I’m Back

So I’m back after almost a year away from my little corner of the internet. Honestly, I can’t believe that so much time has passed and that I’ve left you hanging for so long. I’ve been wanting to start blogging again for a little while now, but to be honest, have really struggled with this initial post. I wasn’t sure how to explain what the past year has been like and what it means going forward. I also haven’t wanted to dwell on the past and instead move on to the future of my blog and some exciting changes and plans that I have. Yet it wouldn’t feel right to skip over what has been a really difficult year and pretend that everything is the same. Truth is, I’m not the same. I’ve grown so much in the past year and have learned so much about myself that I really feel like I’ve come out of it stronger and more sure of the woman I am and the woman I want to be more than ever before.

But let’s back up. When I signed off on the blog last May, I had no idea it was going to be for so long. I have documented my health struggles fairly openly on the blog and if you’ve been a long time reader you were hearing a lot of “Well I was really sick this week” or you were hearing radio silence. It got to a point where it was just too difficult to blog and I kind of dropped off the face of the Earth for a long time. I don’t feel comfortable sharing all the details publicly, nor do I want this blog to become about those issues, but I will say that I was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune illness and was very, very sick. It is not something I am over and is something I am still struggling with daily. In some ways, it may seem surprising that I’m back at all, and for a long time I didn’t think that I would be.  But I found that I really missed writing. I missed connecting with readers and bloggers and the amazing blog community. I missed the joy that blogging gave me. So although I’m still struggling with this illness, I have decided to come back.

So what does this mean going forward? Well, a lot of things! For one, it means a re-branding of sorts, which you will see on the page. I’ll do another post about the type of diet I follow, but one thing is that I no longer eat oats… so granola doesn’t really seem fitting to be part of my blog name anymore. Also, although my blog started as a healthy living blog, it kind of turned into a lifestyle blog, full of weekend recaps and events around SF. My life is a little different now, and over the past year I’ve found a new passion… cooking! So expect to see lots of recipe posts, posts on living gluten-free in a gluten-filled world and so much more. I have so many ideas that I’m so excited to start posting about. Of course, I still love fashion and beauty so you can expect to see those types of posts as well. My posting schedule may be a bit erratic but I’ve learned that pushing my body is a no-go, so I’ll be posting when I feel up to it and removing any pressure to post when I’m not. This is a new era for this blog and I so hope that you’ll join me. And since this was a fairly wordy catch-up post, maybe my next will be some of my year in pictures!

Let’s Get Real

Hi lovelies. I come to you today with a rather heavy heart. I usually like to keep things fun and upbeat around here but after reading Clare’s post this morning, I decided it was time for me to be honest. When writing a blog most of us usually share a portion of ourselves- we talk about the fun things, what we’re eating and doing and wearing but we often skip how we’re feeling. I generally am a very happy girl and have so much in my life to be thankful for- great friends, an amazing family and so many other blessings.

But today I’m feeling down. You see, I’ve mentioned being sick on in passing rather frequently. But I haven’t exactly explained the extent. For the past 4 months or so, I’ve been really sick. I’ve had dozens of tests, seen multiple doctors and still haven’t been able to get a diagnosis. Each day, I just hope to feel better. And some days I do feel a little better. And then some days I feel really bad. Like, can’t get out of bed sick. But despite feeling so yucky, I push, push, push. I’m a people pleaser and very driven so despite my health telling me to slow down, I kept trying to push myself. But here’s the thing:

You can push and push until your body MAKES you stop.

And man, is that a hard one to come to terms with. But that’s where I’m at now. I’ve pushed my body so hard because I was determined not to let anyone down and have gotten to a place where I just can’t push anymore. And that makes me feel like I’m failing. I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want to not be able to do all the things that I used to do. I liked my life just how it was, being busy with a million activities. But I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I just can’t have that right now. I’m realizing that if I want to go on to achieve all the things I want to achieve in life, I’m going to have to stop fighting my body. It’s a battle I continue to lose and I’ll never get to where I want to be until I let me body heal. It’s a work in progress but I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

What to Wear Wednesday: LBD

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all are having a wonderful week so far. It’s finally warming up in San Francisco which is a nice change. I couldn’t be more ready for wedges and sandals and flirty dresses and skirts. I’ve been trying to “shop my closet” but of course I ultimately am also craving new things. But I’ll have to do a separate post on that! Today let’s talk about the lbd- or little black dress. It’s classic and timeless and something everyone should have at least one of in your closet. As Karl Lagerfeld said “One is never overdressed or underdressed with a little black dress.” It truly is a fashion staple and works for every occasion  I think it’s important to actually have a few little black dresses in your closet- something you can grab and you know it will work.

