Girl's Night In

How often do you gather your girlfriends for a night of pampering? Once every few months? Once in a blue moon? How about once a month? 

Part of being generous this month is being generous with my friendships. I've been meeting as many new people as I can in our new/old town and working hard to cultivate friendships. It's not easy for me; I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a very good friend. But it's something I'm working hard to change. It's not easy for me to plan playdates, or just meet someone and walk away. I want to have something planned, on the books, a concrete event where I can say "hey, I'm having some people over Friday night and I'd love for you to join us!" Simple as that. 

It's way easier than stalking someone at the park for months and waiting for the stars to align for an opportunity to make plans to see each other. Having a monthly girl's night ready to go is a quick and easy way to always have something to invite a new friend to!

There's a lot of fun and simple ways to create a little girl's night: backyard BBQ, a fire pit and a couple bottles of wine, facial party, brunch. Summer is just ripe for quick outdoor gatherings that don't have to be complicated or involve fancy anything.

I love sharing my Beautycounter stash with friends. It's a fun way to pamper ourselves over a mimosa or sparkling water and get a little deeper with each other. There's something special that happens when women pop over in yoga pants, wash off their makeup and are all sitting around in different colored facial masks. How much are we hiding behind our eyeliner and skinny jeans? How deeper could we connect if we purposefully let all of that go for an evening and just sat with each other? Sharing our stories, our worries, our hopes, struggles? Let our hair down, our guard down, and see what we're hiding under the surface. All while getting a healthier skincare routine? Count me in!

To make things simple for anyone wanting to host their own makeup-free yoga pants party, I have a handful of care packages ready to go. I've included a cleanser so you can wash the week off of you, little bottles of facial masks & mists to refresh yourself and look really silly with your friends. Also included is a simple beautiful invitation that you can email or text to get the word out. 

girls-night-care-package

I have 5 girl's night care packages ready to mail out! Enter your info below and you'll receive an email within 48 hours with shipping details & invitation files and you'll be having your girl's night by the end of the week (or whenever you want)!

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*FYI: As a bit of an activist, I fell hard and fast for how clean and strict BeautyCounter is with their product ingredients, as well as how effective they have been on my skin, hair, and makeup routines. I decided to become a consultant which I swore I would never do, but only because I get to be a part of a really amazing team of women and make a small impact on the skincare world! The product discount doesn’t hurt either ;) Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the products or if you want to inquire about joining the movement!

The Path

I've been meaning to write but the words aren't coming. My head has been a jumble of thoughts and ideas and words that I can't seem to make sense of or put down on paper. I walk around all day asking myself 'what am I doing with my life?' 'what do I want from my life?' 'how can I be content?' and it's hard to share anything else in this space when my head is flooded with those half-baked thoughts. 

On top of my busy monkey brain (I meditate almost daily but still can't shut it off) I'm taking care of 2 sick children, had a house guest last weekend and my MacBook Air decided to finally die on me Monday morning. So sitting down to write anything has been even more of a challenge. I like to stay on top of things here. Plan blog posts at least a few weeks in advance and generally I keep to that schedule. But lately, the words aren't there. I look at my calendar and don't want to write what I had planned to write. Don't want to write anything, for that matter. My energies are being pulled in 100 different directions in this season and I can't seem to take a minute to breathe let alone update this blog.

I think the problem is that I have a lot of things that I want to do. A lot of things that I hope to do and plan to do but I don't know where they lead. What the end looks like. And it's difficult to start out on a path when you don't know where it leads. It's difficult to put all of your eggs in this one basket not knowing if the end result will be fruitful or be what you wanted or where you imagined going. Difficult isn't the right word. Terrifying, anxiety-inducing, scary as hell. But the joy is in the doing. Sure it's easy to step off the path when you can't see where it leads, but if you enjoy the steps along the way, it won't matter where it leads. You'll have those experiences, that knowledge that you earned along the way. No matter the outcome. 

It's easy in this age and in this place to be temped by things and paths that are immediately satisfying. Taking the easy way out has never been, well, easier. A thousand different ways to have an identity that I've been longing to have right at my fingertips. But do I want any of those? Or do I want to work hard, take the scenic route, and finally get what I've been looking for? It's time to put on blinders. To keep my head down. To not be distracted by shiny new things. Keep taking steps along this path that I've created for myself even though I can't see where it leads. Stay the course, do the work. Whatever happens in the end, it'll all be worth it because it will have been what I wanted. Not what came easily, not what looked 'cool', not what everyone else was doing. It will be an outcome of my own making, or just a really great lesson learned along the way.


A Simple Evening

Entertaining is something I love to plan for. Making a menu, gathering linens and napkins, creating a tablescape. But when it comes to execution, I often falter. Actually pulling it all together and not letting my social anxiety cancel plans? That's a whole other story. So when I as asked to share a bit of backyard entertaining I knew it would be incredibly exciting while at the same time, incredibly difficult. 

Instead of a big elaborate backyard bash I had in my head, I switched gears. I listened to what my body, my soul, my brain needed and instead made Sunday night dinner at home a little more exciting. We dined outside, put on a little music, and stayed up a little too late. An evening with friends is fantastic, but making an evening with family just a little more special? That's what we needed.

