Introducing Bliss and Beats aka Holy Sh*t I'm Vlogging.

Hi hi!

For a while I've been toying around with bringing the theme of my blog (Bliss and Beats) to life in a way that is a bit scarier than the occasional blog post. I wanted to push myself this year to check in more often because...

1. I feel like I have tons of useful content to share. I am a perpetual soul-seeker, so I'm constantly learning and growing by way of books, mentors, programs... you name it. I feel like every week (or really, every day) I learn something or realize something about myself and my experience that makes a difference to my quality of life. And often it's just like that - something as small as one new chapter I've read makes  a lasting difference.

2. Starting a business can be really challenging for SO MANY reasons, but for me, one of the biggest is my own paralysis. I never feel like I'm doing enough and I'm far too focused on the end goal, which feels so daunting and impossible that I find myself stuck in inaction. So, I've instead had to change my mindset and focus on just taking one small step each day. And content like this is something that is not only helpful to others (I hope!!!), but also a small, tangible way to begin reaching that big goal.

So I present to you- the first edition of Bliss and Beats!

What is Bliss and Beats, you ask? Well, this is an ongoing series of videos featuring one lesson in creating more bliss in your life (the lasting kind!) and one really dope beat [because you know I like music].

Basically, this is my attempt to combine my two passions and spill my guts to all of you on a weekly basis because I am NOT afraid to get mega vulnerable, y'all. And I WILL. Most of these are going to be about what I am working on IN THAT MOMENT.

To do this,  I'm setting a few ground rules for myself:

1. I have to do at least one every two weeks... with a goal to get up to one per week.

2. I WILL NOT spend too much time making each video perfect. That means that I can only do some rudimentary editing AT MOST. I am NOT filming it multiple times. I am using my computer or cell phone to tape. I am really not prepping beyond jotting down notes. I am letting this flow so I can get it out there rather than allowing perfection to basically bog me down and evidently not release anything. 

3. I think that's enough rules. 

But I need your help to make it great. You can help me by holding me accountable (haven't seen a video in a while? Call my "busy" ass out!) and by letting me know how the videos are working for you. If they suck, shoot me an email or write it in the comments (but email is much preferred because, privacy). If you got something out of it, let me know (all over the comments, baby). I love you guys and your help means the world.

Today's B&B is all about our fears, why we THINK they define us, and why we should bust through them. I'm sharing a story from my Costa Rica trip where I was scared shitless... and why it was one of the best things I've done so far this year. Check out the first episode of Bliss and Beats here and please, let me know what you think in the comments!

p.s. I of course did not mention the beat of the week in the video. It is the Redux version of Atmosphere by Kaskade, one of my number one favorite humans and a man who is bound to be a Bliss and Beats top contributor. You can peep that song below or on Spotify... etc.


Healthy Eats & Getting Over my Food Fears

I'm gonna get real about my relationship with food for a minute. Today, food and I are lovers and friends. But it wasn't always this way. In college, I really struggled with eating. This manifested itself in an incredibly restrictive diet, ocd amounts of exercise, and a short but real bout with bulimia. Which was really, really not okay. And hard to get over. But with lots of work and honesty and resources, I got through it. I realized I had a problem, and that I didn't want to feel uncomfortable and anxious and gross and unhappy with my body all the time. I wanted to change, I went on a journey, and eventually I did. It all came down to not feeling good about myself, and wanting to control my personal perceptions of "good enough" by being the skinniest person in the room or at least feeling "in control" of my weight. Not quite the best way to define your self worth (UNDERSTATEMENT).

Seven years later, I'm so, so grateful to be in a much healthier and more balanced place in my life. I never thought I'd say this, but I rarely struggle with eating fears anymore, though body image issues still creep every once in a while.

I feel better than I ever have in my own skin, I exercise in moderation, and I eat basically whatever I want (though I try to be pretty healthy most of the time).

Which leads me to today's post on incorporating more nourishing foods into my diet.

How are these things connected?

In college, I was incredibly restrictive when it came to food. I was all about low fat, low calorie. I started using only skim milk, I thought lean cuisines and diet coke were the jam, and I would inhale cereal and baked lays or 100 calorie packs of shitty snacks like it was my job. If it was low-cal, it was a-ok. I had brain-washed myself in a big way.

