Get Real.

True friends know each other inside and out. Quirks, fast food preferences, bad haircuts and all. No truth is too ugly to uncover, no wound too deep to heal. So let’s get real- here are 25 things about me.

 

Question 1: Guilty Pleasure?

Answer: That’s easy. Wine, Cashmere, and Massages. Bonus points if all 3 happen at the same time.

 

Question 2: Clothing item you wouldn’t be caught dead in?

Answer: Overalls, crop top, harem pants, culottes. I paid my dues with those already in life.

 

Question 3: First thing you do in the morning?

Answer: Roll over. Moan. Stretch. Repeat.

 

Question 4: Most binge worthy Netflix show?

Answer: Stranger Things. I’m already (un)patiently waiting for season 3!

 

Question 5: Favorite place in the world?

Answer: The St Regis at Princeville Resort in Kauai, Hawaii. It truly is like God took all of the best things he created and put them here- lush greenery, waterfalls, mountains, crystal blue water. It is pure magic.

 

Question: 6: Team you root for even when it seems that every season is a “rebuilding season?”

Answer: TEXANS! Rebuild on, I can wait.

 

Question 7: Currently pinning?

Answer: Inspirational quotes, home decor, and anything Meghan Markle.blogpost_25-01

 

Question 8: Signature Scent?

Answer: Amber Lavender by Jo Malone

 

Question 9: Who makes you laugh the hardest?

Answer: Kat McKinnon, and I have to say, the Will and Grace revival is insanely satisfying.

 

Question 10: Last thing you do before falling asleep?

Answer: Read. I’m currently still on my New Year Resolution kick of health so I just started reading The Dr.’s Book of Natural Health Remedies. This might be a coaster by March when my health dedication fades…so I’ll keep you posted!

 

Question 11: One thing that is saving your life right now?

Answer: Long. Hot. Baths.

 

Question 12: What is your Whataburger order?

Answer: #1 meal with everything. Hold the pickles and mayo. I’m still desperately searching the index of The Dr.’s Book of Natural Health Remedies for Whataburger but I just can’t seem to find it…

 

Question 13: How do you unwind?

Answer: Aromatherapy is a must. My favorite scent right now is the Serenity Blend by Doterra.

 

Question 14: Worst haircut?

Answer: There have been many. My perm days in high school, though, cut the deepest.

 

Question 15: What do you whisper to yourself when you need motivation?

Answer: “I can handle this.” I have a lot coming at me between owning my own business, a special needs daughter, and a high school senior. It seems someone needs something from me all the time which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, but I try to reset my frame of mind by reminding myself that I can handle every curveball thrown my way. And if I still feel overwhelmed, I (man)handle  Whataburger while I figure out the rest as I go.

 

Question 16: Do you have a spirit animal?

Answer: Butterflies. Every time I see one I feel something deeper. It is almost like they are little earth angels sent my way to guide me and connect me to something greater than myself.

 

Question 17: What is your greatest blessing?

Answer: My marriage, without a doubt.

 

Question 18: What is your ultimate healer?

Answer: Humor coupled with a heavy dose of vulgarity and few f’bombs usually takes the edge off.

 

Question 19: Creative outlet outside of Design?

Answer: Writing. I find so much peace in getting my thoughts out- it’s the world’s cheapest therapy, monetarily-speaking, but emotionally, it is the richest experience.

 

Question 20: Any OCD tendencies we should know about?

Answer: My home. It’s my sacred space and it has to be clean at all times. You can come over and touch things, but I might sweep behind you as you walk out.

 

Question 21: You love interior design, what is one movie home you wish you could move into?

Answer: The home in the movie It’s Complicated– it’s a gorgeous ranch/Spanish Hacienda style home and it is what dreams are made of! Meryl can stay too…as long as she picks up after herself.

 

Question 22: Who would you trade lives with?

Answer: India Hicks. Live in the Bahamas and be British Royalty…sign me up! I’m currently writing her an offer for trading lives, but I’m not sure it’s a fair trade!

