practicing the shift

Things I love…

  1. Quality Time (#lovelanguage)
  2. California sun

LUCKY me, I soaked up both this weekend.

While getting tons of QT in San Diego with my best friend and parents, I came to realize a few things about myself…

  1. Comfort zones are a beautiful thing
  2. In a world of uncertainty (we all live in it), you just need a little QT to recharge and put things into perspective
  3. Being open and showing up fosters acceptance for yourself and others.

We all have emotional twists and tangles that weigh on us… just as soon as the universe hands you a big break, there will undoubtedly be challenges and setbacks to follow.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it’s much more likely that I ruminate on the challenges than the big breaks.  Some like to meditate on these things or go for a long run to reflect. Me? I need to unpack my thoughts and solicit advice.

(insert quality time here)

Yesterday I spent the day with Vince and my mom… we hiked, we Fro-yo’d, we cocktailed at the pool and we laughed A LOT. We had tough conversations just as often as we shared small talk and jokes. I was reminded that regardless of circumstance, being surrounded by open and lighthearted people is the best way to shift perspective and foster acceptance. Self acceptance and compassion for others is a powerful thing that I can’t even put into words. It’s the difference between enjoying the moments that make up your life and spending the same fleeting moments worrying or judging.

I’ll be the first to own up to times when I’ve had a BAD attitude and spent many a moment worrying. The good news is that self-awareness is a practice and it’s worthier to get curious and optimistic than to shift blame to anything out of my control.

Life isn’t all sunshine, beaches, Fro-yo and cocktails all the time(IMAGINE!), but I am going into this week with a fresh perspective.  I’m grateful to those who are as accepting and loving of themselves as they are of others. And I’m committed to fostering the same in those around me.

Emotions manifest in both positive and negative ways.  Self-awareness is a practice, and shifting perspective is a choice. It doesn’t hurt to keep people around who fill your heart with love, support and endless laughter.

sd sd2


“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day- unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

Who doesn’t love Sunday night yoga?

Last night Erik invited (coerced?) me into an 8:30 yin class at YYoga. While my yoga of choice has always been hot power flow, last week had been an emotional roller coaster so I knew I had to say Y-E-S.

As someone I love prepares to move across the world, I am torn between appreciating the here and now, and fearing the heartbreak that this breakup will likely bring. While I want to soak up the quality time left, my inner ruminations bring worry, regret, disappointment and fear… in myself, in him, in how we’ve called-it-in for the last 6 months.

Those details are for another time, but the product of these ruminations is that even in the most beautiful moments of connection, my mind is preoccupied and my walls go up.

As our weekend came to an end with a classic pool party for two, stroll along Kits beach, and epic date night dinner, my wheels started turning and I was stoic and introspective. Fast forward through the less than benevolent exchange that followed… Erik stopped us in our tracks and said… come on, we’re going to yoga. We need this.

did. we. ever.

90 minutes later, the metta meditation we practiced helped me find the inner acceptance and ease to feel more equipped to navigate the uncertainties before me.

While I’ve always found happiness and excitement from my accomplishments and relationships, meditation helps me find the inner gratitude and joy that comes from being present.  While any Shawn Akor reading yogi preaches it, who doesn’t love a universal reminder that regardless of circumstance, it’s always a choice…

metta meditation

Think of someone in your life who may need your love. Direct loving kindness to this person.

May you be well, may you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be loved.

Feel it as it radiates from you heart and your body and touches this person.

Direct your attention to someone who’s so easy for you to love. Send loving kindness their way.

May you be well, may you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be loved.

And now direct that same love, radiance, and heartfelt energy to your own inner being, and visualize yourself receiving that love.

May I be well, may I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I be loved.

May I be enough…

I hope this opens your heart and mind as much as it did mine.

It allowed me to, at least temporarily let go of some of the emotional dialogue that was breeding doubt and insecurity. I left feeling empowered, restored, and grounded.

As we walked home, I choose to appreciate and accept myself, him, and what the world has in store for us both.


Blogging is so 5 years ago.

….when I read Brene Brown, wrote my bucket list, hung out in Whole Foods, and blogged about personal development.

***Fast forward***

Wait, where did the last 5 years go? And where is that bucket list?!

