myself up for what I didn’t get right, it only serves to make me feel worse. We have a long way to go in this still mostly new year. Let’s try to forgive the mistakes we have made or the things we forgot to prioritize and look to the future.

The story in my head is that this year is off to a bad start and will only get worse.

Positive Affirmation –  I will forgive myself for over programming my time this month and work to define more free time in the future.

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We can reframe.

Reframing or adjusting expectations has been a hot topic in my life lately, both professionally and personally. One of the principles of agile project management is to break up your large objectives into smaller, more digestible, action items. This serves to shift our focus to what we can control right now and away from distractions. Why worry about something that hasn’t happened yet? (This is easier said than done, believe me!) To clarify, reframing or adjusting or reassessing or whatever you want to call it is not giving up. It’s a tool to seek opportunities for improvement. Every failure or f*ckup is a chance to learn. When we apply our lessons learned, we get smarter and work better.

The story in my head is that I’m failing to manage my time effectively.

Affirmation – I may not have met my goal for being at work before 8 am every day, but I notice it takes me a long time to get ready to leave the house in the morning. I should focus on creating a morning routine!

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We can give it another try.

The good news is that we have plenty of 2019 left to restrategize and live our best lives. So what if January was a bit of a doozy. We have eleven more months to keep plugging away and making little changes. The time is going to pass regardless of our attitude, so we may as well try and keep it positive, eh? If we can forgive ourselves, and reframe our expectations, we can find room for self-improvement.

The story in my head is that I should give up on making this year great.

Affirmation – I have learned so much already in this new year about how I manage time. I can focus on small improvements that will add up to make my life easier to manage.

The truth is that failure exposes opportunities.

Failure is not a dirty word. It is defined as “a lack of success”. It is not an abysmal humiliation performed by a dummy. It is not the end of the world. We tried, but it didn’t work. When something doesn’t go as planned, it is very tempting to look at the outcome as bad or a waste of time. But it isn’t those things. It is simply a lack of success, which if you think about it, is a pretty neutral statement. If we fail at something, we can rule out at least one approach that doesn’t get us where we want to be. With a little reflection, we may be able to learn why our effort was a flop and try something new.

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The year is still pretty fresh, you guys. If you feel a little behind or a little lost or a little stuck, you are not alone. I feel all those things and I want you to know that it will be okay. We have the power to pause and forgive ourselves for mistakes. We owe it to ourselves to press rewind and reflect on the outcome of our efforts – for better or worse. And lastly, every day we wake up is a chance to try again. To apply those lessons learned and just keep moving forward.

Loving oneself means being your own cheerleader in good times and bad. Do yourself a solid and spin your story into motivation. We’ve got a lot of 2019 left…remember to cut yourself some slack when the ship hits the sand. Look for ways to wise up and fail forward and this just might be your best year ever.

In love, light, and laughter at ourselves,


Living Well

I will NOT sit by and do nothing to help

Today,  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary  Committee regarding her attack by Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett  Kavanaugh.  She told them that when she was 15 years of  age Brett Kavanaugh attacked her, while Mark Judge sat by and did  nothing to help.

Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.

  • 9 out of 10 victims  of rape are female.

  • 1 in 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.

  • 63,000  children are the victims of sexual abuse each year, and a majority of  child victims are between the ages of 12 and 17 years of age.

    (statistics pulled from RAINN)

Twenty-one senators listened to her testimony today. A testimony that she was  terrified to give today. Several senators were  sympathetic to what she  has endured and acknowledged her bravery. On  the other hand, we have other senators that merely stated they believe  that she believes her testimony.

This is not enough.

If  you have thoughts on the confirmation of our next Supreme Court Justice  of the United States, I encourage you to take the time to do something.  Call and write a letter to your senators. In addition  to calling and writing a letter to your senators, I would encourage you  to contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  These  senators are currently deciding on the president’s nomination. This  committee is tasked with whether or not they recommend  the entire senate vote on confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh as an  associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United State. This appointment is for life.

 Find your representative here.

Here are the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee

There  are 100 senators on the United States Senate and it will take 51 voting  yes to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. There are  currently 54 Republican Senators on the United States  Senate that could vote yes. There are 21 members on the Senate  Judiciary Committee, and 11 of these member are Republican Senators.  Their vote could and will make a difference. Your contact will  matter! Do not sit by and do nothing. Each person is hyperlinked  to their contact page. If it helps I’ve included a sample letter  below – all you have to do is copy and paste the text, address it to the  appropriate senator, sign your name, and send.


Elected Official,

As a  citizen of the United States, I want to urge you to block the Supreme  Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Most importantly, we should  never support a candidate who has a questionable  background when the future of our judicial system is on line.  Preventing people with questionable character from gaining positions of  power and influence is the single most important issue facing BOTH  parties right now. Please do your part by blocking the  nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

I  want you to know that I am an independent voter that firmly believes  that the issue of sexual abuse and assault is not about being liberal or  conservative. This is about enforcing the rule of law  in order to protect our citizens, saying this is wrong, and holding  offenders accountable. I want to make sure that you understand that  someone can commit sexual assault without actually having sex. I want  you to understand that women are angry because there  is a history of not listening to women when they bring forth their  claim. Women should not be put on trial to prove their traumatic  experience. Living through the assault or abuse was bad enough, but  recounting their experience repeatedly is unbearable.

Most  of all, please remember that our children are watching how we respond  to this. What would you say to your daughter, granddaughter, niece, son,  grandson, or nephew that said they had been sexually  abused or assaulted? Would you tell them it wasn’t true or that it  doesn’t matter? Should they have to see their abuser rise to power while  they are left reliving their pain? I’m angry and tired of the rhetoric  that says this is a partisan issue. This is an  issue for all Americans regardless of party lines. We need to listen to  these victims, sit with them in their pain, and thank them for their  courage when they speak about a horrific moment in their life. 

Please do what is right and choose someone fitting of this important position.