the universe has your back : gabrielle bernstein

UniversehasyourbackI've been a Gabby Bernstein fan since I read her first book, Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness. I've even traveled to see her speak & had one of her books signed. It's fair to say that her books were instrumental in me surviving the first few pre-&-post divorce years. Her latest book releases today. I was fortunate to receive an advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review, so here goes...

what I loved: I have Gabby quotes tucked pretty much everywhere. I added to that collection with this book. Quick mantras to repeat either while sitting or while simply taking a few deep breaths...

The miracle isn't how well we avoid fear; the miracle is how quickly we return to love.

I focus my attention on the love that is around me, and I expect miracles.

I am love and miracles are natural. I welcome healing of the highest good.

Thank you, Universe, for transforming limitation and doubt into creative possibilities. 

Overall, this is classic Gabby - reminders & exercises to choose love over fear, and to accept the guidance of the Universe. There's a hint of older & wiser woven into her stories. She continues to make the teachings of A Course in Miracles accessible and more modern, which is awesome.

what I left: I've gotten a sense that Gabby has become a tad bit diva-ish as she has become more successful. I'm thrilled for her success, but found the vibe of privilege a bit off-putting at times. Along with a hint of older & wiser, I got a hint of contrived this time around. Perhaps that's b/c I'm much older (albeit not much wiser) than Gabby? Anyway, it's a minor "complaint." 

The Universe has Your Back on Amazon.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this post.

2 years...


2 years ago, I met a guy with a fresh tattoo (who took his shirt off 30 seconds after show me said tattoo) at a dinner arranged by mutual friends. I could tell you, in exacting detail, about that dinner...Dan laughs that I remember so much. It's easier to sum it up with this...

We met. And in an instant...we knew

He is my best friend. He knows how to make me laugh. He knows when I need comfort. He knows what drives me crazy (and yet STILL insists on scraping the fork with his teeth). He appreciates me. He acknowledges me. He is smarter than me, for sure, which is a challenge that I had long craved. He teaches me, and learns from me. We both brought our whole lives into this relationship...the "messy middle" as Brene Brown calls it...and we've endured the chaos & struggle that sometimes comes along with that. And two years later, we understand that this is it, and it is perfect

So much love for this guy. He's definitely my favorite.


hello (mid) september 2016


(insert some cliched comment about time moving quickly here)

Hello to one more week of Whole 30. Absolutely counting the days. 

Hello travel. After taking a break from travel in August, I'm back at it. Although I love travel, being in California for less than 24hrs between flights this week was not my favorite. 

Hello celebrations. Dan celebrates 42, and my Dad old are you Dad?? Dan & I celebrate 2 years together.

Hello fall weather (sometimes). We're still needing to turn the AC on now & then, but it's definitely leaning towards fall. The morning light has such a different feel. Yes, I feel light...don't you?

Hello audio books. Listening to Love Warrior now, with Present over Perfect on deck. I still have more to finish from my summer reading list, and that's okay with me.

Hello stillness. As life keeps life-ing, I crave quiet & stillness. Sitting in meditation more. Noticing my breathing more. 

What have you already said hello to this month?



Whole 30® - more than halfway through!


Thoughts from Day 18 of Whole 30®...

  • Even though I was eating fairly clean before...the strict rules of this program are no joke. Sneaky sugar is EVERYWHERE. Why in the world does dried fruit needed added sugar??
  • Commercially available salmon jerky is hard to find. Trader Joe's jerky has brown sugar, and Epic Bars are way too peppery. 
  • NSVs (non-scale victories)...I'm sleeping better, I bought size 0 jeans, and I haven't killed anyone yet. 
  • I miss wine.
  • A lot of the social media around Whole 30® bugs the crap out of me. I cringe when I read "dump ranch"- which is a Paleo version of ranch dressing. I also cringe when people cheer over how much "dump ranch" they are using. Gross. 
  • I eliminated eggs, almonds, and radishes about a week ago, after receiving some food intolerance test results. As a pescetarian, doing Whole 30® without eggs feels extra challenging. 
  • I've survived 3 dinners out (called ahead to discuss specific restrictions), and will be taking Whole 30® on the road at the end of the weekend.
  • I'm starting to think about post-Whole 30® plans, and leaning toward a Paleo-at-home mindset.

Happy weekend, y'all!

so long, #summer2016...

It's the un-official last weekend of summer, and our house seems very quiet. We've had a steady stream of houseguests, travel, bigs, and littles over the past few months. It's all added up to be a season of love, light, and so much fun.


I got to spend time with two of my very best friends in California in June. Love these girls.


