A Letter To All The Moms Who Raised Me

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When I reflect on people who played key roles in ensuring my successful entry into adulthood it is full of smart, loving, inspiring faces. One of these people I am especially thankful for, because without her I would not even grace this planet, I call Mom. While my Mom gave me life and taught me a lot early on, she wasn’t the only woman I needed.

The woman I am today is a direct reflection of a group of moms. Some people might refer to this as a “village” but most of the women I am thinking of didn’t know my Mom personally. These women were aunts, friend’s moms, a stepmom, a high school yearbook teacher, and a college professor. I’m proud to be a collection of women, my Mom included, who offered advice, picked me up when I stumbled, showed up when it was important, and instilled some important core beliefs into adult me. So this post is an ode to all of the knowledge these women imparted. Thank you for your patience (especially during those teenage years), love, and being on my team.

Happy Mother’s Day.

It Is OK To Be Selfish (Sometimes)
From early ages most women are taught to do for others before they do for themselves. I believe in living life with as much empathy and gratefulness as possible but I am so thankful I was also taught to be selfish when it really mattered. The idea of being selfish is more about looking out for yourself and putting a buffer between you and physically or emotionally harmful situations. Confused? Being selfish with my heart meant knowing when it was time to walk away from romantic relationships. Being selfish with my time meant only quality people or causes made my social schedule. Being selfish with my future meant leaving my friends and family to move to California, because I knew that is where I was supposed to be. Being selfish with my dreams meant I could tune out anyone who told me that I was crazy or that some task was impossible.

Being Alone Doesn’t Mean You Are Lonely
For those of you that haven’t been reading this blog for very long you should know  I was married before the husband I currently have. I don’t talk about it a lot because it honestly feels like a lifetime ago, and there isn’t really a lot to say except not a right fit for either of us. He’s a good guy, I think his parents read this blog sometimes and they are great people I am still so happy to know, I hope he lives a very long and happy life with someone. When we split up I went from having an entire established life with someone to living in a studio apartment in a different state where I didn’t know anyone. This took some adjusting, I had a lot of alone time. I cried, was mildly depressed, contemplated moving back home, and talked to my stepmom regularly. She told me I had to give it a chance and that being alone didn’t make me unlovable, it just gave me more time to figure out who the hell I really was.  I remember she also told me I could always come home if I was really, really miserable. That was 8 years ago and I am still a proud resident of the Golden State. She was right, about all of it. Having time to myself made me a more confident person, forced me out of my comfort zone to meet people, and was actually quite liberating (eat what I want, watch what I want on TV, pants optional ALL THE TIME). My advice to every person now is get comfortable being alone, like really alone without a phone or internet or TV. Spend some time with yourself and say yes to new experiences. I mean, how do you think this blog got started?

Be A Woman Who Supports Other Women
This one took me a little while to learn, but I am so glad it clicked. If you are a young (like under 25) woman reading this let me be the first to tell you that the most important relationships you can make in life are with other women. They will pull you through the dark when you can’t see, they will help you throw small pity parties and then just as quickly tell you to get your shit together, they will show up with champagne to help you celebrate the victories,  they will watch all of the Magic Mike movies with you, and they will love you exactly the way you are forever and always. Be a woman who is open, supportive, loving, encouraging, honest, and always willing to help pick a girl up (or throw her in a cab if she needs it, thanks Jules). Women who compete with you over men, social status, designer bags, or body type are not your friends but the good news is that there are millions of other women who would love to be your friend. This goes back to being selfish about time, be careful who you give it away to!

Get Uncomfortable
In college I took a few performance studies classes that led to me participating in a live stage performance in front of a small audience. My performance studies professor was always encouraging us to push ourselves and “risk,” and now I understand why. Fear is a bully that keeps you from risking, and so many people let it control their lives. Fear keeps you from applying for that job, or speaking up in a meeting, or moving to that place, or talking to that person you find interesting, or telling someone they hurt you. Fear is safe, most of the time you know what the outcome of a situation will be. Alternatively risking is terrifying, you never know what will happen when you make the leap! This also makes risking insanely freeing, because even if the situation doesn’t turn out the way you expected you confronted fear, and that is the best feeling ever. Every time I have decided to risk I grew a little bit more and learned life was not as big of a deal as I was making it out to be in my head and most people are worried about themselves, not me.

 

Now it is your turn, what did your Mom teach you?

 

 

 

Wine Tasting In El Dorado

One of my favorite parts about living in Sacramento is when I want to get out for a weekend adventure I don’t have to travel very far. Within in an hour driving distance of my house there are all kinds of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Recently I was introduced to El Dorado wine country for their 2016 Passport Weekend. I know when most people think of Northern California wine it conjures up images of Napa or Sonoma, but I was excited to find what other amazing wines existed outside of these regions. My official photographer, I mean husband, and I braved grey skies and rain sprinkles to taste new wines and take in beautiful views, we were not disappointed.