The dress below is one such dress. I’ve had it for years but despite it’s age, it still works. It’s a great thick material that hangs just right, is fun and flirty while still being understated and demure which is why I knew it would be perfect for my Grandma’s 88th birthday celebration that you saw a sneak peek of earlier. To accent my dress I kept my accessories and shoes simple and went for a dark lip and a bright nail for a little pop.

Dress: Banana Republic, Shoes: Nine West, Bracelet: Forever 21

Dress: Banana Republic, Shoes: Nine West, Bracelet: Forever 21

Shop the Look

Dress: Mango // French Connection

 

Questions:

-Do you have the perfect LBD in your closet?

Scenes from the Weekend

Hi lovelies! I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend! They always go too fast, don’t they? I had a great time this weekend and was feeling good the whole time! This might seem commonplace for some, but for me, this is a true celebration! And it was an especially good thing because I had some fun plans. As I mentioned, I went to see Jersey Boys with San Francisco Delta Gamma Alumnae group and we had a great time! I love musicals (this was my second this week after Sound of Music for my Grandma’s birthday) and this was no different. I’d heard great things about it and it didn’t disappoint. It did however, have a slightly different musical format than I’m used to. Rather than the characters singing songs as dialogue and to progress the story, the music in Jersey Boys are songs that the Four Seasons sang, so they didn’t relate as much to the story. But it was still very enjoyable and I had a great time with my friends- it’s always such a pleasure to get dressed up and go to the theater! I’m hoping someday I can find a guy who will enjoy it too. ;) Then the next day my gals and I went to Foreign Cinema for brunch and had a lovely time. It was so fun to be all together again and we had so much to catch up on. The food was delicious, the space was beautiful and the company was exceptional! After a fun brunch I met up with my parents and we did a little pre-wedding shopping and I finally found a rehearsal dinner dress, yay! Then on Sunday I went over to my sister-in-law-to-be’s house and we did a few pre-wedding activities as well which was so much fun! I’m so excited that we will soon be family- she’s amazing. And then the weekend ended watching my new tv obsession Mr. Selfridge (fans of Downton Abbey-you will love it!) and enjoying a sweet treat! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a great start to your work week!

Excited for the show to begin!

Excited for the show to begin!

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The gorgeous Curran Theater… they just don’t make ‘em like they used to

Ladies who brunch

Ladies who brunch

My first time trying coconut milk ice cream and it was DELISH!

My first time trying coconut milk ice cream and it was DELISH!

Questions:

-What’s your favorite play or musical?

-What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

My Latest Obsession

Hi lovelies! I hope that you are all having a fabulous week so far! I’m so happy that it’s Thursday and the weekend is in sight! I have some fun weekend plans that I’m looking forward to including seeing Jersey Boys with some lovely DGs, a fun brunch on Saturday and lunch and crafting on Sunday! It should be a great weekend and like always, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I feel well! I’ve been meaning to do a foodie finds post lately, but each time I go to write one, I realize that I can’t do my list without including X or Y. But today I’m leaving all that behind because I’m only going to talk to you about one thing. But it’s my very favorite thing. So here’s my confession:

I’m a kale chip addict.

I used to make kale chips years ago before they were popular and they never really turned out right. They ended up burnt, slightly slimy and way too salty. For years, I didn’t touch another kale chip due to my preconceived notions that they would all taste that way. That was until last year, and I noticed kale chips in all my favorite grocery stores and I decided to give them a try. Oh my goodness, I had been missing out. These kale chips are light, crispy and crunchy with the most amazing flavor. And they are seriously addicting. Given that they come in resealable bags, I’m guessing that the companies expect you to eat them on multiple occasions. But not me. That bag is gone in one sitting. I’ve tried a bunch of different kinds, but my favorites are Kale Joy and Kale Krunch.