As I re-read my list safely scribed in my iPhone notes, I’ve realized dreams and ambitions without missing a beat. I’ve taken chances, struck while the iron was hot, and never (NEVER!) lost sight of the momentum and ambition fueling it this wild ride.

Costa Rica (solo) adventure

Road trip down the pacific coast highway…

#dreamjob ALERT

Check, Check, Check!

All that bucket listing has led me to Vancouver where I live a life that I would have never thought possible. I pinch myself as I take in mountain and ocean views on my walk to work each day. I have found a career that excites me and challenges me equally and have learned how to create family when my family is 1700 miles away.  I’ve loved, lost, laughed, cried, and learned what life’s like outside of my comfort zone (to say the least).

Somewhere along the way of all of that LIVING, I’ve managed to lose sight of a creative outlet that makes me feel alive: writing. So today I return to my blog.

I blog to incite, to share emotion, and to step into something daring and creative. I do it to articulate gratitude in my heart and the balance of confidence and vulnerability that make me who I am.

I do it to remember that life moves fast and just below the surface of goals checked on paper is an intimacy that is WAY more inspiring.


You know that feeling when your best friend gets engaged, or has their first baby, or buys their first condo? The most epic FOMO (fear of missing out) when it feels like you’re NOT leading the pack, and maybe even being left behind?
THAT is how I felt when my best friend told me he was moving to Los Angeles. Not just because Cali holds a special place in my heart AND my goals, but because my friend Vince is such a once-in-a-lifetime GEM


The day I met you, laughed at you, hugged you, friend-zoned you(haha), I KNEW we had a unique connection. Our first hangout we ran. It POURED. You asked me why your lululemon top didn’t “whisk” away the rain. We laughed. Hard.
I took you to your first yoga class and you TIPPED over. I spent the rest of the class trying to stop cracking up. SO unsuccessfully.
We have a Damn. Good. Time.
Every. Time.
We invent bar crawls. We play tourist at Navy Pier. We go to the zoo more than any other 20-somethings in this town. We LOVE the cracker barrel.

We run A LOT. And I don’t even love running, but I love to run with you. Because it comes with guaranteed laugther-till-tears.
You get my stream of consciousness thoughts, my internal dialogue, and my rollercoaster shares.
Remember when you got locked in the basement? Ha

Thanks for listening. Thanks for putting my freak-outs into perspective. And for creating the space for me to laugh when I am consumed with drama. Thanks for telling me when I’m being too-cool-for-school and for reminding me that authenticity is wayyyyyyy more attractive than any façade. And thanks for being honest.
So, even though I spent the last 2 months being super salty about the big move, you give me a great excuse to get to California during Chi town winter.
You give me a great excuse to smile when I am running through Lincoln Park.
And thanks for standing as an epic reminder that life’s way more fun when there’s space for laughter, authenticity, and honesty


f-o-c-u-s…time management and what I’ve learned

My Sunday nights used to be gnarled with anxiety. My family jokes that they didn’t like being around me on Sundays because I was so easily annoyed. #gross
city viewAnd as I sit in my living room tonight, chillin on some Maroon5 Pandora, my Kindle, and epic city views… I think about how far I’ve come in overcoming the Sunday night anxiety paralysis and how much better my life is when I’m actually LIVING it and not overly occupied with planning, organizing, perfecting it.
I shook-off the perfectionist mindset, the “look good and have all the answers” armor, the constant failure avoidance, and it helped me be a whole lot more light-hearted at the end of the weekend.
I shifted my mindset from failure avoidance to seeing small botches as necessary steps to a path forward.

