Let’s Taco’bout Brunch!

Imagine a vast landscape of rolling hills that dip down into a valley laden with rows of grape-bearing vines. This place, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, is where the seed was planted in Chris Blanchard and his brother, Jon, which would eventually grow into a passion for farm to table style Mexican cuisine.

Quaint outdoor seating under twinkle lights 🙂

“In my youth, my brother and I traveled to Ensenada with our church to build homes and we really had a deep affinity for the food and for the culture.” That’s Chris Blanchard talking to my friends and I as we feasted on breakfast tacos and Mama’s Style dishes from Chicas Tacos brunch menu, created by James Beard nominated chef, Eduardo Ruiz.

Chicas Brunch Menu

Chicas Tacos, owned by Chris and Jon Blanchard along with their friend and business partner, Nico Rusconi, is located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The 700 square foot eatery sits proudly among historic landmarks, swanky lofts, and towering skyscrapers. But even with its prime location, dining here makes one feel right at home, especially due to the authenticity of each dish featuring flavors that echo abuela’s home cooking.

My personal favorite was the Mama’s Style pork- a three layered dish that could be best described as a Mexican lasagna, featuring a base layer of homemade corn tortillas, followed by a secret blend of three cheeses, eight-hour brazed pork, (add two more layers of tortilla, cheese, and pork, folks!), topped off with more cheese, two sunny-side-up eggs, chicharon crumbles, and chile verde.

Mama’s Style Pork

You might be wondering how a trip to Mexico fits into the genesis of Chicas Tacos. During that faithful trip, the brothers had a chance encounter that would later be recognized as the beginning of their affinity for food made with fresh, organic ingredients.

“As it turns out there’s a wine region in Baja California called Valle de Guadalupe,” said Chris, as he poured champagne over cucumber mint and watermelon juice to make mimosas for the gals and I. “One day while wine tasting, [Jon and I] met a woman who took us back to her family farm. Her name was Carmela and it was there that we discovered the most amazing food, all grown fresh on their farm.”

Carmela prepared fish tacos for the brothers, with same-day caught fish that her father brought home from his afternoon on the water.

Top left to right: Breakfast Barbacoa Taco, Steak & Egg Taco; Bottom left to right: Veggie Scramble Taco, Chile Verde Taco

“It just blew our minds that there was something of that magnitude of healthy eating and farm fresh food that was missing in and LA. Flash forward [my brother and I] decided to re-group with our buddies Nico Rusconi and Chef Eddie, and put Chicas Tacos on the map in LA.”

With such a rich history leading to the development of Chicas Tacos, it is no wonder why the food, atmosphere, and spirit of the restaurant reverberate good-vibes along with its health-conscious menu.

Oh and by the way- fun fact! The nickname of Carmela growing up was Chica, thus the name, Chicas Tacos.

@chicastacos, 728 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90014


Fashion, Style, and How to BeYOUtiful

(Written for galsthatbrunch.com)

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself” (Coco Chanel). After speaking with Jessica Sweeten, owner and operator of the online fashion boutique, Sweetly Striped, a theme emerged as she described her perspective on style− Just. Be. You.

Jessica Sweeten of Sweetly Striped, Photo by Brandi Schutt, @thoughtsby_brandi

I met and interviewed Jessica in mid September for the fall fashion edition of the Gals That Brunch blog. Jessica, based out of San Diego, California, met with me via FaceTime whilst I worked from my home office in L.A. During our discussion we touched on several topics like family, finding yourself, and of course, fashion. In the following interview, you’ll learn about Jessica’s journey to running her own business, tips for fashion on a budget, trends this coming season, and her take on style as a tool for empowerment. Read on dear ones, and enjoy this dialogue with the lovely, Jessica Sweeten.


JL: Hi Jessica! Thank you for talking with me today.

JS: Thank you so much for interviewing me!

JL: You have an online boutique, Sweetly Striped, where folks can shop all kinds of fabulous items like bags, tops, denim, shoes, and accessories. Tell me about how the site got started and how you got into the fashion world.