Don't even try and pry my hand away

Don’t even try and pry my hand away

Both of these products are completely natural, gluten-free and vegan making them a fantastic healthy snack. Plus the coating on both brands contains nuts or seeds, which give them an added protein punch- Kale Joy Original has 6 g of protein per serving! I’m partial to the original flavors of both of them but I’m sure the others are fantastic too. Unfortunately, they aren’t cheap ($6 a bag) but they are worth every penny! At some point I might try my hand at making my own kale chips again, but in the meantime, I’ll be the girl hoarding bags of kale chips at the grocery store.

Questions:

-Have you tried kale chips?

-What would be your favorite flavor combo?

Scenes from the Weekend

Hi lovelies. I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine had a rocky start because I was feeling really yucky but thankfully I started feeling better and was able to enjoy my Grandma’s 88th birthday surprise celebration! We always do something fun for my Grandma’s birthday and last year went to Vegas! This year we stayed in town and had an amazing time and my Grandma was over the moon- just how everyone should feel on their birthday :) Hope you all have a great Monday!

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Ready for a change- shorter hair for summer!

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A very surprised Grandma when she saw the limo!

limo

The fam in front of the limo, ready to embark on Grandma’s special birthday!

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My first time at the Tonga room and my Grandma’s first time back in over 40 years!

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Queen of the Tonga room with her strawberry banana daiquiri!

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I’m such a lucky Grandaughter to have the most amazing Grandma!!

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Surprise round 2- Sound of Music the next day!

Questions:

-When’s the last time you were in a limo?

-How was your weekend?

You are Beautiful

Hi lovelies. I’ve been putting off writing another post this week because it feels frivolous to talk about something else when so many are suffering. I think that after a few days the news cycles tend to move on, people start talking about other things and our focus is shifted elsewhere. That’s normal and not necessarily a bad thing- we all need to live our lives to the best of our ability. But I would be amiss not to acknowledge that when the cameras go away is when the real work begins, when it sets in for all those affected just how hard this journey is going to be. So let’s pray for them as they move forward and undergo a new set of struggles.

Since it doesn’t seem right to post about Online Shopping tips like I was planning, I wanted to post something else that would fit this somber mood. As you might know, Dove does wonderful campaigns that celebrate real women’s bodies. I actually had the pleasure in college of hearing one of their models from the underwear campaign they did a few years back and it was so enlightening and inspiring. Since then, I’ve been a huge fan of the message they work to promote. They’ve done  some fantastic videos through the years, but the one they just released is one of my favorites.

The premise is this: when you look in the mirror, what do you see? Dove asked real women to come to a studio in San Francisco and behind a sheet describe their appearance to someone. They were honest and forthcoming with their feelings and a police sketch artist drew what he heard. Then, they asked a stranger to look at the person and after the subject had left, the stranger described what they saw. The differences were astounding.

First and foremost, I have to applaud these women for taking part in this campaign. It must have been a scary experience to be so raw and honest but I think it will truly help so many people. When watching this, of course I wondered about what differences I would see in the sketches. How I view myself versus how others view me. I think that most women nitpick things in the mirror that they would like to change about themselves. In fact, according to Dove, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. What a complete and utter travesty. I know so many beautiful women, both inside and out and yet how have we gotten to a place where so few women see it? One of the things that really struck me about the video was the reflection that the stranger’s interpretation looked much happier and more open. Not only do we not see our beauty but we also are presenting a more closed off view of ourselves. It makes sense too that when you are describing all of your faults, it’s pretty hard to see anything good or happy.

I hope that this project changes the way people perceive themselves, even if only a little. We all find ourselves looking in the mirror daily, so I challenge you to focus on all of the things you love about yourself rather than those you don’t. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. You know what I’m thinking about all of you?

You are beautiful.