Growth requires risk, failure, and (usually slower than I’d like) learning.

talent code
I’ve learned a lot about momentum and failures in the last 4 years. Being promoted 3 times, you can imagine that required countless trials and a shit ton of errors.
Ever go from being an individual contributor on a team to a manager whose success is determined by others being better than you?? That is a true leader and THAT took me about 2 years to wrap my head around. And now… now I lead by listening. I listen to people’s goals, their strengths, what they are up to in their lives, and I connect them to their dream job.
I turn down the WOO, the story telling, the attention grabbing. I listen to what lights people up, I engage them, and facilitate insight so they can passionately choose us if we choose them. I create a connectedness so that they feel heard. TOTAL #dreamjob right?!
Total. And one that I thought I was HORRIBLE at for the first 4 months in the role.
It’s a dream job with a totally complex origin and a plethora of epic fails. So that’s what I’m uber keen on right now.
Seizing opportunity, taking on projects that are outside my “strengths”, soliciting feedback, and building up the confidence to fail bigger, learn bigger, live bigger, share more, and keep. moving. forward.
What I mean by outside of your strengths: the qualities that you tell yourself are inherent… that you don’t have and never will. That was me and TIME MANAGEMENT.
Ending the day while being hyper aware of the things that you failed to complete is the worst feeling ever. Several nights of feeling THAT inadequacy left me chomping at the bit to OWN my focus, my awareness, my productivity.
I can be easily excited, distracted, and love having 4000 projects going on at once. But as I move up in my career, time management has become so critical to my success I knew I had to do something about it.
As I became consumed with how to make my brain work when and how I want it to, I made a list of insights, findings, and reminders. So from my iPad notes to you, I hope they’ll strike a chord and help you get after your goals and spare you some of the time management failures that I had.

  • Brain power is a limited resource and realistically you only get a few hours a day so use wisely
    • Don’t be so inclined to procrastinate
    • do the most daunting task first
  • Get ideas out of your head and into the world
    • Send the email, make a list, put it in your outlook calendar
    • free up mindspace
  • Don’t multi-task when you don’t have to
    • Unless you’re willing to give up accuracy and or quality
  • If you’re stuck on the same problem you probably missed a step in the process
    • Get clear on the end goal and don’t get lost in details
    • Make sure you’ve asked the right questions and know what success looks like
  • If you ever need a boost of output, go do an activity that makes you feel strong
    • Connect to your creativity, connect to another person
    • Give some advice-what’re you best in the world at?
  • Think about putting the ideas together in an innovative way. A novel way that exudes your personality
    • Grab attention; feel proud
    • Take the work up a notch
  • Go workout
    • Sweat, take a walk, do yoga, go running
    • Focus on you and shake the bottleneck
  • You already know the problem. Stop thinking about it. Focus on the solution
    • It takes WAY more energy to envision a solution, but it’s useless to belabor a problem
    • Try to think about new ideas without connecting them to old ones #sohard
  • DO NOT lose sight of YOUR GOALS even if the task at hand doesn’t relate
    • This project is like currency to eventually cash-in and get you there
    • Do the work. Do it well.
    • Find purpose in it
  • Surround yourself by people who celebrate your effort and work, and not the end result.
    • Don’t be stunted by mistakes, or too safe to make them
    • SHARE what you learn with others- that’s the point.

Own how far you’ve come, and acknowledge the effort- even failures it took to get there. And don’t forget that even if a skill doesn’t come naturally, Y-O-U have the opportunity to put in the effort to develop it for yourself.

I learned that when I shy away from failure I end up undermining my own growth and the juiciest goals for an epic life. So I say play big, don’t dilute your best life by stayin’ safe and easy. I’m pretty sure you can have the career, the health, the love without compromise if you’re willing to do the work. And I’m sooooooo lucky to have peeps around that remind me of it everyday.


busy state of mind

so  I (re)read my bucket list a few days ago for the first time in aWHILE. It’s always cool to cross things off and acknowledge epic experiences … also massively key to make sure I’m getting AFTER what’s important to me.  (what lights me up, if you will…)

What I love about this list is that I never overthink it and suspend all self-censorship or judgment because it was conceived in my iPhone notes.   You don’t censor yourself in your iPhone notes.

So after yoga today, I took to the beach with nothing but my bucket list, my iPad, and a little summer mood music.

I quickly realized that the experiences that I value are built on a scaffolding of connection, creativity, exploration, love and community.  

Which was a reality check…because these are the FIRST experiences to get  throttled back when I find myself “busy.”

and in my world, busy is a creativity-stunting-crutch.

I’m sitting on the beach with no agenda (and no Facebook app on my iPad) and it occurs to me that there’s PLENTY of time and staying busy is a state of mind to play it safe, ergo small.