JS: Absolutely. We launched the site in January of this year [2017], and it was a long time coming. I went to school for fashion, studied abroad in London, and did a couple internships, so I’ve been in the fashion industry for quite a while. But when I moved to San Diego− because my husband had a great work opportunity− it was really hard for me to get into the industry the way I wanted. So I took some time off, did other sales jobs, and had a little-one; and, it just dawned on me one day. I was like, “You know what? I’m not being true to myself and I want [my daughter] to be true to herself and I need to be a good example of that.” And literally that day I told my husband, I’m opening a boutique! And my husband was like, “Okay. Well all right, we’re doing it, then!” and I hit the ground running. That was October [2016] and we launched in January. It’s been fantastic.

JL: Wow. That’s amazing!

JS: Yeah, it was inspiring to have that time where I lost myself and had to go through finding out what was important to me again and making goals happen. I was able to really see the importance of how I could help other women through fashion and help them find their identity. Dressing everyday women for me is not only fun but also something that I can do to give back. I’m able to meet so many amazing women, work with them and dress them so it’s definitely a rewarding career, to say the least.

JL: That’s fantastic. It sounds like it’s been a long journey and now everything is culminating. It’s great to do what you love.

JS: Yes!

JL: So, before we get into the knitty gritty, I want to know, what is your philosophy on style?

JS: Absolutely. I think it’s a matter of being true to yourself. There are a lot of great trends always coming into play but at the end of the day it’s about knowing who you are and how you want to present yourself. Really know your body type and the colors and fabrications that work for you; and then go into that world of trends to see which ones make you feel good and confident− that’s how you conquer fashion.

JL: Thank you for sharing. So tell me, what’s on trend this coming season?

JS: One word to encompass a lot of what’s going on right now is fabrication. With fall and winter it’s such a fun time to play around with it. Another theme right now is cozy. And you’ll see a lot of very generous size silhouettes and that fluffy, cozy feel− which I love.

Photo by Angela Garzon Photography @angelagarzonphoto,
Model Carly Summers @carlysummersb

JL: So do I!

JS: Yeah! I have a few looks right now that are just so easy and fun to incorporate, that also add comfort. I think all of us can get behind that message. Fur is also a fun one. Maybe it’s just because deep inside I’m this Old Italian lady that loves fur and glam. Bring on the faux fur!

JL: I love it!

JS: Just by having a [fur] vest or a little jacket that you can throw on over a white tee and denim and a pair of booties, creates such a fun contrast! I’m also obsessed with the whole burgundy thing. It’s such a rich, beautiful color and adds an aspect of sophistication. It’s pretty cool that a color can do that much. Also neutral plaids− they’re kind of a fall/winter staple that never goes away. [This season’s plaid] is a little bit more muted with warmer undertones. For example, I have an ivory and plaid top that I pair up with a camel tone skirt.

Photo by Angela Garzon Photography @angelagarzonphoto,
Model Carly Summers @carlysummersb

JL: Awesome! Now, lets talk about fashion on a budget. What can we do in those times when we’re on a tighter budget but still want to look our best?

JS: I think it’s a matter of finding those brands that offer good quality at good price points. For example, denim- it’s such an important thing, because you can dress it up and you can dress it down. Add any top, any sweatshirt. It’s such a core piece. Finding a good denim brand that you really feel comfortable in is kind of like the foundation of a house. Brands that I really like and stand behind are Just Black Denim and Articles of Society. I’ve chosen these denims because they’re all under a hundred dollars. I know some people will disagree but I don’t believe in spending over a hundred dollars for denim, especially because I know where they’re all made. And guess what? They’re all made in the same place!

JL: *chuckles

JS: When you find denim that works for your body type and that you feel comfortable in, you’ve found gold. So you have your pants and then moving into your next level− tops− just basic tops that you can layer with different things. A white top for example, is one of the most understated, most amazing pieces out there. You can throw it on with a moto jacket; if you want to throw a leather bomber on, you’ll have a whole different look than you would if you wore it with a lace kimono. You can go from very edgy to very feminine. A white top is so versatile. So really, look at basic pieces that you can style in different ways. You can get four or five different looks off just a few pieces, which will make your money go far.

