Monday morning thoughts: Hold On

Started Monday with a throwback song at spinning. “Hold On” reminds me intensely of college and the friends I made there, who remain the closest people to me in the world. I’m feeling a swirl of themes that feel correlated, after a wonderful Fourth with family and friends and the World Cup win.

Forgiveness because everyone has their own demons. Everyone grapples with the freight of life in different ways, and the best way forward is to assume that they’re all trying their best.  This is much easier said than done, at least for me!

Love because that’s all there is. Period.

Memory stitched into every day, bittersweet and beautiful. Being in Marion reminds me of my father, every minute of every day.  Maybe not every minute.  But frequently and keenly.  It’s still painful, but I can see that someday the memories will also make me smile.  My father had traveled more widely than almost anyone I’ve ever known, and yet I’m quite sure that the water off Marion Harbor was his favorite place in the world.

Time and retrospect bringing details into stark relief, their edges apparent, their meaning clear.  This weekend Matt and I reflected on our last sail with my father on Brea and how on the return to the harbor we found that the ensign had fallen off.  That never happened in the years I have sailed (or, more importantly, in the many years my father sailed).  In retrospect, knowing what we know now, it’s a detail I find imbued with meaning and eerily prescient.

Self-reliance and a simultaneous awareness that we can’t do it alone (thank you Catarina).  Taking ownership of what we want and going for it. Find your people, hold them close, and go. I think that’s my Monday morning lesson.

Random Oscar Thoughts: pink, chemistry, and dreaming crazier

I love pink.  I loved all the pink on the red carpet.  My favorite dresses were pink: Gemma Chan and Julia Roberts.

I loved A Star is Born.  I love the music.  I love Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s performances.  I think they look at each other like they are in love.  Nowhere was that more apparent than in their duet on Sunday night.   The end of the song, when they were sitting next to each other on the piano bench, has gotten all the attention.  But it was the beginning of the song, when he was singing and looking at her across the piano, that most struck me.  Yowzers.

It was an ad that I loved most of all, though.  Nike’s Dream Crazier ad made me cry.  Run your own race, and don’t stop for anything.  This also resonates with Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech which I loved: don’t stop fighting.  It’s not how often you get knocked down that matters.  It’s only how much you get up that does.  Cliched, and true.

back soon!

Tap tap, is this thing still on?

Joke.  Actually the giveaway of On Being 40(ish) revealed to me that people are still reading.  That is a huge gift – thank you all.  I am going to take a little bit of time away and will be back in the New Year.  I may still post quotes.  I’ll likely still be on Instagram, and I would love to connect there.

I hope you will come back in the new year and in the meantime, I hope everyone’s December is full of light and love.


Katie Den Ouden


I’ve long been a fan of Katie Den Ouden‘s.  I wrote about my experience with one of her guided cleanses here.  She embodies the ideal of living a wholehearted, passionate life. If I ever ran a Woman Crush Wednesday interview series on this blog (which I’ve thought about doing), she would be one of my first calls.  Katie radiates goodness.  I swear.  Her deep faith that women have immense reserves of power and her commitment to helping them tap into those is tangible to me.  I can’t wait to meet her in person, but the truth is I feel like I already know her.

Katie is about to launch her annual Skinny Dip Society program.  You can learn more hereI wrote a piece for her 2014 program.  I urge you to find out more about Katie and the Skinny Dip Society!  Asked to list three words that describe her work and the results women who work with her get, Katie lists “freedom.  contagious joy. luminary.”  I personally can’t think of much more inspiring than that triad.

I was honored that Katie agreed to participate in an interview today. Without further ado, I’m thrilled to share her wisdom, humor, and lambent good health with you.


1. Tell us what you do? Your approach is something unique… you’re not just food and you’re not just mindset/lifestyle. You’ve truly fused the two together. How did you come to this approach and how successful is it?
At the end of the day, I teach women how to live and lead by design instead of default, so that they can become the woman they’ve always know they can be, the woman they actually are deep within. When women step into that space and ownership and come alive, they’re able to impact the world in a profound, positive, and purposeful way. I call these type of ladies, Luminaries.

But it took me a bit to get to that space. Several years ago, I started my work heavily based in food and health coaching, but the more I worked with women, experienced my own life, and studied with experts, I realized how many other areas of life were keeping women stuck and held back. The things that were frustrating women and keeping them in a cycle of constantly try to fix themselves – like hating your body, perfectionism, workaholism + career achievement, being controlled by food, lack of sisterhood, dwindling bank account, blah relationships, guilt, etc. – were simply warning signs and a beacon calling us home. I didn’t want to focus on the band aide for just one warning sign…I wanted to give the tools, support, and stretch to have the solution for it all and be able to have a lot of fun unleashing it.