With a little bit of effort, it's surprisingly simple to pull together a fun evening. We partnered with Personalization Mall and had the added bonus of fun summery beer glasses and a tub that would otherwise be filled with ice and drink but Theodore found it and decided he'd rather use it for his seat. A special evening or gathering doesn't have to include fancy linens or dishes. You don't have to include 4 courses and wine pairings and a 3-layer dessert. But a nice slate cheese board doesn't hurt ;) 

Recipe for a simple evening:

  • 1 night to treat a little special
  • A sprinkle of drinks
  • A splash of good food
  • A few good friends or family
  • And if you're feeling fancy, these gifts from Personalization Mall

Ed. note: This post was sponsored by Personalization Mall. The compensation received in exchange for placement on Life By Bri is used to purchase props, write/edit the blog post and support the larger team behind Life By Bri.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow for the development of additional original content to be produced, without sponsorship. Thank you for supporting our partners!


Generous Adventuring

June is all about being generous.

Generous with yourself, generous with your time, you energies, your wallet. Generous with you intentions, with your family, with your patience.

As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, it's really difficult for me to find generosity for myself. To let go, to give myself what I need, to be calm and easy-going.

One Saturday morning around 9am we decided to make a trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). We didn't plan the day before, didn't have anything ready to go, I wasn't even dressed for the day. But we loaded up the car quickly and headed off. 

On a normal day, I would have been filled with anxiety. 'What about nap times?' 'What will we get for lunch?' 'There's going to be so much traffic!' 'How will they be entertained long enough to actually have fun?' But something about the abrupt nature of this trip and our last-minute decision to go made it more of an adventure than a big family outing. I've been working these past few months on being generous with myself. Giving myself space when I need it, taking a few extra minutes in the shower, asking for help with the dishes. This adventure I was generous with myself in a different way.

I didn't let my anxieties take over. All the things I was worried about I decided to let go. When Theodore got fussy in the children's gallery, I took him out in the courtyard and walked around with him. I nursed him at a cafe table without a cover, without a proper nursing top (ie: my midriff was exposed). I stood by that table for 10 straight minutes while Theodore pushed around one of the chairs. Around and around and around. I followed his lead. And later when the big kids were finished painting, we followed their lead again. Went at their pace, gave them space. 

I gave freely of affection, of patience, of time. We weren't rushed, we saw everything and did everything we wanted. We spent nearly 3 hours walking around LACMA. We skipped naps and didn't eat lunch until well after 1pm on our way home. We enjoyed ourselves like we hadn't been able to before.


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5-25 Rule

warren-buffet-25-5

Have you heard of Warren Buffett's 5-25 rule? It's a way of helping focus time, intentions, energy to increase productivity and ultimately happiness. You make a list of the 25 things you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Now this can be applied to your career, your personal life, your wardrobe, anything you can imagine. Anything that's important to you, anything that takes up your time and energy. I chose to make my list all-encompassing (mainly because I had trouble coming up with 25 'professional' things and 25 'personal' things. So I combined them all in to one master list. Once you have your list of 25, circle the 5 that are most important to you. Or, in my case, cross off the 20 things that are of least importance. For me, it worked better this way to eliminate the bottom of the list first. Then forget about the other 20. Just let them fall away and don't even think about them anymore. 

Here's one thing that Warren Buffett's rule didn't take in to account: priorities change. Weeks, months, years, you priorities will change. Those five things you circled may not be what you want anymore. They may not be your top 5 things. And that's OK. You're allowed to change you mind. Adjust. Reassess. 

warren-buffet-25-5

I tried this 5-25 rule three times over the course of one month. And my list was different every time. Most of the 25 things were the same (with a few exceptions), but my top 5 varied pretty drastically. I did the list once and a week later decided to try it again because I was feeling completely different about my priorities. Then, when the top 5 things were almost completely different, I decided to wait another week and do it again. From there, I took those 15 things (the top 5 from each time I did the list) and circled the top 5 from there. Maybe I'm a little crazy, maybe I love lists, maybe I'm just really thorough, but it really worked for me that 3rd time.

What startled me about my 5 things was how I had been spending so much time on things I had crossed off. So much energy and effort placed in areas I didn't consider to be my top 5. And 5 is a lot, you know? 5 is a great number of things to accomplish. So why was I consistently spending so much time on so many other things? I'm working through this question but so far my answer is this: I don't know myself well enough. I don't know what I want, who I want to be, or where I want to go with my life. If you're trying to come up with your 5 things and feeling incredibly stuck, I have one simple suggestion:

Read. And make sure you feel every feeling. I've taken on this new practice of reading scores of books, articles, magazines, etc about the things that interest me. If some particular piece evokes a deep sensation (usually ending in tears or goosebumps), I read more. If something doesn't light me up in that way, I set it aside and focus on something else. But the key is, I think, to keep reading those things that give you all the feelings. Keep being inspired, stay in awe, motivated, determined. Otherwise the things you set aside will creep up again and try to steal your attention. Don't let that happen. Focus on what fills you up. And don't be afraid to toss aside something that doesn't. Or once did. Or deserves a break.

Have you tried this?? I would love to hear how it affected your priorities. Or, if you're feeling generous, share your top 5 things and we can cheer you on together!