I can duck-and-dodge risk and vulnerability by preparing, perfecting, refining, assessing, organizing… but I let’s be real: life-is-not-perfectible.

So without self-judgment,  I choose to press pause and re-infuse my epic goals into what I’m up to every DAY AND most importantly, surround myself with people who do the same.





do them


I’ve been obsessed with Sundays lately… filling them with friends, long walks, soaking up the SUN in Chicago, and laughter to the point of tears. I can’t imagine a day getting much better. But what caps off this Sunday perfection is dinner with the fam.  It’s kinda the best way for me to end my weekend, start my week, ground my feet, & reset priorities. And I think these are some reasons why:

  • I slow down and SAY an “I love you” because there’s no chance I’m leaving the house without one. #epic
  • When I get disenchanted with dating- my parents remind me that love, respect, and support can be sustained for 30something years. #possibility
  • No one in my family even lets me THINK of sweating the small stuff for a millisecond. #egocheck
  • My parents plan their weekends around seeing me. #qualitytime
  • My dad will have undoubtedly researched a trip to go skiing, skating, boating, kayaking, or ANYTHING active in the hopes that I’ll take a week off work…which reminds me to plan trips and take off work… #balance
  • My mom will 100% remind me of the joys of being married and having a family- COUNTLESS times…which reminds me that having a fam is FOR SURE part of my best life too. #visionandgoals

And I say, life’s too short to miss any beats in soaking up love. So Sunday nights are a time for me to ditch the agenda, to-do list, and mental narrative that I need to get somewhere else. They’re a weekly reminder that being loving, grateful, and down to earth is who I want to be.  And it’s pretty sweet that the fam brings that out in me every week over a dining room table… or in tonights case,over mexican food :)


joblove, teamlove, lifelove…

I read the other day that the part of the brain that controls our feelings (limbic brain) has no capacity for language.
Which totally explains why the most amazing experiences are the hardest to put into words.

It ALSO explains why, when asked about my new job, it’s hard to even describe my first week.
Sure, I learned a lot about linkedIn, recruiting, metrics, interviews… (Easily measured, right?)
The MOST epic  take-aways though, were the ones learned from my uber-motivated, uber-awesome team… (Not so easily measured, see?!)
But in the spirit of telling our story, I am going to try.

The top 10 things I learned in Vancouver:
1. If you LISTEN to people’s goals, you’ll hear what they’re great at. And you’ll be inspired.
2. Bring your passion projects to work and marry them with what you do every day.
3. Also bring integrity, accountability, balance, and FUN.
4. Loving your life makes you SUPER magnetic. So does goal setting, being creative, and yoga.
5. Having a clear team vision creates collaboration, candor, accountability and big team love.
6. Innovation and early-adoption are the only ways to go. Why sit in traffic when you can build a new bridge?
8. Authenticity matters. Doing and saying what you believe makes you super charismatic, too!
9. The best leaders probe, incite, and always make space for possibility.
10. Being overly responsible is not being responsible at all.

So huge, right?
Every person on that team says and does what they actually believe. They GET that the payoff is not there otherwise. They are the ultimate in candor, charisma, and early adoption.
Leading creative lives, setting goals, and bringing passion to work is just another day at the office. Values are shared, and no one takes themselves too seriously. It’s not even possible with Laura and Tess around.
We get to come to work and do something we love- be the catalyst that connects people with their dream jobs. We LISTEN to people, and look at their approach to life, choices, and experiences. We listen to see if they’re inspired and inspiring.
We trust lululemon, and moreover trust each other to maintain our culture so that it sustains beyond our team into the future. It gives us something bigger than our jobs to work towards. Which makes the work worthwhile.
With a clear vision of where we want to go together this year, objectives are simple, collaboration is strong, and responsibility is OWNed.

It allows a TON of space for optimism and innovation, and it makes for the most indescribable team dynamic. And even though there are no words, my heart fills with gratitude and inspiration for what my new team brought me this week!


love wins

Love wins. Love always wins.

Whoa, nothing like a going away celebration and a rainy Sunday at OHare to induce reflection.
And ohhhh Mitch Albom how you shift perspective…

In a week full of hugs, thank you’s, good luck’s, and acknowledgments from my community, I was reminded of the incredible mentors and mentees around me.
I took on the vulnerability that is accepting acknowledgment, and took time to connect with the open hearts, the giving trees, and the people I got to learn from every single day for the last few years.