 

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2016 Passport Weekend

We spent the most amount of our time at C.G. di Arie Vineyard and Winery where we tasted our way through the property. First stop was the patio where we met Elisheva, co-owner of C.G di Arie, and she gave us a brief explanation of the history and types of wines they produce. We were excited to learn they regularly host open house events for wine releases and vineyard tours. I mean, with this view how could we not plan on coming back?

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View From the Patio

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Why is my glass empty?

After taking in the views we headed inside to meet the winemaker Chaim, who also happens to be the husband of Elisheva. We were challenged to put our palates to the test and identify which eight wines made up their soon-to-be released Onstage Act II blend. Always up for a good challenge my husband and I tasted, chatted with the winemaker (we couldn’t pry any hints about the blend makeup out of him), and submitted our best guesses. People who correctly identify the makeup of the blend win a case, so keep your fingers crossed and if you’re lucky we might share.

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Decoding the OnStage Act II Blend
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Meeting the maker.
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Casting the ballot, may I have one more taste just to be sure?
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Barrels of fun at G.G. di Arie

We really enjoyed out experience at Passport Weekend and can’t wait to come back, on our visit we will definitely plan on staying overnight so we can experience more. Haven’t been yet? Plan your getaway here. Have a favorite winery, restaurant, or hotel we should try next time? Let me know in the comments!

Hey Girl Valentine 2016

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This is my favorite post of the year. Every Valentine’s Day I ask a group of women to write a love letter to themselves. As women we spend a lot of time discussing what we want to change about ourselves and not nearly enough time celebrating our strengths. My hope is that when you read this you see a little bit of yourself in one or more of these letters and are inspired to write your own or use it as an opportunity to express some love to a woman in your life. A giant thank you to all of the fantastic women who submitted, writing this is not an easy task. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Lisa

Hi you,

I want you to know I think you’re pretty special.

I know you’re hard on yourself and struggle with self confidence at times. You wonder where life is going to take you, but hey, you’re only human. Enjoy the ride.

I’m proud of the decisions you’ve made in life.  You have stayed true to yourself. Whether it’s a move across country, quitting your job, traveling far away by yourself or falling head over heels way too fast; you take risks.  I love that you follow your heart and your gut even if it means heartache sometimes. You wouldn’t be the wiser.   I love that you always look for the good in people. You’re loyal in every sense of the word, sometimes to a fault but hey that’s OK. You’re a good daughter and a good friend, just as they are to you.

You take life too seriously at times, but I love that you don’t take yourself too seriously.  You laugh hard, you sing terrible, your dance moves are pretty solid, and you have a great smile!

I will make sure to remind you of all these things and more. Keep smiling because you have a lot in life to smile about!

Love you!
L

Lisa is originally from Northern California and has been living in New York City for the last 14 years. Lisa works in international global hotel sales.  In her spare time she  loves be in the outdoors, loves to travel and spend time with friends and family.

Kelly

Dear Me,
Your enthusiasm for life makes every day an adventure and I just adore how you 
nerd out on science and nature. The world is an amazing place and you help others 
explore their passions by being so unapologetic about your own.

You try things that scare you like rock climbing and really big job titles and I truly admire how you act with courage every single day. I think it’s fantastic how you pursue the things you enjoy and work really hard to make the world a better place.

Keep sharing your talents, your ambition, and your personality with the world.
You’re fantastic and I love you.

Kelly Conroy is a Sacramento based blogger and half of Timber + Main, a custom furniture design company she owns with her husband. Kelly is a stellar blogger, to-do list aficionado, and a reluctant power tool user. When she’s not blogging or sanding the latest Timber + Main creation, you can usually find her hiking through the forest, drooling over Sacramento’s farm to fork scene,  or exploring her neighborhood with her husband and trusty pit bull, Piper.

Wendy

Love Letter To Myself

Sweet Pea,
Age has made you wiser
who would have believed that?
Not you.
And all those unkind words
the times on the sidelines
uninvited to the party
they didn’t kill you
and they didn’t make you stronger either
but when you pieced it back together
your heart had grown larger.

You spend your life amongst the
most poignant reminders of love’s hunger
and you feed them.
The timid creature hiding behind a curtain of hair,
the insecure prankster lighting fires with sarcasm,
those wobbly kneed with anxiety
because their desires
feel foreign, ill-fitting, dangerous.
You stand at the door daily
to say I see you.

I see the terror you can’t name,
I see your brilliance and your beauty,
I will believe in you
until you
believe
in yourself.

This year, sweet pea,
say it to yourself.

 

Wendy Rasmussen is a former coffee and tea writer who now teaches high school. She is a firm believer in the transformative power of love.

