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Posts tagged mindful bride blog
#39daysofselfcare Days 13 & 14: Practice Makes Good.

Days 13 & 14 of My 39-Day self-care challenge

TODAY my self care was writing. Writing soothes my soul. I woke up and wrote. And now I'm writing before bed. I write on paper. I write on the computer. I write on my phone. I could write until the cows come home.

But Yesterday. Oh yesterday... I'll begin at the end, of course.

Yesterday I got to the end of the day and wondered... Did I do any self-care today? My first response was to start shaming myself for not planning ahead, or thinking about it in advance. Caring for someone is supposed to be an intentional act, right?

But then I reviewed my day and realized I did a lot of self care:

  • I danced in the morning and sat at my altar.

  • I went to pilates.

  • I went to the office and worked on my new website.

  • I had a Tapping sesh with my mom via WhatsApp.

  • Then I went to dinner at a friend's house – a long

  • standing plan, and very much needed.

  • THEN I dropped off files to a fellow-photographer who lives near above friend.

  • And then, would you believe, I went BACK to the studio and worked late to deliver an important job that was almost done.

  • CHECK connecting with Goddess/source/spirit/God.

  • CHECK physical exercise, endorphins, deep concentration & mono-tasking.

  • CHECK feeling productive and working towards my goals.

  • CHECK family time, healing the nervous system, changing my subconscious mindset.

  • CHECK being a reliable friend (self-respect/living my values), enjoying fun & laughter, relaxing in nature (we sat in her garden), nourishing with delicious food.

  • CHECK strategically coordinating so I have one less task on my list.

  • CHECK getting something major off my plate while it's in my pleasure to do so (aka Flow).

You may be thinking this last one is not self-care: to stay late at work and push through. Especially for a recovering workaholic, this is a slippery slope. The difference (in almost everything) is the energy we put behind it. Is it compulsion? Is it a way to isolate? Is it avoiding feelings/numbing? Or is it loving? Loving can be to do something when you feel the urge, and know that tomorrow you'll be so glad you did. And that's where I was at, and so that's what I did.


Looking back at my day also taught me something pretty awesome:

That after so many years of practicing, failing, practicing, winning, falling off the beam, climbing back on, trying, quitting, starting over, and practicing some more.... I've become pretty good at this self-care thing.

If you've read any of my posts about depression, and how fucked up shit can get, you'll have an idea about how proud I feel of this realization.

There was a time when I hated myself and hated my life.

There were years when the hate was gone, but there was just a sort of no-man's-land of "what now?"

During that time, I really searched for the answer to LOVE. I wanted to know how I could learn this "skill" that seemed to come SO naturally to others. (By "others" I mean the non-depressed.) I wandered through life asking "how do normal people just go about their shit?" and feeling truly confused. Such are the thoughts of the super-sensitive folks.

I DIGRESS!! During no-man's-land time, I came up with a mantra that has served me more than anything else to date:

Every new skill takes practice.

I could write VOLUMES about this mantra. I probably will at some point.
But for now, I'll just explain, this was my shortcut to self-compassion. Every time I "fucked up" (in quotes, because the only person I was letting down was my overly critical self), I would take a deep breath, say my mantra and start again.

Every new skill takes practice.
It just does.

Including self-care.
And this is why this realization was so epic for me.
Because I am good at self-care.
I love myself, in my soul. Know how I know? Because I treat myself like someone I love.
I love WHO I am. Not for my looks or my talents. Not for my accomplishments. Not "despite" my bad habits of which there are SO many.
Just because I do. I practiced and practiced, and learned and learned, and I got good at it. I got good at the skill of love.

Looking back at my day, I also realize this journey will never end. We live in a society that functions in a very particular way. It was easy for me to instantly criticize myself for not planning my self-care in advance. For not being systematic enough for my #39daysofselfcare project. The undertones are there: "disorganized, half-assed, unprofessional, unreliable, fake! Fraud!! Failure!!!"

But look at me now. All it took was a pause, and a quick review of my day to see that those thoughts are nothing but habit. And while I've gotten really good at self care, I still need practice. I'll be practicing for the rest of my life.

Every new skill takes practice.

The #39DaysofSelfCare Challenge!

Day 1 of my 39-day self-care challenge

How many days until your wedding?? Are you excited? Nervous?? Stressed out??? Or absolutely fucking ready? Do you GLOW? If you want to, you may want to join this 39-day challenge! It’s absolutely FREE. You can start any time. And if you don’t have 39 days to go before your wedding — CONGRATULATIONS — you need this even more!! Read on for details:

I have decided to start a 39 day challenge: To do one thing everyday for 39 days, in the name of self-care, self-approval and self-celebration! I want people to do it with me. 🥂 Will you??