I knew that what I was eating was pretty empty food, but at the time I thought that it was what I was supposed to be doing. My friends were eating similarly, low cal/no cal was still all the rage, and I didn't really care as much about my health as I cared about being thin. The result was a really terrible way to live.

Over the following years, I basically had to let go of my food obsession and learn to allow myself the freedom to make choices and eat real food again. I had to ward off of all restrictions. I worked with a nutritionist to learn which foods were healthy and nourishing and which weren't, but I found that what worked for me at the time was not overly obsessing about any one thing. I had to learn to let go of food habits and rituals and crazy planning and dieting. And I did it.

The only thing that continued to nag at me was that as a result, I became afraid of making any major changes to my diet. I was afraid to do anything that could translate itself in restriction, comparison, and ultimately spiral back into fear.

This year I've been working really hard on body image, thanks to some amazing guidance and tools provided by Caroline, and I feel the strongest I ever have. Not only that, I have started to really crave nourishing foods and to crave kicking chemicals, etc. I've started to make some small, healthy tweaks to my diet that are not limiting, but rather things to add in or swap in when I feel like it. I'm in no way restricting, and still letting myself eat whatever I feel like.

Instead, I really feel like I'm listening to my body and what it wants to thrive.

Here are a few of the things I'm working on incorporating or eliminating:

  • Cutting out caffeine- Caffeine was a really tough one for me. For years I've had a HUGE coffee or two in the morning at work, and felt like I couldn't get to lunch without it. Then, I'd have one or two diet cokes. Now, I have a tea in the morning, sometimes with a small bit of caffeine, and no more diet cokes. It was super tough at first, but I feel so much less anxiety and more alive. It feels great to shake that dependence.
  • Apple n Greens smoothie from Jamba Juice

    Adding in more greens- whether through adding in spinach when I'm making dinner or throwing some kale into a smoothie, I'm trying to get in as many new greens as possible.

  • Finding more nourishing breakfasts- I'm a fan of cereal, but it may be the least nutritious meal out there. I wanted to find an option that actually made me feel like I was fueling my body. Lately I've been turning to gluten-free oatmeal with chia seeds, cinnamon, and some fruit. Today, I made my first mason jar steel cut oats.
  • Swapping in brown rice or quinoa pasta- Italian cooking is huge in my family and I'm no exception. I've been doing whole grain pasta for a while, but recently was turned on to the idea of cutting out unnecessary gluten by trying alternative pasta types. Turns out, they're just as good! And they make me feel better.
  • Whole Milk- this is a really tough one for me as it's been ingrained in my mind that skim milk is the only way to go if you want to be fit. But, since I've been eating healthier breakfasts, I have been using less milk and trying to just put a bit of whole milk in to cut down on hormones and processing. So far, so good.

Leaving the oats out to cook after 3 minutes of simmering.

The finished product- delicious!

For me, it's all about small, simple changes and moderation. I'll still have plenty of days where I eat regular pasta, or have cereal for breakfast because I feel like it. But I feel great knowing the foods that I'm choosing are contributing to my well being in a big way.

And it feels amazing to have kicked such a big food fear in my life.


P.S. it's tough for me to talk about my past eating disorder, but it's also incredibly important to me to be honest, vulnerable and to own my story. If you or someone you know is looking for help, here are a few incredible resources that helped me:

  • Life Without Ed- an amazing book that is eye-opening if you're in the midst of or recovering from an eating problem.
  • Mary Dye- a wonderful and caring nutritionist in the city
  • Erin Cohen- A counselor and great listener, whose support helped me to work through a lot of my early 20s anxiety.

Battling Impatience & Building Self-Trust

I received this email this morning from the lovely Jamie Greenwood, and it really speaks to a theme that I'm finding myself facing at the moment. She wrote:

“Just tell me!”, I pleaded.

“I can’t, my love.  There’s no more thinking to be done,” she said.

“No really,” I begged. “There must be a structure, an outline, a plan to follow. Others have come before. There must be a right way!”

“Yes,” she said, “Others have. And the “rightness” of their path, as with each, is personal. Not universal.