These people are ones that I respect, love, and people who share the same core values as I do.

More than anything, I realized that these conversations, the thank-you’s, the love, and affection do not have to be reserved for going away parties or send-off’s.

I found myself asking:

Did I value your time when it was in abundance??

Did I share the surge of gratitude I had for you when I solicited your advice??

Did I listen to you before I started recruiting, selling, wooing??

Did I let you revel in the epic amounts of love I have for you, or was I stingy with delivery?

Did I share the overwhelming respect and admiration I have for you, or did I just smile and leave you guessing as to why?

So what is it about emotion that holds me back from being fully self-expressed always and not just at the end of a chapter? Possibly the fear that I can’t control it?? The vulnerability of my own I’m not good enough’s, or maybe even the lack of preparation in my perfectionists bubble.

What i do know is that it takes a lot of self awareness, authentic relationships, and real conversations to be probed and prodded into being more open. To not let me be distracted by shiny objects, carrots and sticks, or the world passing by in order to unlock it. And I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who do this brilliantly. And a boyfriend whose committed to open hearts AND open communication. Which makes my heart fill with gratitude.

And as it does, the Universe reinforced this. Yesterday I decided to read a book along with my friend Callie and Barb because I love nothing more than a book club (or 4). So obviously, I read it cover to cover in about 12 hours (although I might get distracted easily, reading and writing get me in-the-zone.)

If you haven’t read tuesdays with Morrie, get with it. It will change your perspective, and maybe even your life. It reminds you to get present, love fully, live out your dreams, and be strong enough to create your own culture.

What’s important in life?
What do you need to get right before it’s too late?
And my biggest takeaway is that if a part of todays culture doesn’t work for me, I can create something different.

Soooo moral of my roller-coaster-airport-terminal-story is this: getting present and being fully self expressed is what I want to get up to MORE. That is the culture I want to create. That is what gives me purpose to feel more, see more, do more, accept more, and share more. That is what we all owe the world. And that is that.


protect less. share more.


My blog posting has been MIA lately, but I’ve been writing more than ever. Last week I totally got stuck in this weird rut of introspection, perfectionism, and over analytical exhaustion. Writing my heart out, and guarding my feelings tight.
…on an island.
Somehow I have mastered this uncanny ability to detach, become reserved, unapproachable,and preoccupied when I’m challenged with not having the answers. ESPECIALLY when it comes to love.
Which is most definitely not who I want to be.
I cannot go from being loving, open, inspired to being distant and icy when things aren’t as perfect as I’d like them to be.
And it hit me yesterday…
I’m walking to yoga…THIS song comes on, and it stops me dead in my tracks. Eyes well up, gravity takes over, heart sinks.
And when I got to the studio and the girls asked me about my man in CA/my move, I neatly package my answer into a perfect box with a perfect bow and deliver:
“Long distance dating- it’s great and we see each other as much as possible. It’s fun going back and forth, Skyping, having time and space to myself.”
Without thinking twice, I say it with a smile on my face and conviction in my voice.
Gross, rehearsed, vague, blasé, all around not true.
The truth is that relationships are intricate and challenging. Long distance dating is has been massively difficult; it tests my commitment, independence, and self-worth
CA blog
So I unpack my feelings last night on my bf via Skype.  He listened patiently (like he does)& I went to bed feeling wrong about it (like I do).
Today though, I woke up and I remembered this:
“You can’t clean the floor with a dirty mop…” 
How can I possibly cultivate inclusivity,love & connection in my community without starting on myself first??? It’s counterproductive to detach from feelings of vulnerability or make myself wrong for not having it all figured out. Who I need to be is compassionate to myself, and brave enough to share where I’m stuck.
Bringing THAT authentic energy into a room is better than bringing a bubbly prepackaged answer. 
So I shared with one of the most empathetic, compassionate, and open people I know (and smokeshow…pictured)
It was easy, beautiful, and it was like a connection tipping point.
Armor is heavy and life’s too short to wear it.
Protect Less
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