Photo by Angela Garzon Photography @angelagarzonphoto

JL: So you’re saying, find what looks good on you, set your price point and style up some basics.


JS: Exactly! I’m such a dork I can talk about this all the time, clearly.

JL: That’s a good thing! Tell us more!

JS: Another thing is often times people get so excited over all the new trends, which is great, but when you’re on a budget, [know that] there are investment pieces and there are trendier pieces that you don’t spend a lot on. I’ve been doing my own fall looks on the website and a major trend right now is the fringe. But maybe having a fringe dress is not realistic for everybody. As a mom, I might wear that one time to a wedding, or one time to go on a date, but I don’t want my two year old pulling fringe off of my jacket or off of my dress and then I look like a hot mess! So maybe put that [trend] into an accessory and know how to utilize it in a way that is more realistic for you. I think that’s a big part too− know that trend items shouldn’t be expensive items.

Photo by Angela Garzon Photography @angelagarzonphoto, Model Randi Cantrell @randiscantrell

JL: So, what would you advise women to wear when they’re meeting new people in a social setting?

JS: I think there are a lot of factors. First of all, where are you going? If you’re in cute little hipster North Park [San Diego], that’s going to be a whole different vibe than going downtown to a rooftop place to get mimosas and brunch. But I think at the end of then day, it’s so simple! What do you wear that makes you feel good? If you’ve got something on that you’re going to be constantly messing with, don’t wear it! The last thing you need is a distraction! So wear those pieces that you feel good in and make you feel like you’re able to be you. Focus on what’s at hand− meeting other people, hearing their stories, telling them yours, and making the most of that time.

JL: I totally agree. I know I’ve been guilty of going out wearing pants that are so tight they make my stomach hurt− and then I end up not having a good time! Enough about me though, let’s talk a little bit about body type. What advise can you share?

Photo by Angela Garzon Photography @angelagarzonphoto, Model Constance Polamalu @constanceanna

JS: I think one of the toughest parts is knowing your body type and dressing for it. Our body type is always changing due to the events that are happening in life. I can’t remember the percentage but it’s crazy how many women don’t even wear the correct bra size… for years! But like we were talking about wearing pants that are too small− be aware and find the things that you feel comfortable in. Obviously, don’t live in a bunch of leggings− you deserve more than that. There’s a difference between being comfortable and being frumpy. I’m definitely a pear shape, so doing things that capture that empire waist by synching the middle, is going to work for me. So, having that awareness of what I need to do to look my best is what I need to focus on.

JL: This is all really great information. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Is there any other overarching advice that you want to share with our readers before we say goodbye?

JS: There are so many things that we go through in life and so many distractions. The most important thing is to focus on what makes you happy. Whether that’s going to a yoga studio, or whatever you’re going to do, incorporate that into your wardrobe. I saw a video the other day and it was about this woman who only wears green. She’s worn green everything for the past twenty years and people call her, Miss Green. She says it’s a happy color and she’s dedicated her life to that. So, just figure out what looks you like. It doesn’t have to be the latest thing. Just be true to yourself. That’s my whole goal− to give women confidence through fashion and embrace their personal style.

Photo by Angela Garzon Photography @angelagarzonphoto, Model Stefanie Bales @stefaniebalesfineart

JL: I appreciate that. Last question− where can we find Sweetly Striped?

JS: I’m online based, so you can find all of our looks on sweetlystriped.com and on social media @sweetlystriped (Instagram and Facebook). I like to do online shopping made even easier and in my Sweetly Striped VIP Facebook group I offer stuff to [group members] first, like free shipping and other things like that to keep it fun. So you can definitely find me. Whenever I do pop-ups I always share on social media, so always on Instagram and Facebook.

JL: Thanks for talking with me today, Jessica.

JS: Thank you!


(Hair & Makeup in photo no. 1 by Sophia Lesberg @makeupandmamahood; Makeup in photos no. 2 – 8 by Sarah Anne, @beauty bespoken; Hair in photos no. 2 – 8 by  Holly Dargavell, @holly_dargavell)












My Thoughts About Vegas

I am sad today.