Okay, WHY am I doing this?

Well, life can throw a lot of shit our way.

Normal stressors, boring and mundane crappy stuff, and also tragedy – personal, political, intimate, and international.

Other times life is great.

Both are temporary.

But they never feel that way, do they!? Like, when things are awesome, and then the awesomeness ends, it feels terrible and shocking, like something’s wrong. Oh, the accumulated YEARS of shame, “what is WRONG with me??” I would wonder. What is WRONG.

And when things are bad, it can feel like the shit will never end.

But it does.

Learning to embrace this emotional roller coaster is a relatively NEW skill for me, in my 39 years. Actually realizing that nothing was wrong, and that feeling both good and bad is RIGHT (hi, and welcome to being Human!)… was a huge, life-changing epiphany for me.

One of the ways I got there was being put on a strict diet of self-approval, self-pleasure, and self-care.

And no, I’m not talking “eat a bucket of ice-cream and spend $-I-don’t-have on retail therapy” self-care (although sometimes those things are ACTUALLY what a person needs, and then they are exactly right!).

I am talking about going through life and asking myself CONSTANTLY what I want; whether I am saying YES to shit I don’t want, NO to stuff I actually need, or whether I’ve even CONSIDERED my desires lately. 🤯😍

It’s as simple as that.

Making a habit of this practice has changed the way the Ups and Downs feel. It has changed the Okay-ness level of when amazing things end, and when sad, horrible, enraging, depressing, stressful, overwhelming things feel like they’ll NEVER end.

✨It has made life much easier.
✨It has made relationships, and money, and deadlines, and *online dating* easier.
✨It has even made Trump easier! (Still working on Ford though.)

And it is Fun. Remember FUN??? Fun is awesome.

So, my gorgeous friends, who is with me? Will anyone join in the fun? The instructions are easy:
✅Everyday ask yourself one or all of the below questions (at the bottom of this post)
✅Everyday do some thing – for a minute or an hour or a day – that fills up your cup
✅Let me know your thing. Here on this post.

Why do it with me? Um, obviously, because things are more FUN when we do them together! REMEMBER FUN????

These are the questions I’m asking these days, and the answers lead to my 39-Day Challenge Action Steps:

🤷🏻‍♀️What would make this enjoyable?
🤷🏼‍♀️Does this feel good?
🤷🏽‍♀️How can I make myself WANT to do this?
🤷🏿‍♀️Do I need a rest?
🤷🏻‍♂️What do I desire today? This week? This year? In life? In my fantasies???
🤷🏾‍♂️Is this a loving choice for me?

LET’S DO THIS! 💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻


Here are a couple screenshots of me dancing like the dorky Goddess I am, on my instagram post. If you’d like to check out the challenge (and join ANY TIME, for FREE!), check out my account, and search for the hashtag #39daysofselfcare. Post what you’re doing to love and care for yourself with the same # and we will cheer each other on!!

Gratitude. An excerpt from The Empire Citizen
  • I am so grateful to live in the same city as my family.
  • I am grateful that, even though my parents are divorced, we all still get together on holidays.
  • I am grateful for our universal appreciation of dorky puns.
  • I am grateful for my niece’s big, round eyes when I try to surprise her with silly questions, before she realizes I'm joking and starts to giggle.
  • I’m so grateful she loves holding hands for no reason.
  • I am grateful that (when you’re four years old) one of the most exciting things in life, is simply to run as fast as you can.
  • I am grateful to share these moments with my sister. We exchange a look and know we’re both smiling about the same observation.
  • I am grateful to see my parents being nana & papa – to see how much joy that brings them.

Take 20 Seconds & Try This Out:

  • Take a deep, loud breath, like a big sigh
  • Finish this sentence: “I am grateful for…"
  • Close your eyes & picture what you’re grateful for
  • FEEL the gratitude in your body – breathe deeply into that feeling
  • Now open your eyes.

Go ahead.  How was that?  Were you able to think of something? 

Was it coffee? Your comfy bed? Your parents’ health? The sound of your kids laughing? Pizza? Your good taste and sense of humour?  As you prepare for the rest of your day, take these 20 seconds for yourself.

If you're feeling grateful for this oasis in your day, sign-up for my newsletter! You'll receive my take on mindfulness for moms (and dads), self-care for brides (and grooms), and happy, healthy lifestyle tips for starseeds, lovers, seekers, and kitchen-dance-party aficionados alike. Plus, you'll receive first-dibs on popular photo dates, holiday promos, and anything else I can think of to serve you joy. Sign Up Here!

Check out more on gratitude lists in this post, where I reflect on not getting killed on my trip to Kenya. 

