#nofilter // speaking words of love over our bodies

Posted on: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

“don’t say that about yourself.”

this simple statement, said to me during a facial by a lovely esthetician, really stuck out to me. while she was doing extractions (ugh, these are so bad and good at the same time) i apologized to her for my “gross skin.” and she called me out – telling me that i should never call myself or my body gross and instead speak love to myself. and that i shouldn’t apologize for my body, period. it was nothing deep nor profound, but her words were a wake-up reminder that the words we say to ourselves, about ourselves, are so important.

for the past nine (!!) or so months, i’ve been dealing with some not-so-ideal hormonal adult acne. i didn’t really have bad acne growing up, aside for some small breakouts during that time of the month, and it’s been really challenging to experience bad acne as a 27-year-old. i changed my birth control method last fall and since, i’ve been struggling with acne on my chest, neck and parts of my face. i’ve tried lots of solutions and continuing to treat it – topical lotions and creams, antibiotics, these murad skin clarifying vitamins (highly recommend as they seem to be what’s actually helping), the whole nine yards. and the acne sometimes comes and goes. a few weeks ago, my chest was really clearing up – no redness and barely any bumps – and i was so excited. it’s working! i’m getting better! and then, this past weekend, my skin flared up and is redder and bumpier than ever. sigh.

i spent the morning of my wedding day anxious and upset about my skin (pre-makeup pic below, where you can see some breakout on my chest. thank you Sarah for your magical makeup skills! ). I’ve spent many regular mornings in a bad mood, not sure what to wear or how to cover up the bumpiness, the red, the imperfect. now, with warmer weather comes swimsuits and skin-baring tank tops, and that brings a whole new wave of worry over my skin.

i know that there are much bigger and more important issues that people are going through, but this whole skin thing for me has been unsettling and upsetting the past almost-year. my self-doubt and self-hate gets all worked up when i look at my skin and i say things to myself, about myself that aren’t edifying, helpful or remotely loving. it sounds weird to say this, but looking at my skin automatically puts me in a sour mood and makes me feel grumpy and frustrated.

so what i’m really trying to do, slowly, even when it’s hard, is to speak love to myself and to my body. even when i don’t look the way i want or when my skin isn’t “going back to normal”, i’m trying to not freak out, but to instead take a deep breath and move on. i’m trying to not let the way my skin looks on any given day affect my attitude and mindset. i’m trying my best to find solutions that work for my skin type, continue talking with my dermatologist and try my best to alleviate the redness and bumpiness, but ultimately – not let my acne define me as a person or ruin my day. when words like gross or disgusting or ugly pop into my head after looking at my skin, i’m remembering to “not say that about myself” and instead give myself, my body, my skin, grace and love.

i don’t really know what compelled me to share this, as it’s not something i’m necessarily proud of sharing. i also prefer to share the pretty and inspiring and happy things on my blog, but i also want to share the real and honest. i’ve had my blog for 6+ years now, and it’s changed a lot, but i always want it to be authentically me, and right now, this is where i’m at.  it was helpful for me to write down how i’m feeling and what i’m experiencing and to read my feelings, put into words.  i’m just hoping that even one other person out there reads this and is reminded to speak love over their body and to not be quick to judge and condemn yourself based on the way you look. <3


sf adventures: food and drinks at evil eye

Posted on: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Evil Eye - San Francisco (1)

Hi everyone! I recently visited a super new cocktail bar and restaurant in the Mission (Mission Street x 25th Street), Evil Eye, and wanted to share some photos! The bar JUST opened last week and was started by a couple, Matt and Piper, who are so sweet (and those cocktails Matt whips up are A+!). Like, I wanted to be friends with them IRL. The space itself is beautiful and really well curated, with Persian rugs and 70s-inspired furniture all over. There are several nooks and booths for groups to sit in and plenty of room to sit at the big, original bar space if you’re grabbing a drink solo or with one friend. Most of the decor was found at different flea markets around the Bay Area and I want all of it in my apartment!

Other than the incredible decor, the food and drinks were so amazing! Here’s what we ate: Pimento Fries with garlic aioli and harissa ketchup, beet-pickled deviled eyes, pork belly toast with kimchi and rock shrimp, fried green tomatoes with burrata and chickpea sliders. We each had two cocktails; most of them pictured below and explained in the caption. All of them were so delicious and it’s hard to even pick a favorite!