And unknown amounts of people are grieving, suffering, and trying desperately to cope with a new reality. A reality that does not include their loved one.

We know this story all too well. And I do not say that to be trite. We, Americans, literally, know this story.

The first time I heard such story was in Mr. Cooper’s humanities class. I was in the ninth grade. It was 1999. It was Columbine.

Another time I heard this story (but surely not the second time) was when the victims were practically babies. School children. Administrators. And teachers.

The last time my heart broke because of this story was last summer, after nearly fifty men and woman were slain during a night that they hoped would be full of dancing, laughter and socializing.

And here I am- here we are- again today, as Americans, being reminded of the same story. And the story is this- (although I don’t assume that I could sum it all up, here are my thoughts…)

There is a mother who will not come home to her children. And another, and another.

There are children who are missing school today, because they are grieving the loss of their father, or mother.

No doubt, there is a girlfriend who’s boyfriend was shot and killed, and now all of her dreams of their lives together are nothing more but dreams. She is grieving today, too.

There are people without healthcare who were injured in this violent attack, who are worried about how they are going to pay for their treatment. I don’t know this for sure, but I can imagine that in our country this is a highly probable scenario.

There’s a brother who will never come home. A sister, too.

A veteran was killed, not in combat, but on the soil of the land for which he fought for.

And there is guilt and shame and confusion. People wishing they could have done more, took the bullet, or something else.

I know this isn’t the whole story. Not even close. But these are the things that I think about as I try to connect with the seriousness of this tragedy.

I also know that I am not a person of significant influence. I don’t know how to create change in the world other than by trying every single day to change myself. I think that is the only place to start- with yourself.

There is policy, too. And I echo the voice that says it needs to change. It needs to change.

Today I am still alive. For all of the thoughts and prayers that are being spoken and whispered, here are mine, also. I am so deeply, deeply sorry, fellow people, for your loss. I am also thankful for all of those who came to the rescue. This world is a mish mash of good and evil, but more good I think.

There is really nothing I can say that could take away any pain, although I wish I could. But I much rather say something than say nothing, and today I just want to let you know that I am thinking about you who’ve lost their lives, the people who love you, the people who helped you, the people who will lay you to rest. I am thinking about you and I am not afraid to let my heart break over this, because it should.


Bonita’s Travel Guide

(Written for galsthatbrunch.com)

As summer winds down and the Earth once again tilts on its axis away from the fiery star in the sky, cooler afternoons and shorter days bring with them the excitement of a new season of adventure. And while summer is often the time of year when most of us travel abroad, autumn and winter are prime times to see some of the worlds most beautiful landscapes, cities and natural wonders. So if you’re feeling blue because you think your traveling months are behind you, fret not and in the coming months consider visiting one of these five breathtaking places on our beautiful blue planet.

Elephant Nature Park and Akha Hill Tribe Village- Northern Thailand

Do you ever get the urge to hang out with elephants? Well you can! Chiang Mai, affectionately known by Thai pepole as the rose of the north, offers a plethora of attractions including its Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants and other wild animals in need. Feeding, playing and helping to rehabilitate elephants are just some of the things you can do while visiting. For those seeking to journey into Thai history, just one-hour north in Chiang Rai, one can visit the Akha hill tribe, where homes on stilts, dirt floors and no-electricity bring about a sense of how daily living may have been hundreds, or even thousands of years ago.

Cathedral Rock- Sedona, Arizona

For more local travel, the red sandstone mountains of Sedona, Arizona, offer hiking and site seeing at it’s best. While from afar the mountainous area appears dry and rocky, exploring within the range of red rocks proves otherwise, with lush forests and bodies of water ripe for exploration. And while you’re there, don’t forget to catch a sunset at the Sedona Airport Overlook, where a nearly panoramic view of the skyline glows shades of orange and pink behind the vast range of red, rocky peaks. Enjoy!

Lake Titicaca- Puno, Peru

Although widely known for it’s ancient Incan ruins, Peru is no one-trick pony. From east to west, the country is rich in natural beauty and modern architecture. But alas, one of its most breathtaking sites is the lesser known, Lake Titicaca. From the city of Puno you can catch a boat and head east to navigate the worlds highest body of water and land on Taquile Island. Nestled between Peru and Bolivia at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters with a view of the Andes Mountains, this spot is sure to make you feel like you’re the queen of the world. Eat your heart out, Leonardo DiCaprio!

