Totes Perfect

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While cruising through the airport last week with my daily satchel stuffed so full it couldn’t zip shut, I had a realization. I need a flipping simple, roomy tote for traveling. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous how I continually attempt to stuff everything I own into a bag that isn’t meant for traveling around the country, and considering I’m leaving for South America in a few weeks, I need something now.

So, I did what I always do, and asked my Facebook page for recommendations, and boy, did they fly in. A favorite? The Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote. What a super versatile bag by a lovely brand, you guys. And the best part….the large size is $145. Not too shabby.

Some of the pros mentioned about this tote were that it’s classic, lasts forever, super lightweight, sturdy, roomy, and fits nicely on the shoulder. There were some cons mentioned too, such as the bag not having dividers (everything gets jumbled) and it doesn’t offer protection for a laptop so you need to have a laptop sleeve. I keep my laptop in a sleeve, and also use clear dividers by Truffle for organization so it shouldn’t be an issue. (I wrote about Truffle here.)

Some other totes mentioned were the OG and OMG by Lo & Sons (the 2nd most mentioned), nylon totes by Kate Spade, Rough & Tumble totes, the Twill Tote by Everlane, the Hailey Tote by LeSportsac, and the O’Hare Tote Bag by Want.

What tote do you use for travel? Do tell.



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Mindful Monday: What’s Your Story?

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At some point last week, the above quote popped up in my Instagram feed and stopped me in my tracks. (Don’t you just love when something great grabs hold of you and won’t let go?) That’s how I felt about this quote because, really, it’s just the truest of true. The stories that we tell ourselves…looping in our brains for years or even decades. And I’m here today to call it like it is. Many of the stories? Are outright lies.

Yet we listen to the stories. We ruminate over them…kneading them into 100 different editions in our minds. We pay such rapt attention to the thoughts that often keep us from meeting our full potential.

I can’t do that. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have enough time. I’m not doing enough for my family/clients/friends. I’ll be stuck in this crappy job forever. I’ll never find a mate. I’m never going to get well. I should have accomplished more by now. No one understands me. People don’t find me interesting. I’m not creative enough. My art is shit. I can’t lose the weight. My writing is horrible. I’ll never be as good as him/her. If I make them angry, they will leave me.

I think one or more of these thoughts have crossed most of our minds at some point. Unfortunately, these kind of thoughts can start to dictate lives. Isn’t the human experience such a blast sometimes?

I attended a meditation workshop this weekend as a part of my yoga teacher training, and while discussing working with our own thoughts, my instructor brought up the work of Byron Katie. Many of you might know of her – in a nutshell, her system (or “The Work,” as she calls it) is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the anger, fear, depression, addiction, and violence in the world.

What I love about Katie’s work is that it’s incredibly straight-forward. Four (seemingly) simple questions can create profound shifts in one’s thinking rapidly. So, what are the questions?

First off, think of a thought that troubles you or stresses you out or makes you feel like crap. Then apply these questions to that thought.

The Four Questions:

1) Is it true?

2) Can you absolutely know it’s true?

3) How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? Who you you become?

4) Who would you be without the thought?

After answering those questions, turn that thought around to make it positive. Then keep reminding yourself. Again and again.

For example, a thought I’ve had too many times to count over the past couple of years is that I will never feel completely well again. So, let’s take a look at the questions.

I will never feel completely well again.

1. Is it true? I don’t know.

2. Can I absolutely know it’s true? No. 

3. Who do I become when I have that thought? Fearful, worried, stressed, and unable to enjoy myself.

4. Who would I be without that thought? Happier, less worried, and, well, carefree.

Turnaround statement: I feel pretty good now, and will continue to improve.

The questions are where the truth really lies for me – the answers are right there, staring me in the face. The turnaround statement is the way to keep me from ruminating on the negative thought. The minute I start telling myself that familiar story, I immediately replace with the turnaround.

I watched several peers work through some of their most stress-inducing thoughts with these questions this weekend and come out feeling completely empowered. Seeing things in a different light, so to speak. I watched eyes light up when they discovered their “turnaround” statement and said it out loud.

I hope you try it out when you feel trapped by one of your “stories.” Can you imagine how different our lives would be if we didn’t possess the ability to engage these thoughts? Which would you prefer—life with or without your bullshit story? Without? Then let’s get cracking on eliminating it for good.



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Eat This: Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Peas

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While I’m galavanting around California this week, please feel free to make this delicious business. You won’t be sorry.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Peas with Mustard and Parsely from It’s All Good

Ingredients:

14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil with a big pinch of salt and a few healthy grinds of black pepper.
While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

I can’t get enough of this dish, you guys. SO GOOD. Enjoy!



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Odds and Ends

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1. What a lovely way to approach the new year. image credit: kristen delap

2. You all, I am simply fascinated by this article and Dr. Aron’s study on falling in love. Can you truly make two people fall in love by having them answer these 36 questions in one setting? Surely not. However, I feel the need to bust on up to a stranger and try it out. Maybe at my next airport layover? (Kidding, honey.) Will someone do this and report back?

3. Incredibly useful healthy-eating charts and graphics right here.

4. Lipstick alert. First off, Beautycounter just came out with a lip sheer in scarlet red. It looks gorgeous and we all know how much I like the lip sheers. Also! While doing research on safe lip color, I realized that the MAC Lustre lipsticks score surprisingly low on the EWG’s Skin Deep website. This excites me greatly because I love their tremendous color selection. I picked up Syrup and Plumful and can’t deal with how much I love both of the shades. (Also, Viva Glam V is about the best pinkish-nude out there.) What’s your favorite MAC lipstick shade?

5. Did you see this article on the declining divorce rate? Promising.

6. The 35 best times someone on Facebook thought The Onion was real. HAHAAAAAA.

7. Since my clothing/accessory shopping days are over until late March, I’m just going to make you buy stuff instead. Did you see this reversible tote? Black AND cognac brown? For 48 bucks? DO IT.

I’m heading to Dallas for a couple of days followed by a quick trip back to the beach. Can’t wait to soak up some California sun, folks. Enjoy your weekend!



COMMENTS (20)