In the Mission, it feels like all of the places to grab drinks are either 1.) dive-y bars with no food (or very limited, greasy options) or 2.) fancier sit-down restaurants that are delicious, but don’t have the same fun, bar vibe. Evil Eye is the perfect mix of both – the drinks are spot-on (and strong!), the food is delicious, the energy from the staff and crowd is fun and it’s a gorgeous space.

Run, don’t walk (or take BART) to get to Evil Eye! I can’t wait to go back soon. Check out all of the pics below!

More SF adventures here!

Evil Eye - San Francisco (1)

YUM! Pimento fries & beet pickled deviled eggs

YUM! Pimento fries & beet pickled deviled eggs

Sherry Cobbler Cocktail

Sherry Cobbler – oloroso, bourbon, lemon, pineapple gomme, bitters

Sweet Petunia, Sky Juice and Horse Race (bourbon, amaro, basil, vanilla syrup, bitters) cocktails

Sweet Petunia, Sky Juice and Horse Race (bourbon, amaro, basil, vanilla syrup, bitters) cocktails

Sweet Petunia - vanilla-infused vodka, nectarine-ginger shrub, campari, lemon, orgeat

Sweet Petunia – vanilla-infused vodka, nectarine-ginger shrub, campari, lemon, orgeat

Evil Eye - San Francisco (6)

Sky Juice - gin, cachaca, house-made coconut cream, falemum, lime, orange, basil.

Sky Juice – gin, cachaca, house-made coconut cream, falemum, lime, orange, basil.

Evil Eye - San Francisco (9)

Grandad's Special - rye, oloroso sherry, coffee, salted cacao, chili, bitters

Grandad’s Special – rye, oloroso sherry, coffee, salted cacao, chili, bitters

tips for organizing your bookshelves

Posted on: Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bookshelf Organizing - New 1

You may have noticed on Instagram that we recently put up new bookshelves in our living room! Our friends gave us these West Elm brackets and we had two slats of wood that Eric had previously sanded and stained, so we put it all together and voilà! Hello new bookshelves and goodbye, black, bulky IKEA bookshelf! While I am definitely not a designer or home decor expert, I wanted to share a few simple tips for organizing your bookshelves, plus share a few photos of our current and older versions of my bookshelves. I’d love to know if you have any special bookshelf organizing tips or tricks – share in the comments!

ORGANIZE BOOKS STRATEGICALLY / CREATIVELY: my personal favorite way to organize books is by color, as evidenced by pretty much all of the photos in this post. Grouping books together by color is a great way to divide shelves and add a fun pop to the shelves. I tend to putting the books with the prettiest or most unique binding on the living room and keep the books that aren’t-so-pretty, but are still important to me, in my bedroom.

Bookshelf Organizing - White 1

THINK ABOUT LAYOUT: Alternate organizing books horizontally and vertically to add some visual interest to the shelves. Right now, with the hanging shelves in our apartment, I have all books standing vertically, but with our last round of bookshelves (the black bookcase below), we alternated the way we positioned the books.
Bookshelf Organizing - Black 2

ACCESSORIZE! ADD THINGS OTHER THAN BOOKS TO YOUR SHELVES: trinkets, tchotchkes, whatever you want to call them – add them! I have some gifted bookends that are currently on our main hanging bookshelves – the wooden globes on the top shelf and the gold doves acting as bookends on the bottom shelf. Both of these were gifts from my mom.

Bookshelf Organizing - Black 1

ADD GREENERY: adding greenery to your bookshelves (and arguably, anywhere in your home) is a great way to add life to the space. I personally like the way ferns look, as they hang over the shelf and add some great height, color and texture to the shelves. I also like to keep peonies on the shelf when in season, but you could add any type of plants or succulents to make the shelves pop!
Bookshelf Organizing - New 2

THINK ABOUT THE SPACE AROUND THE BOOKSHELVES: in my first apartment, I had a white IKEA bookshelf placed next to an older trunk basket from the flea market. I would think of the two as a set and try to arrange accordingly – take the photo below as an example. I would put fresh flowers next to the bookshelf, rather than on it (not enough room!) and also place pretty books next to the flowers on the trunk. In my current apartment, we have a gold bart cart under our hanging bookshelves and a big plant next to it. I love the way it looks!