Ana

Sassafrass,
You know you have that nickname for a reason, right? There’s something about the way you throw your head back in full, unrestricted laughter that is contagious. When you get excited about something, you speak very rapidly and out come the famous Muppet Hands. Those quirks are endearing. Don’t ever stifle that fire inside you.

As much as I can’t get enough of your energetic spirit, I’m also in love with your quiet, serious side. You value thoughtful, quality conversation and truly connecting with people beyond what is on the surface. Friends confide in you for good reason; you don’t judge, you listen intently and when asked for advice, you sincerely mean what you say– Even if it’s not the message they think they want to hear. You care about the bigger picture of their health & happiness, and looking like the jerk who told the truth is worth the sacrifice in order to help a friend gain a little more clarity & peace.

Warm generosity and unwavering kindness radiate out of you like freaking rays of sunshine. Seriously, you constantly look for opportunities to help others– Not because of any personal or business gain, but because you give a damn. I mean, you were one of the few females to shave your head for kids’ cancer research and rocked the hell out of that bald head all year. Ellen would be proud.

What I most love, though, is that you put yourself out there. You’ve built your business from the ground up and haven’t thrown in the towel when it’s gotten tough. And it’s gotten real tough. You talk it out, cry it out, and do what you need to do to make shit happen. It fills me with pride when people share how inspiring your drive is to them. Since we’re being honest here, I often wish that you would drop the need to achieve this vague idea of “perfect.” Your collection of missteps make you human and show how far you’ve come since day one. I’m proud of the important work you’ve been doing these last few months to focus on what matters the most to you. It sounds like this year is already shaping up to be a big one for multiple reasons, and I know you are overjoyed for this next phase of professional and personal growth.

Just remember a few things, mama: You are always enough. You’re doing a frickin’ great job. And you totally kill it in those red Power Trousers.

Shake it,
A

Ana Manzano is owner and creative director for the children’s clothing brand Ana Apple. Her team proudly creates “tricked-out threads. Crafted with a conscience” in Sacramento, CA. Because they believe in the strength of community, $1 per bib and $2 per garment from the Ana Apple collection sold online or in-store will is contributed to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento.

Rosaura

Hey you,

Long time no talk. About that- let’s make more time for us this year. You work so hard to give joy to everyone around you and I want you to have more fun too.

You have really impressed me with your capacity for growth & love in the past few years. I am so relieved you went to therapy and got all the shit worked out that you needed to in order to be happy. High fives for getting your shit together!!

Keep surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you. That includes your inner self. If your inner self starts hating on you again- tell that bitch BYE FELICIA… we don’t have time or energy in our life for that nonsense anymore.

I’m proud of you for doing the hard stuff too. It sucks sometimes editing people out of our life but you’re adulting really well by not clinging to unhealthy relationships anymore.

Keep doing that even when it’s hard.

That’s what she said.

Also, keep acting like a 12 year old boy, I love that you’re absolutely ridiculous.

Here’s what you have my total permission to always have time for: your ridiculous laugh, game nights, traveling, dinner parties, impromptu singing at the top of your lungs & lots more ocean time. You deserve it- you work hard & you do good. Treat yo’self.

Keep growing, keep loving. You’re changing the world by making other people feel loved & valued.

Love you,
Rosaura

Rosaura is the owner and artist behind Pigment & Parchment. She is a proud cat lady, secret mermaid & sentimental Renaissance woman. Her life is devoted to seeing, creating, learning, & helping. She has been honing her illustration skills for over two decades in Northern California.

Maria

Hey Girl,
I know sometimes it seems like the only constant in your life is that it is always changing, but I love your ability to adapt. Just when I thought you would sit still for a while in LA you went and fell in love and changed cities again. You weren’t done there though you also got married, bought a house, and started a business. At times you also questioned your knowledge, abilities, and sanity. Thanks for not giving up on yourself.

I’m so proud of you for learning to shut down the fearful voice inside of your brain, choosing happiness, and surrounding yourself with people who refuse to let you become complacent. You have worked hard to get where you are but remember to take time for yourself too. Get outside of your home office, hide your phone, and spend time with people that make you laugh (you have a lot of these people).

I love your playful attitude that sometimes boarders on immature, don’t ever lose that because life is for enjoying. Also keep converting people to hugging, we need more love in the universe. Above all, remember most of adulting is pretending like you have it together, you are doing a GREAT job.

I know you thought you couldn’t exist anywhere outside of LA, but you are doing it and I have never seen you happier. Keep that shit up.
M

Maria is a Sacramento based social media consultant and lifestyle blogger. She believes in the power of collaboration, hugging, and saying yes to new experiences (especially if they scare you). Her love languages are donuts, coffee and craft beer. When she is not working or writing she can be usually be found exploring Sacramento with her husband.