Address Fluid

A global pandemic. Civic unrest. A brush with death due to a parasite. Wildfires everywhere. Waking up with an orange sky and air that burns your eyeballs.

Packing up

This was our reality for the past month in San Francisco. Not to mention paying $5K/month for a little over 1,000 square feet to overlook a drained hot tub and a pool we couldn’t use. Fiscally, it didn’t make sense to stay where we were, paying for someone else’s mortgage and amenities that we hadn’t used in over six months (!)

Had I not been hospitalized after contracting a parasite that nearly killed me, I’m unsure if we would have decided to pack everything up and move out of the city we called home for almost six years. However, my hospital experience was incredibly traumatic, and without any connections to the SF Hospital system, it was the first time I felt truly alone. Trapped in the isolation wing for four days in a small room, the only human interaction I had was with the nurses who entered wearing full PPE garb. 

My hospital room.

Once discharged from the hospital, I was utterly exhausted. Narrowly missing the window for a blood transfusion, thank god my numbers started going up right before they scheduled it. My body (and my mind) needed serious TLC and downtime. I could barely walk around the apartment without feeling lightheaded. And the day before my hospitalization, I had walked 4 miles and done two online intense yoga classes. All of the conditioning I’d worked on was gone in just a few days.

All of the reasons to leave SF had compounded. It became abundantly clear that we needed to get out. So we did. A little over a month later, the movers came and took all of our belongings to storage. We packed a couple of suitcases of warm weather clothes and began our drive to the east coast. With Moo as my copilot, I can now definitively say that long-distance road trips aren’t for me, but I’m happy with our decision.

For the foreseeable future, we will be working with a strong Wifi signal in South Florida. If you’d asked me back in January if there was any possibility of us moving out of SF (or California, in general), I would have laughed incredulously. Now, I am taking it day by day and going with the flow.

Accurate.

My 2020 Resolution: Be Healthy

 

This will be a deeply personal and vulnerable post, so I respectfully ask those who have critical, negative or antagonistic remarks not to comment.

I am writing from the mindset of a woman who made certain life choices, faced the consequences, yet also felt the freedom of sharing her story with the world.

One of the most bizarre things I’ve grappled with over the past 2.5 years is that my brain has been trying so hard to get me to forget the “little” things, the daily ‘microaggressions’. So when something does happen, it’s almost like someone picking at an old wound that I’ve forgotten about. A traumatic shock or memory of the past comes flooding back to the forefront of my mind.

I’d also like to take just a moment more to share that I am a survivor — wait, no, a thriver. At fifteen, I experienced sexual assault and emotional abuse. In college, I found my footing in advocacy for sexual assault prevention and peer counseling. Senior year, I graduated a semester early after being stalked on campus; the school faculty and police blamed me for “making myself a target.”

Now that I’ve gotten the past out of the way, I’m looking to the future. A new decade. A time to start fresh and focus on what I can control: my health.

Mental

  • Focus on the positive more than the negative. It does not mean that I beat myself up every time I have a bad day. It means that I take a step back to recenter myself, collect my thoughts, recognize that I need to refocus my energy (if possible) and try to find the silver lining.
  • Choose happiness where I can.
  • Actively continue to strengthen and nurture my friendships.
  • Allow myself time to recharge and reflect. No more 18 hour days for months on end without a break in sight. Take the weekend off to get rest and read a book or hike with Nick and Moo. Go outside. It can wait.

Emotional

  • Trust — in all those who surround me.
  • Continue to mentor others because it helps them know that they’re not alone. It is probably the most important thing I’ve done with my life (starting in college). It doesn’t mean that you have to have the right answers or say the correct thing all the time. The most critical parts of mentorship are listening and being there for someone else.

Physical

  • Without emotional and mental fortitude, physical health suffers tremendously. Even though I’m physically healthy when I haven’t been taking care of my emotional or mental health, I am all around worn out.
  • Up until November, I realized that I hadn’t taken a real “break” from work in over 2.5 years. All the pent up anxiety, late nights, skipped workouts to take conference calls, etc. had built up in my body — incredibly, I hadn’t exploded like one of those soda bottles you’ve definitely watched on YouTube. It took me flying halfway around the world to Kenya, without access to the internet, to feel relaxed. But hey, it worked.

So by the time I return from sunny Florida right before 2019 ends, I will be recharged entirely (consider me one of those human solar panels — all I need is some sunshine, baby☀️) and ready to kick off the roaring 20s. Happy and healthy.

Boudoir Photos

Getting married? Anniversary coming up? Or do you just want to take some sultry photos because you’re gorgeous?

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I have compiled a short checklist of what to look for when picking a professional to capture these intimate shots.

1. Be Picky: Find someone local with lots of reviews and a personal website. Don’t just book the first person you find. Take the time to do your research, scour the best deals and above all, make sure you actually like the pictures in the photographer’s portfolio.

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2. Pricing: The price range for boudoir photos varies depending on where you live, the number of photographers in the area and what you’re comfortable with paying. I’ve seen “Groupon Deals” for $50, but when you read the fine print that doesn’t always include your “sitting fee”, prints, retouching, etc. Decide on your budget and try to get the most bang (pun-intended) for your buck.

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3. Style: Some photographers do more soft light, sensual shoots while others are pretty hardcore and graphic. I’m not here to judge one way or the other, but just make sure that whatever you choose, you will be 100% comfortable with because if you’re uncomfortable, it will definitely show through your photos.

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4. Be Suggestive: Make a Pinterest board with posing ideas, camera angles, costume changes and background settings that you like. This was something that my boudoir photographer, Aimee, suggested and I absolutely LOVE her for it. During our shoot she’d pull up photos that I had pinned so we could try and recreate them.

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5. Perks: See if your photographer includes digital copies of your pictures with the photo session. My photographer not only included a CD with the photos, but also a photo book that I gave to my husband as a secret gift on our wedding day. It is the perfect present for your significant other…and my hubby always takes it with him on business trips.

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Photo Credit: Aimee Rossi, Visit Her Website Here

Domaine Carneros

Is there anything more enjoyable than sipping some freshly popped bubbly? I think not. And while we are discussing the most delicious experience of the palate, there is a sparkling wine I would love to introduce you to: Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé.

The Château Society
The Château Society

The Domaine Carneros Château is nestled in the heart of Napa Valley. This California vineyard is easily one of the most beautiful settings I have had the pleasure to explore, and the experience is matched by the deliciousness of their sparkling wines.

Champagne with a view.
Sparkling wine with a view.

For those who enjoy champagne, I highly suggest the Sparkling Wine Sampler. They give you 4 glasses of blessed bubbly goodness. For those who prefer du vin, Domaine Carneros also has some of the most wonderful and complex red wines that are to die for!

Domaine Carneros Sparkling Sampler
Domaine Carneros Sparkling Sampler

I always like a little something to munch on, so try the charcutèrie plate or the soft fromages (my personal favorite) from their menu. They take walk-ins or you can call ahead and reserve a table. When visiting Napa Valley, this winery should definitely be on your list.

Take a nibble and sip some bubbly.
Take a nibble and sip some bubbly.

💋