Bookshelf Organizing - White 2

lucky andi archives: ending the fairytale mindset

Posted on: Thursday, May 26, 2016

You Go Girl

I originally wrote this post titled Why That Fairytale Mindset Needs to End over three years ago, in 2013 (!!), and thought it was worth re-sharing. Part of the post is a  reflection on women and how our culture often puts pressure, some obvious, some not-so-obvious, to look, behave, and think a certain way. While there’s an influence of stronger women in the media and in our world – from politics (Hillary!) to TV/movies to music (Queen B!) and beyond – we still have a ways to go.

I recently was having dinner with friends and we were talking about negotiating rates for projects. After a lot of conversations with lady friends in similar situations, the consensus was pretty clear – we often settle for less than we think we deserve and feel “rude” or “mean” asking for more. My husband Eric was in the room, and he reminded us that a lot of guys would have no issue asking for exactly what they want and need – and encouraged us to do the same. YAS.

Mostly, when I originally wrote this post, it was a reminder to myself, to be the strong, confident and empowered woman that I am, rather than sinking to a level of insecurity and fragility.  And that still applies today. xo!

Almost every single childhood fairy tale story or movie has the same storyline: woman needs rescued, man saves the day. The end. After recently re-watching this Sex and the City episode and simultaneously reading a chapter in Shauna Niequist’s Bittersweet titled “Princess-free Zone” I got to thinking about how destructive this fairy tale mindset actually is. One simple line from the chapter stuck out to me: “It drives me bonkers when women depend instead on their sexuality or their fragility. I think there’s a better way.” 

I couldn’t agree more.

We women grew up watching movies and reading stories and playing dolls where the male figure sweeps in to save the day and rescue the lost, confused or scared female figure. When we were too old for standard storybook fairy tales, we moved on to a different, yet frightening similar, cultural messaging and media portrayal of women. In these stories, women used their bodies to get what they wanted; these women were frail and weak and depended on men to save them yet again. The only difference is that the men weren’t always portrayed quite literally as a knight in shining armor like in those Disney movies.

There was a phase during high school where I wouldn’t answer questions out loud in class because I didn’t want to be considered smart.  Instead of acting like a confident, outgoing sixteen-year-old girl, I would play the confused dumb blonde role just to sadly enough, have people pay attention to me. I’ve always been friendly, easy to get along with and happy and was fearful that being smart and simply being myself would jeopardize those things. That’s when the dumb questions and the flakiness would slowly seep into my conversations and interactions and turn me into someone I wasn’t. This VICE article shares more insight {some truthful, some just hilarious} at why girls play dumb.

This isn’t something I’m proud of and it’s not who I was raised to be. I was taught to take control of and responsibility for my own actions, that I have a good head on my shoulders. I was taught to speak openly and intelligently and to expect that everyone, both males and females, older and younger, treat me with respect and dignity. I was taught to be independent and at the same time, collaborate and work with others as equals in any and all situations. I was taught to work hard, to never back down and to wholeheartedly follow my dreams and my faith. My hope and prayer is that more women learn that they don’t need someone else to save them. Women have the capacity and opportunity to be self-reliant, self-sufficient and perhaps most important of all, self-loving.

Don’t get me wrong: I am a girly girl in lots of ways through and through. I always have been – including during that terrifying dumb blonde phase of high school –  and don’t see it changing any time soon. I enjoy getting my nails done, I wear heels most days of the week and I could talk about almost any and every fashion show or monthly magazine cover. I like to be taken out on dates and prefer to talk about the latest shoe trend rather than the latest football game score. I don’t want you to mistake me for being anti-feminine or to confuse femininity with fragility.

To the men out there, please celebrate confidence, intelligence, strength, passion and kindness in women and not just their sexuality or fragility. To the lovely women reading this, quit relying on men to rescue you and quit depending on men to make you feel beautiful or accepted. That’s putting a whole lot of pressure ON THEM – and doing yourself a disservice. You are not complete because you have the attention from a guy and you don’t need someone else to figure it all out for you, to tell you what is or isn’t beautiful, smart or wonderful.  It’s time you view yourself as beautiful or accepted, regardless of what anyone – male or female – thinks. Don’t be afraid to be smart and don’t be afraid to go after what you want – whether that’s in your career, relationship or any other aspect of life.

I hope today and everyday you realize the the importance of being active with your own life – active with your decisions and conversations and interactions. I hope you embrace how gloriously freeing it is to take ownership for your own life; rather than watch someone else dictate or bulldoze you and your dreams, hopes and plans. Most of all, I hope you let go of that fairy tale mindset that whispers someone else needs to rescue you.

Lots of love,

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