“You must venture out. Test. Play. Slow. Sprint. Feel. Open. Pray to the heavens fall to the ground come up with nothing and go again, until the foundation under your feet firms until the light rims the clouds as bright, golden thread, until you weep and laugh, together, for nothing and everything, until the voice, your divine voice, rises from the shelter behind your sternum, golden itself to say, ‘I’ve been waiting for you. Take my hand, my dear, and we’ll travel together the rest of the way.’

“And when will THAT happen?” I pressed.

“When you trust,” she said.

I think we all know that feeling: the challenge of WAITING for the thing you most desire to happen to you. Whether it seems that life keeps putting mountains in the way of achieving it, or you just feel like you lack control, it can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences life throws at us.

Most of my adult life has felt like an endless waiting room in line for my own personal 'white whale': the love of my life. And as time goes on, it's easy to replace what was once hopefuly exuberance with fear and impatience. I'm fearful of never finding the deep, lasting love I crave.  I’m afraid if I don’t, my life will be perceived as a failure- by myself, and by my peers. I'm afraid that I'm not doing enough, doing too much, and am generally unable to move myself forward.

In that fear, I feel powerless and volatile, easily thrown back and forth from faith to fear by external circumstances.

But despite my struggles with patience, I'm beginning to realize that it isn't giving up or losing. It's trusting in grace.

Last week I went to see an astrologer with co-workers, an outing that we had planned for "fun." The two women who went with me are both solidified in deep, close-to-married relationships with their partners, and their chart readings matched up to that quite neatly. Mine, however, felt like a setback. The astrologer opened my charts and immediately asked me if I was single. After a series of concerned clucks, she mentioned that my "7th house of relationships" is plagued by Uranus until 2018, meaning that I will essentially not find a committed love until then. "I used to curse and curse and curse Uranus," she cried. "but, better than to start a marriage that will end in divorce." She encouraged me to work on myself (umm... haven't I been doing that already?), and to watch out for people who aren't who they say they are. Great.

To say this news wasn't thrilling is obvious.

I felt at once both vindicated (ah, so this is why my ex wouldn't commit!) and terrified (I have to wait four years to meet the one?! I'll be 31!). My trust in the universe shattered.

I felt myself on the verge of complete panic at times. The universe was CONSPIRING to keep me from finding a mate until 2018. I was a victim! It wasn't fair. How could I survive in "unconventional" relationships, or worse, ALONE, for four more years?!

Then I realized... I have a choice. Well, two choices in this case.

1. I can choose my beliefs. 

I can choose to believe the astrologer's unhappy news. I can choose to believe that I am powerless to the universe. I can choose to be completely and utterly afraid that the next four years of my life are going to be difficult in love.

OR- I can have faith. I can believe in my own personal power, and the power of the universe to support me in my intentions.  I can go inward rather than defining my belief system by what others say.


2. I can let patience flow through faith and grace.

I can fight against my own impatience and continue to berate myself for not finding love yet.

OR- I can trust that love is coming, and find pleasure in the patience. I can let go of fear and worry that I'm not deserving of amazing love as I am. I can love myself fully and commit to the belief that a wonderful and loving relationship is coming to me, guaranteed.


It's EASY to believe in what other's tell you. 

It's BRAVE to choose to believe in your story and to put trust and faith in yourself.


So today, I choose not to believe in what the astrologist said.

I choose to believe in love.

I choose to have faith.

I choose to trust in me, and in a higher power that leads me to bliss each day.

Not in some limitations imposed by my birth coordinates and planetary... stuff. Not fear of the unknown. And certainly not fear of what others want me to believe.

I trust that when it happens, whether in one year or four or ten, it will have been for a real, true, and positive reason. It will be part of the perfect path of my life.