 

Question 23: Favorite TV Show?

Answer: Madam Secretary. I bow down to Tea Leoni!

 

Question 24: What has surprised you most about Motherhood?

Answer: How much my kids have taught me about life and myself. You grow up thinking it is the other way around but it’s surprising how quickly that changes.

 

Question 25: Current soundtrack to your life?

Answer: The sound track to The Greatest Showman is on constant rotation at my house. My daughter loves the movie and I love the message. It’s almost as if I needed this movies message as I moved into the New Year- it’s all about celebrating differences as well as having a vision and realizing that vision even when the odds are stacked against you. Having the soundtrack playing all the damn time is a great reminder for me to remember my goals are not out of reach no matter how many obstacles stand in my way.

 

Bonus Question: What are your favorite things to purchase on Amazon?

Answer: (Scrolls through order history…) Ardell Demi Wispies, Compagnie de Provence Hand Soap in Lavender, books (LOTS of books), Essential Oils, and Vitamins.

 

 

I’d love to get to know you more! Leave a few facts about you in the comments and let’s take our friendship to the next level.

XO, Elaine

Move Ahead With Grace.

Well, it’s January 9th.

Are you a changed person yet? Have you overhauled your life and completely changed the direction of your sails? I haven’t. In fact, I’m still floating in the ocean trying to decide which course to take.  I’m studying the paths that lay ahead, charting where I want to end up, and the storms that may lay inbetween.

The New Year is an odd time for me. I feel motivated but also discouraged. I feel laden with expectation to reinvent myself and become anew. But, January 1st for all intents and purposes is a manmade day on the calendar. It’s not magical and, to be honest, neither are you. You can’t wake up a new person, you can’t wake up 10 pounds thinner, or more organized. But, you can wake up more present, and more intentional in how you treat yourself. So, this year instead of racing to a January 1st laundry list of resolutions I’m giving myself the gift of time. Time to plot my course, make amends with myself for unresolved resolutions, and to be ok with the journey into self-love and discovery.

This past weekend I set off on a mission to indulge myself with a little time to reflect. My husband gave me a trip to Lake Austin Spa for Christmas which felt more like a cosmic gift than a Christmas gift. It seemed to be written in the stars for me to step away from everything and invest in myself. It was time for me to be alone and reset.

IMG_9561It is safe to say I receive my loudest messages from the universe when I internalize and unplug. As I let myself become entranced with the calm, uninterrupted flow of the water in the lake I kept hearing the word GRACE. Water is the most graceful element to me-the way it rolls in and out, flows with ease and moves in tandem with the elements around it. Sure it surges and breaks along the shore because nothing is perfect, but the energy of water is calm and understanding.

This inspired me to reset my way of thinking about resolutions. Instead of setting bullet point resolutions, I chose to use the word GRACE as an acronym for a softer approach to traditional resolutions.

 

GRACE

Be patient and kind with yourself. Ultimately, making effective behavioral changes results from a change in how we think about ourselves. Everything begins with the self, so be kind. Don’t let resolutions be an excuse for negative self-talk.

There are plenty of times where I have witnessed my negative self-talk taking over my daily life. I had to bring awareness to this bad habit and squash it. You become what you think, and telling yourself you aren’t good enough leads to a downward spiral of insecurity and coping behaviors that don’t behoove us.  No matter what space you are in, in life, you are enough. You are powerful and full of purpose.

 

REFLECTION

I know there is so much talk out there about not living in the past, and as much as I believe this to be true, I do, however, find it helpful to reflect on the past year as I start a new one. I like to look back on my year and think about what I want to bring with me and what I want to release.

A healthy amount of reflection leads to more awareness and understanding of oneself and where we want to go. It’s also a good time to take stock and get curious about bad behaviors or habits that have formed, or unhealthy dynamics that have crept into our relationships. Don’t live in reflection- just visit, take notes and leave. Be accountable for yourself- you can only grow by doing the self work. Making peace with it all, including making peace with not being at peace, will bring out the best in you.