We used our #partyatthepalace hashtag for co-worker get-togethers, a neighborhood Lake Ladies night, and a couple of summer wine-downs.


We went to parades, ate burgers on the deck, and laughed over mojitos during Iris's July visit. 


We ate breakfast at The Spot often.


Barb came to visit!!


We had all four Bigs & Littles together for the first time ever!


Hope took a break from tree-planting to come home for a visit, then headed back to Canada with Noah.


We met up with Nick & Kathy for a little Vegas fun. 


Yay for another Bubbe visit!


The Littles soaked up time with Austin (who spent much of his summer recovering from micro-fractures in his shoulder...ouch).


We welcomed Emily and Nate, and then sent all three back to British Columbia to start their 2nd year of university.


And we had ridiculous amounts of laughter with my brother. 

Hey were pretty awesome.


changing it up with Whole30®...

Veg cutting board

I have experimented with a handful of eating "programs" over the last few years. I've done vegan challenges, raw challenges, no-alcohol challenges, and even (believe it or not), a no-coffee challenge. I find that challenges are the best way to mix things up for me, and to keep me out of wacky thinking when it comes to food. For example...I came into August counting macros, and instead ended up somewhat obsessed with numbers instead of real food (and consuming WAY TOO MUCH protein powder as a result). I think macros (& protein) are SUPER important...the counting of them just makes me a little/lot nutty. I also had a recent discussion with my naturopath about food intolerances. Austin has removed dairy from his diet due to food intolerance test results, and Dan has a short list of foods that he avoids for the same reason (that was not a short joke, babe). 

I had heard about the Whole30® a few times before...likely through social media. To be honest, my first impression of the program was that it was a diet and that it was unnecessarily restrictive (and thus unsustainable). I also knew that it resembled Paleo eating, and thought that it wouldn't "work" for me b/c I don't eat meat. 

I was wrong on almost all accounts  (only "right" about it resembling Paleo eating). When it popped back up on my radar recently, I decided to actually read about the program. Y'know, instead of assuming that I knew all about it from an Instagram or two. 

Rather than explaining the program to you, please click here to read the official information. The website offers the program, and tons of resources, for FREE. 

I started my Whole30® yesterday. A few co-workers (+ Dan's mom!) will join me next week. I am committed to being in integrity for 30 dairy, no added sugars (of any kind), no grains, no legumes, no alcohol, no "faked foods" made with approved ingredients. I don't eat meat, but I do eat seafood, so I'll focus on fish & eggs for protein. 

I've gotten some interesting reactions (resistance) from folks when I've talked about program. Lots of "but I can't give up _____!" Yes, you probably can. Lots of reactions to no alcohol. Uhm, if you can't give up alcohol for 30 days, you might want to find a meeting. Lots of "but I really like bread/cheese/wine/ice cream." Yeah, me too! And, the standard disclaimer...if you have some medical issue/medication that might be impacted by a program like this, please just talk your doctor. Or better yet, a naturopath. 

Thoughts on day two of the program (still totally a beginner!)....

  • I like ghee. Since dairy is not allowed, butter is out...but ghee (clarified butter) is A-ok. I buy mine at Trader Joe's.
  • Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Some people haven't really read the program in full. Some people have, and just ignore parts of it. Some people think that 2 florets of broccoli make a serving. Sigh.
  • The internet IS a good source of ideas. I'm looking to Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs for inspiration...but I'm still fact checking back to the main site (and the Whole30® book).
  • I am not doing this to lose weight. It's possible that I will, and that's cool. I'm really doing this for the elimination aspect. Particularly heading into fall/winter/SAD season. I should have blood tests results back in the next week or so, and I'm really curious to see what food intolerances pop up.
  • Prep is key. All the chopping of vegetables takes time. I'm grateful that Dan is doing the bulk of it for me. Love that guy. I also splurged a little on things like mini-guacamole cups from Costco, just to make prep a bit easier.

So, now you know what I'm up to for the next 30 days! I blew it on that whole "blog 3x per week" thing, but I do promise that I'll pop back here to let you know how it's going. For reals. 

Oh, and this paper-loving girl was THRILLED to discover The Paleo Pep-talk after sweet Chelsea commented on one of my Instagrams. I love the idea of these mini-pep-talks, and have not only signed up for the FREE newsletter, but also ordered the cards (use code WHOLE30 to save 20%). #paleopeptalk  (ps. those aren't affiliate links...I just think that what's she's doing is rad.)

fab finds : CORA


Even though I've been a bit neglectful of this blog in the past year, I still get the occasional product review request. To be honest, I turn down most. So when this opportunity came along, I was poised to say "no, thank you!"...and then I read more about the company & the product, and changed my mind. Which is why I'm writing about tampons. Didn't expect that, did ya?