Victoria Falls- Livingstone, Zambia

As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls offers hiking, swimming, white water rafting, hang gliding, bungee jumping, and countless photo ops among its falls towering over 300 feet high and 5000 feet wide. It is truly a site to be seen! After your day at the falls, adventurers can enjoy local cuisine like fried meats, vegetables and nshima!

Alder Street Food Cart Pod- Portland, Oregon

How could I end this blog without suggesting a destination that represents the very thing that brings us all together- good eats! Portland, Oregon is a food lover’s dream, with dozens upon dozens of food carts lining the streets of downtown, featuring cuisine from all over the world, from Korean barbeque to Caspian kebab, this travel destination brings it all- good food in a beautiful city and great memories with friends to last a life time.

Are you planning a trip this coming season? Tell your stories in the comments below and share why your travel destination should be our next!

download.jpg                   download-1.jpg

9227_1126641126369_1237386162_30365715_1598090_n 2

Yep, that’s me in the far right corner there!






IMG_9342.jpg            IMG_9385.JPG

IMG_2950 2.JPG    IMG_2979.JPG

Tequile Island

IMG_2932 2.JPG
This is the view of a floating island, off the cost of Puno, as you head east on Lake Titicaca.
At the top of the falls, feeling like a million bucks ❤



View of food carts from afar. I forgot to take pics while I was there. Thanks Google Images!

Life Update

Hellooooo out there! Is anybody there? Anybody?

Actually, I’m the one who went MIA, but alas here I am again. And here’s what’s been going on…

So back in May, my hubs suggested that we move back to Los Angeles after living in San Diego for two years. My heart sunk at the thought of it, but after careful thinking and consideration I agreed that going back home would be the right thing to do to meet our longterm goals. Why does adulting have to be so dang hard?

That said, I’ve been away from blogging due to working more, planning more, and going through the mental process of parting with this beautiful place that I’ve been calling home. I also spent lots of time reading a new book by one of my favorite authors and speakers, Rob Bell (What Is The Bible).  Just a quick note on the book- I loved it. I think the book is a gift to those who grew up in Sunday school and/or have been taught to read the bible in a way that inhibits it’s beauty and impact.  What I learned was that the story of Jesus was so much more political and his message was so much more subversive than I had been taught. Context makes a big difference and Rob Bell has done a beautiful job synthesizing years of information and learning to articulate a perspective on the bible that is liberating, exciting and fresh. Good times.

So, that’s it for me today. I just wanted to reach out to say hello and that I think about Bonita Brown everyday. More to come once this move to LaLa Land is complete. Sending lots of love…


Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, But Stress Is More Likely To

imgresOf the many curious things that I’ve come across as an information-junky, I find it especially fascinating when ancient wisdom seems to mirror modern scientific knowledge. It makes me wonder what observations an early human must have made in order to put into words something that would take millennia for science to prove. Case in point, the link between disease caused by stress and ancient writings from one of Israel’s early kings.

In a book called Psalms, found both in the Torah and the Bible, the beloved King David is credited for writing seventy-three of it’s one hundred and fifty chapters. His writings, which include songs, poems, and prayers, describe a wide range of human emotions, from joy, gratitude and praise, to desperation, fear and anger. The psalms of David tell about his life including precarious circumstances he finds himself in, like hiding from people who are out for his blood, and especially, his steadfast yet complicated relationship with God. Nevertheless, David writes:

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Psalm 17:22)


 When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. (Psalm 32:3)

Here’s what’s interesting about these passages (besides the fact that they rhyme!)- David is describing painful emotional states, (i.e. broken spirit, perhaps pointing to sadness, and I kept it all inside, possibly meaning stuffing down or hiding one’s feelings). Then, he describes how these states are bad for the bones- they dry them up and turn them to powder. Interesting! In these passages David is linking painful emotions to the degradation of bones. So what does this all mean?

