Tag: beauty

You Will Die With Emails in Your Inbox

Posted on April 15th, by mb in blissed living. 11 comments

Dear Mary Beth,
you clean-lovin’ organizational-freak Virgo, you,

Someday you are going to die, and you will likely have email in your inbox.

There might be dishes in the sink, dirty clothes piled up in the laundry and dust underneath the couch. In fact, I hope there is. That’s a life that is messy and full and well-lived.

I hope that you’ve often let emails go unanswered for days. Phone calls unreturned. Mail unopened. Instead you’ve spent years playing outside in the fresh air, belly laughing with friends over bottles of red wine and simply opening a notebook and letting your mind run wild.

You say yes to road trips when the invitations spontaneously arrive, to jumping in the ocean at any chance (sometimes in a wetsuit) and to anything that makes your heart beat a bit more wildly and fervently.

That you’ve slept underneath the stars with your family eating S’mores and drinking hot toddies. That you’ve been to more tropical places than you can count on your fingers and toes. That you keep a beautiful love that grows and grows and grows.

I hope you’ve lived so vibrantly and so hard that you’ve lived yourself young. That you paint your world with bright colors. That you let things crack and honor the light coming in.

Shut your computer and take your coffee cup outside.


A God-Shaped Hole

Posted on March 12th, by mb in gratitude. 19 comments

Until three years ago, I hadn’t stepped on a scale.

Sure, I’d been on one in a doctor’s appointment or two every year, but every single time I stepped on the scale, I asked the doctor to stay mum. “Just write it down but please don’t tell me.”

This fear isn’t even really based on the number. I was completely terrified of returning to the dark and lonely space of disliking, even hating at times, myself based upon some stupid number.

When I was about 15 or 16 I started doing some modeling in Omaha, just twenty minutes outside my small Iowa town. The agency was called Nancy Bounds, and honestly the memory of what took place there is pretty foggy. But I distinctly remember the day that I was told I wasn’t enough.

We had a fashion show of some sort coming up and the head of the agency asked me to come in for a fitting. I brought along some sweaters, jeans, whatever I had on hand, but when I got there she asked me to put on a swimsuit.

Um, okay.

So I go into the changing room and put on this purple Mossimo swimsuit that pretty much pushed my teeny tiny boobs up to my chin (?!!) and stepped outside.

This absolutely awful, older woman who reminded me of a more fashionable version of the Trunchbull eyed me up and down and said, “If you lost 10 to 15 pounds and we could do something about your chin you’d be perfect for modeling. Maybe even runway.”

Her words just hung in the air as I choked back some tears and tried to smile.

Mind you I was fifteen years old. Little with knobby knees and almost always wore that creepy bra with water in it.  And yeah, my chin sticks out a bit, like Drew Barrymore’s.

Why didn’t I run for the hills just then? I was young, I was impressionable and I was pretty dead set on filling the God-shaped hole in my heart up with just about anything that seemed like the right answer.

Well, that day I decided I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t skinny enough. I wasn’t naturally talented at anything it seemed. And my only goal was to survive small town high school (the bullying, the terrible relationships, the keg parties that almost always made me feel bad) and get the fuck out.

Unfortunately I carried with me this idea that I wasn’t enough and oh boy, did it play out in every area of my life. I ate as little as I possibly could. I ran and worked out until I was completely worn and drained. I made myself throw up. And I beat myself up over every possible thing.

Even after I graduated I carried this with me to college, where it became even worse, because there wasn’t anyone watching over me. It was so easy to measure out a small cup of black beans, a small cup of rice, and maybe, just maybe, a few cubes of chicken if I was lucky. I seriously started to vanish. I stopped writing. I stopped caring. I stopped connecting with anyone around me in a way that was genuine and true.

It didn’t stop until a 36-hour train ride to New York City when I devoured the book “Wasted,” by Marya Hornbacher, and made a choice: it was time to let myself free.

It was as though I’d spent six years sitting in a jail cell with the door wide open. And I just sat inside wasting away. It was rooted in choice. It wasn’t Nancy Bounds’ fault. It wasn’t anyone in Glenwood’s fault. It was mine. I needed compassion and instead tortured and abused myself.

I got off that train and I marched myself down 8th Avenue until I found something that looked delicious and that day it was an oozing grilled cheese and a piping hot mocha. And I vowed that I’d feed myself – not just food – but feed my heart, my soul, my beautiful creative mind.

It was a summer of enjoyment, sometimes decadence. I immersed myself into all of the sights, smells and tastes of New York. Falling in love with life again, or perhaps maybe for the first time.

And fast forward to now. I’m thirty. I still love my body. I know what makes me feel alive. I know what nourishes me and what doesn’t. I know what used to plague me was simply flesh and thoughts and what now propels me forward is all heart.

Then the other day there was a comment on my blog about my weight. She thought it had fluctuated and she asked. She had the kindest of intentions but as I read it and my breath caught in my throat. For just a split second I thought, “What if I’m not enough?”

And something deep down inside of me, where that God-shaped hole used to be, said softly and quietly like a Mama to her young, “But you most certainly are.”