There’s a quote by Shauna Niequist that I love, “There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming.”

My work (programs, coaching, blog) meets women in that season of becoming – as a woman, leader, and luminary – and gives the strategy, soul, sisterhood, and self-care to get there.

2. What types of women do you work with?
Ambitious women who are willing to take courageous action. Women who want a life worth living and won’t settle…but don’t know how to get there OR stay there.

3. What makes you come alive?
Two parts: 1) how I have a direct experience with my life and 2) how I share my gifts and purpose with others.

Experience: beauty {flowers, nature, sunsets, music}, adventures, delicious dinner experiences, deep conversations that focus on the present/possibility/potential and wisdom from past experiences, finding joy in the ordinary, travel, sunshine, and a good frothy vanilla latte always helps. 🙂

Purpose: watching/helping other women find their own freedom, design their lives, and get their purpose/mission into the world.

4. What do you do day-to-day to feed your soul?

It changes with the seasons of weather and life, but the mainstays are my morning routine, walks/stargazing, gratitude practice, dance parties of one (ha!), personal reading time and alone time, bubble baths, playing with our puppy (gah – stole my heart), sleep, and I have a few scandalous tv shows I throw in there to keep me balanced. 😉

5. What’s the most common roadblock you find women facing in living fully, feeling free, and loving life?

Two huge road blocks that are actually opposites: discipline vs. devotion

Discipline: trying to follow a certain rules, set up for a certain group of people, and then punishing ourselves when we don’t follow those rules that we didn’t even create.

Devotion: missing devotion to who we really are (not the shoulds of what we should be) and owning our self-worth. That we are worth enough to spend time on ourselves, to get to know ourselves and what we want, and to celebrate how truly incredibly beautiful and awesome we all are – in our own way.

6. What are 3 words that describe your work and results women get?
freedom. contagious joy. luminary.

7. What tools do you use to continue developing and growing yourself? What stirs you? How do you stay inspired?
Knowledge {books, conferences, podcasts}.
New experiences {travel, restaurants, magazines, nature}.
Spending time with other luminaries.

8. What advice would you give your younger self?
{Picturing my current self having this conversation with my younger self} Katie…we MUST embrace ownership of our lives, fully. Meaning that the entire way we feel and experience our lives is our responsibility – no one else. I call this radical responsibility and once you acknowledge this and take action…guidance, freedom, joy, abundance and more will flow like no other. We have the power to shape our experience of life – don’t give someone else that power, love.

Women who allow themselves to have a direct experience with their life, who allow themselves to fully experience their feelings, sensations, moments, intuition, and desires – meaning what they desire, why they desire it, and making sure it is in alignment with their actions and values – are freaking world changers – in the best way possible. You have the opportunity to create ripple effects every day of contagious joy…it’s your choice. It’s your responsibility.

Design your life. Do not default into someone else’s desires. The world needs the true and full you.

9. What 2 (or 3) steps or action items that people can take right now, this month, to improve it for themselves?

1. Feel the present moment. Allow yourself to have a direct experience with your life. The easiest and quickest way to start this is by your senses. Pay attention and slow your breath, savor the textures and flavors of food, look at the intricacies in nature, touch your surroundings. If you have a tendency to forget, set random alarms on your phone that bring you back to the present moment – slowly but surely you’ll be craving those alarms to go off.

2. Take ownership. We often expect our loved ones, friends, and even coworkers to know what we want and we get upset that they didn’t do it. Or we don’t want to bother others with our problems and look weak or unable to do it all ourselves. This is silly, it’s a superwoman syndrome, and it keeps us stuck and resentful. Owning what you need and declaring it is incredibly empowering, authentic, and freeing. Take the time to identify what you need (tools, support, coach, space, etc.) in order to thrive, then courageously ask for it. You got this. 🙂

See what I mean, folks?  You got this.  I swear, just reading Katie’s words make me believe I do.


Niagara Falls


It’s touristy and Grace didn’t like her hot dog and Whit got a blister from walking, but oh, the falls are majestic. Their power, noise, and beauty are frankly as awe-inspiring as I had imagined.   Plus Grace and Whit got a third stamp in their passports, which was a thrill.  This summer is flying by, a fact made more bitter by how sweet the days are.