Now, I’m no expert on human physiology but here are some basics on hormones and stress. When we experience stress the hormone adrenaline is secreted, followed by cortisol (cortisol is the one we’ll be looking at here). These hormones are meant to help regulate the body during the fight or flight response, which is a good thing, however, the experience of stress on a regular basis makes for elevated levels of cortisol in the body, which is really a not-so-good thing. The reason is because cortisol triggers bone mineral removal and blocks calcium absorption, which ultimately decreases bone cell growth and therefore decreases bone density. No bueno.

So why does this happen? When the body is under stress, it needs to focus on survival and so it will shut down other functions and focus it’s efforts on things like sending blood to muscles and vital organs in order to flee or fight off the stressor. Ironically, a twenty-first century stressor for a person like me is likely to be something non-life threatening, like being cutoff in the parking lot at Food 4 Less or the sound of my cat Curry crying for my attention.

So, why is this interesting? It’s a curious thing that some of our more painful emotions can trigger the release of stress hormones. And, if in fact high levels of stress hormone lead to greater risk for diseases of the bones, then it’s even more interesting that this condition was described so early in history by way of the historical figure, King David. Not to mention yet another reason to focus on destressing. Spa day, anyone?

Here’s what I’m not saying: science proves that the bible is true! I’m not saying that. I think that there are metaphors and stories and myths and legends and truths in the pages of this holy text that can be life changing when applied; and I also think it’s cool that there are layers of understanding within its passages that perhaps we and it’s original writers never saw coming.


Have you found curious overlaps in science and spirituality? Share them here!

The Power of ‘I See You’

IMG_2848I have a friend named Kristen who has a special practice for showing love- not just saying she loves, but showing that she does. I don’t think that she knows how special and unique it is nor do I believe she would call it a practice, but in doing this particular thing on several occasions over the years, it’s enough for me to believe that this thing that she does is love in action.

The first time she practiced this thing that she wouldn’t call a practice was when we were twenty-six (we’re a month apart in age). On this particular warm autumn evening, we headed out for a drink at the restaurant where we both worked, to relax and talk about life. As we sat on the patio sipping craft beer out of our fancy frosted goblets, she announced that she had something for me. It was a card that she had hand written and wanted to read aloud to me. From that card she read all the things she knew about me and appreciated about our friendship. She used words to tell me that she thought I was courageous; she thanked me for sharing with her words of wisdom during times of sadness; she told me that I was empathic even though I feared that I suffered from apathy. As she read these things to me, I recognized something- she had remembered the very things that our relationship was made of. I felt known, heard, and remembered. I felt seen.

Another time my friend practiced this practice that she wouldn’t call a practice was when I was preparing to be married. She handcrafted a letter made from cream card stock, bound the pages by wire, wrote words using different colors of ink and carved out misshapen hearts here and there throughout the pages. In this letter she shared with me other things she knew about me. She shared with me that she noticed how much time and effort I had put into reading books on self help, studying every religion I felt called to study, and coming to peace with my faith of origin. She shared with me that she was witness to the pain that I had experienced over the years and that every good change that I made in my life was a positive change in the lives of those I interacted with and a positive change in the world. She shared with me that the misshapen hearts represented life and how when painful things happen, our hearts change a little, but that that is what makes us beautiful and unique.

Now, I don’t mean to shine a light on myself by describing the details of these love letters that my friend wrote to me. I simply want to show the depth of her attention to her friend (fortunately this friend is me). My friend, this girl Kristen, has a special gift for really seeing people. I know this because I feel seen by her. I feel seen by her because she told me that she sees me. She told me she sees me by telling me what she sees. And what she sees is the things that I’ve shown her, and maybe even, a few things more.

The letter Kristen gave me before my wedding wasn’t the second time she practiced this practice, nor was it the last. She did it again and again, most times in conversation- she would repeat to me the things that I had shared with her in the past, almost as if she was reminding me of who I really was. In fact, that’s exactly what she was doing.

And so, all this to say, in life and in showing the ones we love that we love them, perhaps grand gestures or fancy gifts aren’t the only things that send the message. Perhaps sending a message that says, “I hear you and I see you,” is the best gift of all.