And I knew it to be true.

guest post: ashley turner

Posted on July 9th, by mb in dreaming, intention. 2 comments

feed your soul.

the past couple of years i have often felt like my life has been one big transition, but then again isn’t that what life is? growth, exploring, and creating our lives is always going to feel like a big transition to build the life we want or hope for. it’s just a matter of how we handle and walk through it. being a part of today’s creative world where everything is so global, accessible to anyone, DIY on pinterest, and we can learn almost anything on youtube…as a photographer lately i have found myself often overwhelmed anytime i am surfing the web, logging on to facebook, or even pinterest for that matter.  so much so that i have been turned off by all of the mass social media.  in a sense i have let it discourage me more than i have let it inspire me because it has lead me to comparison and visual overloads have blocked my own visions. and you know what? it’s taken me a while to admit that i’ve felt a little visually drained.

recently, i stumbled upon one of my favorite quotes of all time that i believe to be so true:

“to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –ralph waldo emerson

i believe it to be even more true in today’s world where we are blossoming with more creative people everyday which deep down i think is a beautiful thing to be in a society where most want to inspire others.  with that being said, i think the magic behind all of that is being true to ourselves in all of these crazy transitions and the process of building a creative life in a society that is so influenced by social media. the only way our creations, writing, yoga classes, or whatever your path may be will soar is if we embrace our true colors and let them shine so bright.  so wake up each day and embrace yourself and all that you’ve got stirring inside of you.  feed your soul  little by little very day and watch it grow and guide you.

take risks. dare yourself. start creating that masterpiece you are unsure about.  experiment with different mediums. cuddle in bed with a book that feeds your soul. do something little you’ve always dreamt about. publish that blog post you wrote but are too afraid to put yourself out there.  sprint straight into the ocean and dive in the waves. walk around your neighborhood barefoot and feel the wind hit your skin. surround yourself in the ones who make you feel most ‘you.’ and promise yourself  with as busy as life gets you will do at least one little thing for yourself each day to be the truth you’ve got  stirring inside of you.

when we create from our heart we are free.  when we create we feed our soul. and when we feed our soul, we grow. so i’ll leave you with one more quote i love by kurt vonnegut and a photo that i recently took while working in uganda that might shine a little light in your life:

“the arts are not a way of making a living. they are a very human way of making life more bearable. practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. dance to the radio. tell stories. write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. do it as well as you possibly can. you will get an enormous reward. you will have created something.”

about ashley: ashley turner is a southern california based photographer who is most inspired by people, the life of their spirit, and she thrives on making her subject comfortable and able to exude inner beauty through her images. check out her blog!

inspire: ashley turner.

Posted on May 29th, by mb in inspire. No Comments

ashley is a sister, a photographer, a stylist, a boho goddess, a skateboarder, a hair magician, a poet, a lover of music and good wine.

ashley and i grew up in the same farm town in iowa, and have known one another since we were little. our paths didn’t truly cross until i moved to venice, and found out she lived only a half hour away. after one beautiful afternoon photographing, laughing, traversing venice, and drinking wine, we realized that we are truly soul sisters.

ashley has an energy that fills you with excitement and possibility. she lives from her heart, fully goes after her dreams, and is just the sort of person that you want to sit across from sharing a bottle of wine or a mug of coffee.. regularly. and she’s an extremely talented photographer (seriously, she makes magic happen).

thank you, ash, for being such a beautiful embodiment of joy and intention.

what’s the best part of your day?
i would have to say the best part of my day is in the evenings. although i love the sunny california days, i feel the most solitude when i get my “me” time at night. my entire life my bedroom has always been my little sanctuary. the place where i gather my thoughts, reflect, listen to music that touches my soul, read a good book with the ocean breezes coming through my window, work on little crafty projects. whatever it may be, with as crazy busy as life can get… i love having my own little space where i can just be completely content in my own company.

what inspires you?
soooo many things. traveling and experiencing other cultures will forever inspire me.  the creation of this earth and how the simplicity and beauty of our land is art in itself. i am always completely inspired in the heart of nature. hearing other people’s stories continuously inspires me because it amazes me how we all have our own unique journey of where we began, what we’ve been through, and where we are today… each person’s story is filled with so much strength, perspective, and wisdom.

as a photographer I’ve also been really focusing on keeping my eyes wide open on what’s around me to just be inspired on a daily basis by the things i pass by, from colors, textures, words, quotes (mb’s blog!) to gain inspiration from the things in my daily life.

your favorite trip.
this is a tough one. i have been blessed to see some pretty incredible places so far in my lifetime. i can’t just pick one so i will break it down into a couple because they are favorites for completely different reasons but both had equal impact.

a few years ago i visited africa. uganda to be exact and to this day i feel a piece of my heart is still there. to walk into a land of people who had lived through one of the biggest wars to date was an extremely mind boggling experience but also one of the most beautiful experiences. during my time there i was able to be among the people of uganda, submerge in the heart of the culture, work with the children, and to just simply share love with them. the kind of love where you walk into a foreign land and touch a child or man of another culture, not speak the same language, but you can look in each others eyes, smile, and stand on the same ground knowing that no matter where we come from, where we go, or who we are… we all have a heart filled with emotions and experiences that bring us together.