 

ACCEPTANCE

This is a hard one. Accepting WHAT IS- not what should be or what could be is a lifelong journey.  As humans we are wired to want more -to want new -to want what the other has, but honestly, that’s all an illusion. For example, I found myself on Pinterest the other day skimming images of Joanna Gaines’ latest renovation project saying to myself.. ‘I think I want her life. She has the perfect hair, perfect family and perfect kitchen’. But then I reminded myself that I have no idea what’s she’s up against, or what the true realities of her life are. I’m only seeing the curated Joanna.

After I came out of my Joanna haze, I slowly got out of bed and walked into my living room to find that my adorable dog had taken a value sized dump under our Christmas tree (that I have yet to take down). As I was picking up the mess, my daughter runs downstairs without a shirt on- she is in a “I want to be naked all the time” phase which is posing to be an issue that I am currently refusing to deal with. In an attempt to remain calm and rational, I nicely ask her to put a shirt on. She walked right past me and very bluntly said, “NO!” I then walked into our TV room to find half a dozen Whataburger wrappers strewn across my floor. You see, my son has a very common teenage disorder- it’s called ‘I cannot pick up after myself,’ which inhibits the use of all limbs and common sense. It’s very a serious condition but not life threatening…yet.

I very quickly went from a fantasy vision to being slapped in the face with my own reality- but I reminded myself that this is only a moment in time, not a forever. And, I’m going to guess that with 4 kids (going on 5) Joanna has a few of these days herself.  Being okay and loving exactly where you are IS what ultimately gets you closer to your resolution goals or something better.

 

CAREFUL EDITING

As I mentioned, I think it is just as important to assign what needs to go as it is what needs to stay. It’s healthy to shed old ways of thinking or doing that no longer serve you. Letting go of unrealistic expectations can propel you forward.

I did a little editing in 2017 when I pulled back on my yoga practice. I love yoga and it has helped me find that peace and equanimity that I so desire. However, I started to notice that I was putting pressure on myself to do more and be more in my yoga sessions, which started to take the joy out of it for me. I came to the awareness that the pressure I was putting on myself to be better at yoga was in exact contradiction to why I started doing yoga in the first place. I also had the realization that I was falling into this type of thinking and behavior in other areas of my life-  primarily my career. I am only one human being, and only capable of so much so I had to force myself to release unrealistic expectations and only commit to what is reasonable so that I can give it my whole heart. I am not an advanced yogini or a pantsuit business tycoon- I am a peaceful warrior in all aspects of my life.  Release the pressure to perform- we are our best selves when we are free. 

 

EMBRACE WHAT’S WORKING

I like to think of the final step as a way to simply embrace what’s already working and begin building on those things moving forward. So after you given yourself GraceReflected on where you were and where you want to be, Accepted your present reality, and Carefully edited what no longer serves you, you can now fully Embrace what’s working and build on it.  Acknowledging the good that you have already done this past year and exploring where that can take you- rather than pressuring yourself to become a completely new person- feels more doable, harmonious and hopeful.  Embrace the ‘you’ that you have worked so hard to become. Life is a series of rebirths and every ‘you’ is worth celebrating. 

 

I truly believe this year will be full of triumph and magic for all of us. If we give ourselves grace, boundaries, and time we will learn to gently go with the flow. We may crash along the shore, but we will make waves of peace and harmony as we journey through a new year with self-love and respect.

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Wishing you a year of grace,

Elaine

Living in the Now

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Hello My Friends —

For many women, back-to-school means back-to-me time. And hooray for that! I relish these days when I’ve clocked out of my summer job as my kids’ social chair and entertainment manager. However, I don’t always get such a smooth transition into freer days and more time alone when school starts. My daughter, Marlie, suffers from school anxiety, so everyday is different for me. I’m doing all I can to stay in the present moment and take it each day as it comes. (Some days are better than others.)