On Owning Your Shit- La Que Sabe


There’s a passage from the Christian scriptures that over the years has become something that I know to be true, at least for myself, in my own life. It goes, “she loves much because she has been forgiven much.” To me this means that the outpour of love that one is capable of is dependent on the debt they have been forgiven. Moral debt. Emotional debt. Spiritual debt. Another way of seeing it is, the degree to which a person feels freedom in their heart.

In the book of Luke, from which this passage comes, Jesus tells a story to a man named Simon. He was prompted by Simon’s criticism of a woman (a prostitute) who lay at Jesus’ feet weeping, washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. To paraphrase, Jesus tells Simon a story about two men, both whom owe money to a banker. One man owed five hundred pieces of silver and the other owed fifty. Because neither man was able to repay what he owed, the banker forgave the debts. Finishing his story, Jesus then asked Simon, “which of the two men do you think is more grateful?” to which Simon replied, “the one with the greater debt.”

I’ve heard this story several times over the years, with different interpretations, one of which seems to stick with me.

In this biblical passage, Jesus shared a story with Simon in order to make a point that the woman crying at his feet will not be subject to criticism or judgment because of the great love she demonstrated. And her ability to love so greatly was due to the great debt that she had been forgiven.

According to this particular interpretation, forgiven much means that the woman was cognizant (or conscious) of her shortcomings, her sins- what she needed forgiveness from. And in her acknowledgment of these things came a humility that birthed the ability to show great love.

Does that make sense?

She wasn’t just forgiven because she needed lots of forgiveness. She was forgiven because she acknowledged all of the things which she needed forgiveness from. She needed freedom. Forgiveness is freedom. And she got what she needed.

In the deep dark pain of really acknowledging ones shortcomings, comes a humbling of the ego, a taming of it, and that changes a person. Granted, not everyone has the wherewithal to catalyze a heap of heaviness into acts of love and kindness or into a better version of themselves, but for those who do, or hope to, I believe that there is power in acknowledging your shortcomings because then you can begin to forgive yourself, and/or ask for forgiveness, and move on to experience greater love.

I think at times, after we’ve made a mistake, we’re susceptible to our own pride and fear of admitting what we’ve done. When we do that, I believe that a tiny callus grows on the heart, making it hard, insensitive and inflexible. Over time the habit of ignoring what we need forgiveness from creates more calluses, making for a very hard heart. I want my heart to be soft, strong and healthy, so that I can feel all of my life, even the painful parts.

Anyhow, I wanted to share these thoughts because they came to mind as I began to re-read a book called Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I decided to pick this book off my shelf after I noticed a big group of women posting pictures of themselves and the book on Instagram. Apparently it’s their March book club read, and so I decided to join in.

I started reading the chapter on retrieving intuition (chapter 3 to be exact). The chapter begins by describing that intuition is the treasure of a woman’s psyche. It is a wise old woman inside of her that tells her which way to go. The author calls this inner wisdom, La Que Sabe, or The One Who Knows.

 And that’s just it…

That’s where the magic is- the freedom. It’s in the acknowledging. It’s in the knowing. The ability to feel your own heart and know what it’s telling you. I think that the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet accepted herself. She knew herself. Not just her shortcomings. Of course not. She must of known the good insider of her, too. But she knew. She knew herself. And when we know ourselves, and accept all parts of ourselves, within the cradle of Gods love (or the universe, or Shiva, or Zoroaster, or science, or whomever you believe a higher power to be…) we are able to navigate our lives in freedom, in grace and in love.

So here’s to letting the knowing make us more free. Let’s love much because we are free from much.

Happy Saturday, y’all.

With lots of love,


P.S. I want to be clear that knowing ourselves and growing intuition and wisdom doesn’t just include knowing our shortcomings. I think we must attempt to know all of the things that life brings to us, pain and pleasure, and everything in between. There’s wisdom and freedom to be found in all of the things ❤

When You’re the Bad Guy

Head in Hands

So you’re the bad guy.

It happens. Whether the happenings were two years or two months ago, the sting of knowing that you were the one who did the dirty thing, really really sucks.