Fighting the Mean Bitch: Where I get really honest about body image

It's no secret that as women, we all have a chip on our shoulders about our body image. Some chips are larger than others, and mine have been gargantuan at times. I've worked really, really hard to get to a healthy place with how I feel about my shape and size, and I would say at this point, I'm happy with who I am and how I look 85% of the time. But, that other 15% can be BRUTAL. Most of the time that 15% comes into play when I'm feeling out of balance. When I'm tired, I suffer. As much as I like to go out and socialize as much as possible, if I don't give myself at least one night of me time and lots of rest, I feel out of sorts and less well equipped to fight the anxiety monster. The bottom line: when I'm cranky, I criticize myself. Sometimes it's really hard to maintain the balance, especially when I'm feeling pulled in 100 directions and don't want to let anyone, or myself, down. But taking a step back is crucial. And if I don't, I end up in a bad spiral, with that Mean Bitch in my Brain singing a chorus of "oh my goodness, my stomach looks bloated" or "oh man, I really need to put in a harder work out, I've been too easy on myself" or "my arm looks SO FAT in that picture!" And with that soundtrack playing, it's almost impossible to feel good about yourself.

I've come a LONG, LONG way. I exercise, but in moderation. I don't beat myself up when I miss a day at the gym. I speak kindly to myself, with loving eyes, as much as possible. I don't worry about dieting, but I integrate healthy foods that make me feel nourished without restricting myself entirely. I take time to be active in ways I enjoy, without a rigid "30 minute" limit: citibike, long walks, and soul cycle are three of my favorites. I fight the urge to compare my body to others. And I feel good, most of the time. But, every once in a while, I fall back into the Mean Bitch soundtrack. Last week was one of those once in a whiles.

Luckily, I was able to mostly shake it off, but I did notice something this morning that I think can be a helpful tool for women having an "I feel fat and I don't know how to stop criticizing myself" day, week, month, or even moment.

I'm in the midst of an E-cubed experiment that focuses on changing our tune when we wake up in the morning. If you haven't read E-squared or E-cubed, I highly encourage it! The books are an amazing example of the power we all possess, and our innate capacity for miracles. So today, I was extra mindful of my wake up routine -- and I noticed something KIND OF AWFUL. Each morning before getting in the shower, I do a quick "how do I look" evaluation on my body. I check to see how bloated I feel, how flat my stomach is looking that day, & anything else that I might be concerned about.

What I realized: Basically, I'm starting each day reinforcing my fears and concerns about weight gain. I'm continually emphasizing a limiting belief that skinniness is fleeting and can change at any moment, from one day to the next. And, I can tell you that the days I'm looking at myself with fear in my eyes, I'll find something to feel bad about. Why would I want to set the tone for my entire day this way?

Today, I instead started my day by saying "Thank You." I put on one of my favorite happy jams ("Classic" by The Knocks), I danced in the shower, I sang, I pumped my fists. I celebrated the joy of the day. And, I did my best to not feel the need to look in the mirror and make sure I hadn't gained 5 pounds overnight.

And I can tell you that today I feel like myself. I feel grateful, I feel fit, and I feel comfortable and happy.

And that's about as much as I can hope for.

The bitch has been silenced.


The Dear Abby Principle (aka universe please provide me guidance)

rumi intuition When I first started exploring alternative spirituality, one of the first books that I read with a friend was E-squared, a collection of nine energy experiments meant to prove just how much you're connected to and able to manipulate the energy field that is our world.

To say it was a mind-blowing experience is an understatement. I would highly recommend the book and the experiments, and doing it with a friend! It was really fun to compare notes at the end of each experiment, most of which take only 48 hours or less.

One of the principles that has really stuck with me is The Dear Abby Principle. The idea is that you have access to unlimited guidance and answers from within, and relies heavily on intuition, which is an incredibly powerful idea in itself. To access this intuition, all you need to do is basically surrender your question to the universe and trust that the answer will come.

I have to say, this is a principle that I continue to enact and see results with when I have a tough decision to make. And currently, I am facing a fairly difficult one for me. I got invited to an engagement party / welcome to NYC party by a good friend of mine, and I really want to be there to celebrate the happiness. However, my ex is going to be there too... and I don't know if I'm ready to face him. I am really afraid of falling back down the rabbit hole of missing him, especially since I've made such great progress lately. I really don't see any upside in seeing him, but I don't want to let my friends down or miss out on their special moment. It's a joyous occasion that I wish wasn't in some ways tainted by the black cloud of my ex.

I've asked a lot of friends for advice on this, and as much as it's really great to talk it out, I think it's compounded my anxiety and really clouded my mind, creating a larger issue than it needs to be. So, universe, I surrender. I'm waiting for my clear, unquestionable answer.