Also, fall is a naturally busy time — team sports, after school activities and therapy sessions get cranked up. And, let’s not even mention the damn homework! It seems to get more frequent and tougher as the years progress. These kids young mind’s are stretched to the max with academic and social pressures. (High school seems to be a lot more competitive than I remember and I’m not so sure this is a good thing. HELP!)

So how does one stay present and mindful and not get caught up in all the busyness and the doing? Try some of the tips below for yourself and expose them to your kids too. But I have found the best way to learn is to model healthy habits and behaviors to those around you. If your kids refuse to read this or engage in some of these tips, then YOU can just BE it! They will pick up on all of the below just by seeing you do it.

This reminds me — I recently added a weekly family yoga session into our lives. I announced it to my kids and told them I was having a wondeful woman come to our house on Saturday mornings to do an hour-long gentle yoga session for us, but I was very clear in my words that if they did not want to do it, they did not have to, but it was available to them if they are interested. Well, sure enough, about twenty minutes into our session, my daughter walked in and showed us all her yoga moves. We all got to giggling and having so much fun doing yoga together as a family. So by taking the pressure off and allowing it to be up to them, they succumbed just out of pure curiosity I think! Yay me. (BTW — my strategies rarely work but this time it did!)

So let’s get calm now, why don’t we?


Slow down. First step, breathe. You’ve heard it before and trust me, it works because it forces you to stop the doing and focus. Last spring on the blog we featured Henry Richardson of Define body and mind who explained a simple breathing exercise and my good friend, Elizabeth Irvine shared some great tips with us last fall on how to remain mindful too. These are my go-to exercises when I feel the pressure mounting. And the great news is these exercises can be done anywhere. Promise yourself you’ll try it now, or at least once a day.

Take a technology break. Our devices are a blessing in terms of productivity, but a real curse in terms of human interaction. Challenge yourself to keep your device in your handbag when engaging with friends, kids or on date night with your husband. (Of course checking the phone periodically for urgent messages is allowed.) There’s no better gift you can give a person than absolute attention, especially in this day and age. 

Limit the social media.
 Nothing is more anxiety inducing than scrolling. Social media has its benefits – there are a couple of people in my feed that post amazing, thought-provoking articles and it’s nice to catch up with an old friend who lives across the globe. But then there are the acquaintances who take too many selfies, the over-politicals, the over-sharers, and the constant complainers. Really, most of it is garbage and negativity that I don’t need in my life and it is an enormous time suck anyway. I’ve found that taking some social channels off my phone has helped tremendously. When my phone cratered recently, I noticed a distinct shift in attitude toward the positive while unable to log into my social apps. It was quite freeing really. Maybe being connected 24/7 isn’t all that its cracked up to be?

Be still. Turn off your phone and take 5 minutes, even 30 seconds if that is all you have. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. How do you feel? Are you overwhelmed, happy or sad? If the feeling is of the negative sort, acknowledge it and let it go. If positive, savor it, embrace it and be grateful for it. Then start at the top of your head scanning down. How does your body feel? Do you have a neck ache? Are you hungry? Are your muscles sore from working out? Just simply acknowledging these feelings puts you in the present moment and reigns “you” back in. 

Focus and simplify. Really analyze your to-do list. How important are the tasks? Eliminate what’s not critical. Be realistic about what you can do without super-human powers. Then delegate some tasksStrive to check off three items in a day, and no more. And if zero tasks get accomplished, forgive yourself. We all have days like that every now and then.

Stop the overwhelm. If your to do list is still weighing you down, try the small bites strategy. Big projects can be stressful, but breaking them down and dedicating time every day to them gets things done. And I am not talking about a lot of time. Based on the project, allow 20-30 minutes per day. Schedule it in your calendar. Just doing a little bit everyday goes a long way toward eliminating the ruminating and resulting paralysis.

Finally, no matter who you are engaging with or what you are doing ask yourself, am I really present? Simply acknowledging it with the question brings you back to center. Utilizing the strategies presented here will help make living mindfully a habit. I have a feeling you will notice a welcomed change in attitude as well. Good luck!

XOXO, Elaine


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