Cora Organic Tampon and Box - Lifestyle

Here's what got my attention - 1. I dig subscription services (especially in the winter) 2. I admire companies who are changing up stale categories and 3. I'm a sucker for cool packaging. CORA delivers on all three.

CORA is a modern method for managing your period. The co-founder, Molly Hayward says, "I created Cora to modernize women's periods. We offer organic tampons, chic accessories, convenient delivery, AND we donate period products to girls in need for every box sold. Cora represents today’s empowered and conscious woman.

Cora Stowaways - Lifestyle

I love that CORA went modern & adult with their packaging. It's actually pretty...not that neon-color, look at what I'm pulling out of my purse! nonsense. It's the little things that make a difference to me (like using paper tubes as "stowaways"...brilliant!).

Cora Organic Tampons Packaging - Lifestyle

CORA's cause is super cool - read about it here. There are causes out there to provide food, water, soap, shoes, glasses...I honestly hadn't thought about the challenges for girls/women. 

The team at CORA is offering Figuring Out 40 readers a $5 discount off their first order - just enter code CORA5KATRINA at checkout. And be sure to check out CORA on social media - @corawomen #fearlessperiod 

**I received these products free of charge from CORA. Opinions, and adoration, are my own. I was not compensated for this post.**

you're my favorite : july/august 2016

Berry picking

Revisiting the "you're my favorite" prompt (my last post was a full year ago!) today! A few things that are my favorite right now/this summer/subject to change...

Travel. Still & always. Strangely, I don't have any flights booked this month, although I do have some local-ish travel planned. Starting to book fall travel, and very much looking forward to winter travel this year. We just booked an anniversary trip (wrapped in a work trip) for Sept - any recommendations for a fun dinner in DC?

Mad River DistillersQuickly became a favorite after stopping at their Burlington tasting room. We regularly have one of their spirits in our bar cabinet - currently, it's Maple Cask Rum. I like to sip it neat at night when Dan is drinking his way-too-smokey Scotch. 

State of our Union meetings. To be fair, we've only had one...well, one & 1/2. Inspired by the weekly meeting suggestion in this article, Dan & I have scheduled check-ins about life, love, and what we're creating this time around. We recognize that life can be messier when you're in your 40s AND combining households AND dealing with other households. Here's to thriving rather than surviving.

ClairsonicHere's the thing...I have good skin. Pale, freckled, and slightly wrinkled...but good skin. So I didn't really think that I "needed" a Clairsonic. I had the opportunity to pick one up last month...and I love it

My standing desk. Have we talked about this before? I got a standing desk at work many months ago, and it's the best. I really never lower it. I'm in enough meetings throughout the day that I do give my back/feet a rest. 

Cool mornings & warm days. This morning had just the slightest amount of chill to the air...enough for each of us to grab a flannel/sweatshirt as we sipped our coffee on the deck. 

Captain Fantastic. What a great movie!

What's on YOUR favorites list right now?


las vegas : july 2016


I had a trade show to attend in Vegas last month, and Dan came along for the adventure!


I'm super grateful that he's always ready & willing to explore, experience, & enjoy. 


Dan's business mentor, Nick, and his girlfriend Kathy joined us for a few days. Seeing The Beatles: Love was amazing. So great to share the experience with awesome friends.


I wouldn't say that the food in Vegas is stellar, but breakfast at Giada was definitely a fave.


We got some time off the strip & checked out Freemont Street & the Container Park. Very cool.


I don't want to get all political, but...I would suggest that he's the right guy for the job


hello august 2016

Our four

It's August. Already. Huh??

hello four. For the first time in 2 years, we had all 4 kids under the same roof for a brief moment. It's really fun to watch the Littles & Bigs interact. 

hello fleeting days. Hope leaves this week. Austin will leave at the end of the month. Our time with the Littles shifts when McCartney starts kindergarten at the end of the month. Everything feels fleeting & too fast

hello a better version of me. The gym. Regimented eating. Doing the work. Real talk - negative self-talk & body shame are headlining right now. Even when I know better, it's not easy to do better.

hello reading. I've checked several titles off my Summer Reading list. I've added a title or two. 

hello blogging. I'm challenging myself to blog at least 3x per week this month. 

hello movies. Looking forward to seeing Bad Moms, Captain Fantastic, and maybe Jason Bourne this month. 

What are you saying hello to this month?