Will report back!


UPDATE: I really had to go with my gut on this one... and my gut SURPRISED ME! On Saturday I felt strong and safe enough to go, despite all of the advice against it. And well, it really worked out. I went to the party, spent about an hour there, and just as I was leaving, saw my ex from across the bar. We exchanged waves, I got out of there, and went about the rest of my evening unscathed.

It was pretty freeing to know that I could go and enjoy myself without fear, and also that I could see him and not be sent into a spiral of emotional turmoil.

So there you have it!

What I Gained

If you know me, you know that I'm very, very open to all kinds of self help and exploration, and have dabbled in just about everything. I think it feeds my curious soul, intellectual need to dig in, and also my somewhat perfectionistic tendencies [which I am working on!]. So. Lately this is manifesting itself in seeing a life coach, whom I actually really love! More on that another time.

In a recent discussion, she suggested that I change the tune about my break-up by focusing on my gratitudes for the relationship and what I can say I've learned and gained from the experience. She says, and I agree, that all relationships are put into our lives for a reason, so while this one didn't end up being the end all, be all, there is certainly much to gain from the experience.

rumi quote be grateful

Here are the things that I gained:

1. The confidence to try new things and put myself out there

If there is one thing my ex is great at, it is just going with it - meeting new people, going to all kinds of events with or without company, he's pretty much down to try anything. I've always been much more reserved and nervous about making myself feel vulnerable in new situations, but he inspired me to get out there and try, to not be afraid to make a connection with a stranger or do something that is out of my comfort zone. And the more I try, the more I see it's not such a scary world after all.

2. New musical interests

Music was a huge part of our relationship, and we both have a lot in common in terms of musical preferences. However, I can easily say that dating introduced me to some of my favorite artists and podcasts. Especially Daft Punk!

3. A boost towards greater self-love- and the start of a journey

When we were together, I felt better about myself than I had in a long time- I think because I started to see myself the way that he saw me. I'm now striving to see myself that way without needing outside validation, but I really believe that he boosted me into feeling like more of a beautiful, interesting, and impressive person than I had felt before. And while it was incredibly difficult, our break-up catapulted a lot of self learning, and a lot of really important exploration for me. I don't know if I would have ever found such important resilience, spiritual growth, and tools to cultivate self love. I'm still learning and growing, but in ways I couldn't have imagined on my own.

4. The knowledge I have the capacity to really, truly love - and go the distance for it.

I had ended all of my previous serious relationships, because after a while, I realized the love wasn't lasting or there for me anymore- but often only after quite a long time of trying to force it and/or beating myself up. I was really hard on myself for walking away from great guys, and thought there was something wrong with me - that maybe I'd never fully be able to feel the kind of love that doesn't waiver. I was pretty young and naive at that time, with a lot of self struggle to overcome, but I definitely learned in this situation what real love feels like, and how I want to feel [and THEN SOME!] with the person I end up with. Love takes work, you have to really be willing to give it your all, and now I know that I can.

5. Love for Los Angeles and some wonderful memories

Not much color commentary to add here- my visits to LA were some of my favorite, I'll always look back on them fondly. I built a bond with a city I didn't think I'd ever really care for.

6. A tough, but important lesson that [to get all Above and Beyond-y on you], love is not enough sometimes.

I have always been under the single-minded belief that love conquers all, is the most important thing, etc. etc. And while I still very much believe in the power of love (what up, Celine?), I now know that that emotional connection isn't a fix all. It doesn't mean that fundamental issues like not wanting the same things in life will magically fade away. It doesn't change a person, fundamentally. It isn't as easy as love at first sight-- though it certainly can be, when it's the right person.

7. Incredible depth of friendship [& how important that is to me]

One of the areas where my ex and I really differ is in depth of friendship -- he has many, many friends and tries to spend his time equally, I tend to stick more to my core group of friends and value building deeper emotional connections and shared memories. In reflecting on this, I've learned just how important and how satisfying these relationships are in my life. Also, I can't say enough how floored I was and continue to be by the incredible love and support friends and family have shown me through this challenge. I am so, so lucky, and the depths of my friendships continue to grow, even more so because of this experience. I love you all!!