Now, unless you are a sociopath, you can probably think of a time when you hurt someone else, intentionally or not. And perhaps because coping with this fact is difficult, your coping strategies may look more like vices than honest to goodness ways of dealing. I’ve been there.

In this short piece today, I want to encourage you.

Do you find yourself with vices that help keep your guilt at bay? Smoking too much? Drinking more than usual? Binging late at night? Tolerating negative self-talk? I’ve been there too.

Now, if you’ve made it this far into the post, you might be thinking, “this isn’t my problem”. That. Is. Awesome. But, do you know anyone who it may be true for? If yes, they may be under the influence of the shame!!!

Shame has a funny way of overshadowing the healthier reaction of guilt. As described by Dr. Brene Brown, guilt is voice that says, “I made a mistake”, while shame is the voice that says, “I am a mistake.”

Being mentored by shame is a scary place to be. When we feel like we are a mistake or that we are inherently bad, we run the risk of missing the lessons that life is trying to teach us. To boot, feelings of shame are the birthplace of addiction, aggression, and feeling stuck (just to name a few).

Luckily, there is still our dear friend, guilt.

Guilt tells us that we’ve made a mistake. When we know that we’ve made a mistake, it’s easier to change the behavior, apologize and move on.

There is much more to read on this subject and if you haven’t heard of Dr. Brene Brown or her work, I encourage you to look her up and read one of her books, especially Daring Greatly, or check out one of her Ted talks (ted.com).

Reasons for making the mistakes aside, there’s no use in letting your mistakes become a part of your identity. You are worth so much more than that.

Until next time…

With lots of love,



On Jealousy & Envy- Don’t Shoot the Messenger!

On_the_Beach_--_Two_Are_Company,_Three_Are_NoneI don’t think you’re ready for this jelly. And hell, neither am I!

I’m not talking about the kind of jelly that ya spread on toast, though. I’m talking about jealousy- the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.

Just writing the word jealousy makes my stomach jump. That’s probably because he’s paid me a visit a time or two, having strolled into my life unannounced only to solicit painful responses and induce copious amounts of regret. And embarrassment.

Now as I mentioned a moment ago, I am not ready to deal with jelly in a blog post- at least not just yet! But I’ll have you know that jealousy is not menacing my world these days, and so I would like to use this time of jelly-freeness to talk about jealousy’s less destructive and more informative cousin, envy.

Until now I didn’t understand the distinction between jealousy and envy. They seem so similar and in some regard they are; but as it turns out envy can be much kinder company. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Envy is something that occurs between two people while jealousy occurs between three.

Envy is the uncomfortable experience of noticing that someone else has something that you want, like a dream job or the complexion of a newborn.

Jealousy on the other hand is the even more uncomfortable experience of fearing that you will lose something, or more likely someone, to an enviable rival. Fortunately, the feeling of jealousy isn’t something that we experience everyday because it’s not everyday that we’re threatened to lose something or someone we care about.

Feelings of envy on the other hand can be a bit more chronic with its roots embedded in comparison.

And so we continue with envy.

Earlier I mentioned that envy is better company than jealousy and what I mean by that is that envy, in spite of the discomfort it can create, is also a telling messenger.

I believe that envy can offer clues to help us discover what is missing in our lives. From this perspective then, feelings of envy can be embraced, explored and turned into something new.

So, the next time the feeling of envy emerges, ask the question, what is the envy trying to tell me? Try not to stuff it down or beat yourself up for feeling challenged by, let say, the flawless complexion of the barista at Starbucks, because you might discover what the envy is really trying to say, for instance, I want to work towards improving the health of my skin, please.

Do you feel me?

Once the message emerges from the muck, commit to taking action! This is one way to overcome the discomfort of envy and turn it into something beautiful, or more specifically, let it’s message inform choices that lead you to create the life and circumstances that your heart truly desires.

In other words, don’t shoot the messenger! I think he’s trying to tell you something.

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment and start a conversation about what your envy might be telling you! Or perhaps you’re not in a place of feeling envious. Good stuff! Would you share with us what some of your past feelings of envy have told you?

with love,