Learn more about what's included in my exciting and awesome newsletter right here!

Sign up for the Sweetheart Empire Newsletter - the Empire Citizen!
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Hello friends,

I wanted to give you a heads up that I've started a newsletter! Yes, indeed, I have lots to say. :) If you're curious about the content, here's a link to past issues, here's a link to subscribe, and below are my reasons for this endeavour: 

There are two phrases I constantly hear in my work:

“The whole wedding day went by in a flash – I can’t even remember it!”

“Kids grow up so fast – I can’t believe they started school this year!”

Both of these express the same concern: being present and experiencing life as it’s happening.

I created the newsletter with tips to help you Be in the moment during life's big (and small) moments, and not miss out.

Whether you’re worried about being too stressed to enjoy your wedding, or shocked that your child isn’t a baby anymore, I got you. Using simple techniques of reflection, gratitude, breathing, and photography, you can be there to appreciate all the stages of life. 

Subscribers to the newsletter also get exclusive access to printed gifts and promotions, as well as first rights to popular session dates throughout the year. Pretty awesome, right? If you're thinking, "Yes – I'm into this!" then here's what to expect...

Two short letters per month with:

  • Right of first refusal to popular weekend sessions
  • Concise tips on mindfulness & emotional presence
  • Exclusive package offerings, printed gifts & promotions
  • A link to new work or a few photos to brighten your day...

The laws of the land: 

  • Only 2 emails each month
  • I will never share your contact info
  • Opt-out any time by clicking unsubscribe

Judgment-Free Territory

If you no longer want to be a "citizen" of Sweetheart Empire, just unsubscribe. I'll still think of you as a citizen of though, because that's just how I roll. Also, I don't judge because inboxes are cray-cray so only say yes to what brings you Joy (at least for newsletters).

How to keep h'anger at bay, on your wedding day.

My boyfriend used to wish he had one of those portable flashing lights for the top of the car, for two situations: when I had my period, and when I was hungry. Though there are limited options for wedding day menstruation (hmm, definitely a potential article there), when it comes to avoiding the "hangry" wedding day, your options are many! 

This article contains two simple tips, and one wedding day to-do list of what to pack to stay fresh all day: 


Even for the chillest couples, the wedding is a big day. When was the last time you invited all your people to come and look and talk to you all at once? It's wedding-day-hangry just waiting to happen! Besides the emotional/spiritual/life milestone taking place, you’ve got a lot to think about and that takes energy. 


Drink water to keep your energy up!  

Many brides are afraid they’ll have to pee and avoid drinking water on the wedding day. Don’t do that! 

Staying hydrated will help you keep your energy up. I know, from the experience of shooting weddings, water gives you a boost and keeps your endurance up so you can smile allllllllllll day long (and still party into the night). 

Also, it’ll make you smell better: you might get nervous and sweat a lot, but if you stay hydrated your body and your breath will thank you! (A quick googling of dehydration and body odour/bad breath can tell you why.)   


Have snacks on hand! 

Nothing brings on irritability, anxiety, and exhaustion like low blood sugar. Don’t leave it to chance when it comes to staying in a good mood on your wedding day!

Keep snacks on hand for yourself and houseguests, i.e. bridesmaids getting ready at your place. Besides brunch, make sure there are snacks you can force yourself to eat if you get too nervous or stressed out for a full meal.  


Things to consider / pack: 

  • Straws for sipping, to protect lipstick

  • Lipstick touch-up colour from makeup artist, for after she’s left.

  • Smoothie or liquid meal that you can sip (alternate with water if you get a dry mouth)

  • Small bites of fruit & some sort of bib – no blackberry juice on the wedding dress!

  • Granola bars (soft as opposed to hard and crumbly)

  • Halloween-sized chocolate bars or small cookies in a zip-lock

  • Yoghurt drinks (get that probiotic in while you're at it ;))

  • Juice boxes

  • Wet wipes for hands

  • Someone you trust, who’s as obsessive as you are, to check that there’s no food in your teeth. None of this “you’re fine you’re fine” when they haven’t even looked!


Basically, you need food and drink that takes minimum effort to open, and can be carried with you. And possibly a case of water bottles for your bridal party/family, if you are traveling together in a limo or having a big photo session somewhere away from immediate access to water… Especially in the summer, guys!!! Please! I know plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment, but this is one of those times you might forget your S’well.  


You got this!!

Between morning coffee with your BFFs, and a champagne toast (or three) you need to keep your wits about you. You don’t want to get drunk or shaky, right before you say “I do”. Take care your body with water and snacks, and no portable flashing lights will be needed! 


Look beautiful, no food in teeth, laughing head off... Check!