8. That it's important to set personal boundaries, and stand up for ME.

As women, I think we've all heard the old adage that men like to do the chasing, that we should be laid back and act aloof and let them come around to realizing how much they need us in their lives. FUCK. THAT. Honestly, I can and probably will write a diatribe about this ridiculous school of thought, holding women back from being themselves and feeling that they can express their needs. But I'll save that for later. What I can say is that - the entire time that I was with my ex, he refused to call me his girlfriend. And I wasn't okay with that, but I made myself be okay with it. I figured that as long as he was good to me and played the part, the words didn't matter and would come in time. I now know that it's incredibly important to set boundaries and to express my needs. It may not have kept him around for longer, but I would have wasted a lot less time on a person who wasn't willing to meet me halfway. Today, I value and respect ME, and trust myself to set boundaries and listen to my heart.

The highs and lows of Coachella

If you know anyone who has gone to Coachella, you've probably heard the standard run down of the experience: it was awesome, epic, life changing, beautiful, insane music, the "best weekend ever." And while some of this enthusiasm is totally true, and totally warranted, I've found that it's often accompanied secret seeds of doubt, regret, or general displeasure. That's right, blog friends. I feel I can trust you and so I will reveal the truth of Coachella. It's fun, but it's exhausting. There are some really awesome moments and some moments where you can't help but think "can my body withstand one more DJ asking me to jump up and down?" "am I really comparing myself to that tiny hula hoop wielding girl?" or "wouldn't this be a little bit better if I had someone to help me wash my feet and hug me at the end of the night?". And I can tell you that after three years of going, once with a significant other and always at a different stage in the emotional maturity of my life, that the highs and lows are ever-present no matter the experience.

I'm not trying to be complainy. This blog is about practicing gratitude for all of the blessings in my life, and the ability to go to Coachella for vacation is definitely one of those blessings. However, this blog is also about being true to myself and loving myself no matter what - and today, that no matter what is secretly kind of love-hating a music festival.

On that note, here are the highs, lows, and in-betweens of Coachella 2014.

Some really great music. Of course, I got to experience some incredible sets this year. A few of my favorites (linked where possible):




Lana Del Rey

Girl Talk

Calvin Harris

The Head and The Heart


RL Grime

...and some really good friends. I really love my friends and got to spend some wonderful QT with them and make some serious memories. I wouldn't trade all of the jokes and laughs for anything. And we got to know a few new friends, who were all awesome.

Great outfit game. Coachella is part fashion show, part music festival, and though it can be completely overwhelming, my outfits were on point this year and I had a lot of fun frolicking in the sun, getting tan, and wearing bright flowery headbands. And getting ready with the girls in the house. No shame!

+ Great pics

coachella 3 coachella 5 coachella 6 coachella coachella2




























Constant group logistics: Unlike in years past, I wanted to spend as little time on my cell phone trying to find my friends as possible this year. So, I clung haplessly to my group, and avoided straying from group think as much as possible. As a result, I did miss a few shows I wanted to see, and also didn't get to catch-up with some of the people I really wanted to see. However, I DID spend significantly less time contemplating meeting spots.

Forcing ourselves through sets / FOMO: Kind of related to the point above, we literally forced ourselves to hang through one of the sets on Friday rather than expressing what we were all secretly thinking: this kind of sucks, let's go check something else out or better yet sit down and rest our sad, sad legs. Silly, but true. We all discussed how we wished we had had the balls to tell each other how much we were NOT enjoying this show, but didn't. That, and the fear that you're missing another amazing set by choosing one performance over another. It's really unavoidable but it still hurts.

Sneaky moments of anxiety: I don't know how exactly to pin point it. Perhaps it's the exhaustion, the over-crowding, the super high expectations and personal pressure I can put on myself at these sorts of things, the down time in between really good songs filled with mediocre songs, or the fact that my ex-boyfriend was parading around like he was captain of Coachella, but sometimes in the middle of the festival, you just feel sad and overwhelmed. I'm talking "what am I doing with my life" sad. And you just have to suck it up and move through it.

The zombie walk out of the festival: ~2 miles, in the desert, with thousands of other super spent festival goers. Enough said.

In sum, it is the best of times and the worst of times, but I will probably go back next year, this time with a clearer heart and some distance :).