the other trip would have to be one i took earlier this year to bali, indonesia. this definitely left a mark in my heart for many reasons, one being the fact that i had the simplicity of living out of a backpack for six weeks and that’s something i’ve always wanted to experience. and also because i went on this trip alone.

when i began planning for this trip i wasn’t quite sure what i would think of traveling by myself but i definitely needed to just take off with a backpack and my camera with no distractions. with work, six weeks was the longest i could get away.

after traveling by myself i would encourage everyone to try it at least once if you have the opportunity. don’t get my wrong, i think traveling with others is amazing but there is a much different element traveling solo, because i was never really alone. i met so many amazing people along the way and i was constantly forced out of my comfort zone by figuring everything out with books, maps, and other travelers. i got to wake up in the morning in ubud and sip on my coffee and share my heart with inspiring people from around the world until i was ready to move on for the day. i truly feel i got to enjoy the each moment to its fullest because i was not on any sort of schedule, i was content in the present moment and that trip really brought that element back into my life in the states. it reminded me to explore where i live, to love my own company every second of the day, and to enjoy the present. i also met some amazing people and got to work with children of bali along the way. that will be a part of my life forever and i’m so thankful.

what’s your ideal sunday?
oh sundays, i love sundays. they usually consist of sleeping in, waking up to enjoy a cup of coffee, then skateboarding to church with my soul sister leilani. with always having a computer full of images to edit it’s very easy to get caught up sitting in front of the computer all day, but i have made a rule for myself that sunday is my free day.  the rest of the day usually consists of biking or skateboarding to the beach, sitting on my balcony enjoying a good book or a beer with some fresh, homemade guacamole, going for a sunset walk at the beach, and relaxing at the end of the day to a good home cooked meal and movie. i try my hardest to not drive anywhere on sundays!

your favorite words of wisdom.
i love these words by theodore roosevelt:
i want to see you game, boys. i want to see you brave and manly, and i also want to see you gentle and tender. be practical as well as generous in your ideals.  keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground. courage, hard work, self mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to a successful life. character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.

when do you feel most “you?”
when i’m with my family in iowa. it’s hard to live away from them so there’s nothing more comforting then going home to the people who love me for just me and vise versa…and when i’m getting quality time with my nieces and nephews. i also feel most in my element when i have my camera in hand and am completely connected to the heart of the person i am photographing.

what fulfills you?
god, my family, the endless love i get to share with my friends and family, fresh air, adventure, rest.

your favorite outfit.
as of lately – my bright coral jeans, a flowy top, and brown flat sandals. all time fave – black leggings, flowy button up top, and my uggs!

what’s on your ipod?
a large variety- anything from otis redding, astrid gilberto, shirley ann lee, everything florence and the machine has ever made, horse feathers, damien rice, beirut, bon iver, jay-z, cat power, the cave singers, of monsters and men, the rolling stones, neil young, wyclef, mumford & sons, youth lagoon, louis armstrong, the xx, lykke li, feist, ray lamontagne, gotye…..just to name a few faves, i could keep going..i love music!

five things you love.
traveling, yoga, guacamole, morning coffee, polaroid transfers.

how you feel in one word today.

inspire: elena brower.

Posted on April 25th, by mb in inspire, yoga. 2 comments

just this past week i was in elena’s class at the tadasana festival practicing next to at least 100 other people. as she navigated the room teaching the speaker system kept shorting, making it so we couldn’t here her over the loud, and really beautiful, live music. after a half hour of this, she just stops as we are in a transitional runner’s lunge and puts her arms in the arm to signal silence.

she says something to the affect of “the microphone is making me nuts, and the music is a little too loud for me to speak over today. now doesn’t the truth feel good?” and proceeds to smile really big.

this is exactly why i love elena.

though she definitely teaches yoga, to call her a yoga teacher is not a fair description. she is a teacher. period. whether it’s instructing crescent pose, or how to navigate your relationship with grace, elena is honest, raw, and real, and that’s what sticks. that’s what keeps you coming back for more. i want more.

what’s the best part of your day?
when i can get really close to jonah and he lets me linger near his little cheek for more than 5 seconds.

what inspires you?
my parents.

your favorite trip.
has to be italy, spain or france, some sort of fairly long drive, and a combination of rich greens and blues on which i may feast my eyes.

what’s your ideal sunday?
a fast run with my son on his scooter, my own yoga practice, a long shower, then lunch with my family (including parents, boyfriend, his son, his son’s mama who’s become one of my dearest friends, my son, my son’s daddy – we’re all in it together and have the best time).

your favorite words of wisdom.
mediocrity or genius? fear or love? your call.

when do you feel most “you?”
practicing yoga in my own house.

what fulfills you?
my son’s happiness.

your favorite outfit.
white jean shorts and white marni blouse.

what’s on your ipod?
at the moment, i waver between garth stevenson and random rab.

five things you love.
my family
steamed kale with my sweet white miso dressing

my son’s artwork
getting coached to tell the truth when i don’t want to

how you feel in one word today.