Substantial Living Autumn 2016: My Life + Style

Hello Substantial Living,

Happy Fall!  I am so happy to be back writing since the last month was caught up with traveling and business.  I have missed you all, along with missing putting my little lifestyle tidbits out to share.


Fall is my favorite time of the year.  It’s when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall.  A form of evolution and gathered maturity picked up through the year, from the ups and downs of our everyday living, one might say.  I definitely have felt a sense of maturity as I have moved my business into its second year.   Today I decided to share my 2016 Fall styling pictures weaved along with my story.

These past two years, after so many highs and lows, times of feeling lost and then found, and then lost again, I finally feel a sense of clarity and voice.  Let me tell you, business has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done (neuroscience, much easier…the paradox!).  However, it has been the best teacher I have ever had.  Creating something from nothing but an idea, a philosophy, a dream, to something tangible that I can make money on is still an ongoing journey, but it’s slowly happening.


Moreover, the things I have learned about myself, what’s possible to create, the power of belief, has gone beyond any self-help book or spiritual healing I’ve had in the past.   It has been the biggest blessing life has given me.  Moving cross country, quitting a successful career with a one-way ticket to San Francisco, a different culture, a different career, and literally different lifestyle, was not a walk in the park, contrary to what most people think my life is.  (although I guess that’s how I did end up on the East Coast 14 years ago-a slight itch for adventure and curiosity?)


But here’s the thing I learned, success is not a test of intelligence or luck or who you know, as people often think it is.  It’s a numbers game and it’s a test of time and tenacity.  What will you do to not give up?  It’s inner strength and loyalty to your cause.  How deep is your belief in your abilities, and how deep is your passion in your idea and the value it will bring to the world?  This I see at market and need.   As I’m learning how to build a brand, I’ve learned to slowly let go of my ego.  The mind is the most powerful thing in this world.  It can make or break people.   People think failure is unfair or a bad sign.  I argue the opposite.  I think failure can be the best thing in the long run because it can lead to a letting go.  When we truly let go, evolution happens because we are authentically open to our experience with little bias.  We listen, we learn, we manage, we create, we live in the moment, we change…just like the autumn leaves.  Somewhere along that line, our community carries us through the rest-family, friends, clients, randoms-I’ve experienced acts of kindness and compassion like I’ve never had.


Earlier this year, I couldn’t afford a professional photographer for my Pottery Barn Blog article (which I had to nail!), so I decided to pick up my camera and started learning asap about food photography.  I had no choice (but we always have a choice).  I didn’t start my business to become a photographer, and I have so much other stuff I need to do because I’m a CEO (ha! Chief E Optimism)),  but after a rigorous learning curve, an awesome teacher (my dad) , I now LOVE food shooting and styling; capturing perspectives and enhancing the power of beauty and design through a visual medium in MY voice.  The power of intention and belief is stronger than I’ve ever known, and continues to lead to me to a higher lever of shared spiritual consciousness of how connected everything in this universe truly is.

I wanted to share my journey thus far, because it’s what makes us human and connects us to others-it’s part of living of Substantial life.  Our shared human experience of vulnerability-the real stuff-all of our secret hopes and fears-sheds the biases of status, religion, ethnicity, geography.  I’m hoping to do a better job in the future of sharing little tidbits of my “life” to add to the “style” part to give a better picture of a Substantial Life + Style; to share my wonder, curiosity, creativity, and growth in this world, with you all…

In science, we learn that matter is made up of atoms.  Atoms are made up of their little ecosystem of electrons, protons, and neutrons.  All spinning in their own orbit individually but connected through an energy force, creating something bigger called matter.  Let’s create something Substantial together that matters, through the art of eating-something we all have to do- that connects people together in a new way…through the marvels of science, nature, and beauty.


As you can see, I weaved in my fall simple table styling pictures for a dinner party this week I threw for my beautiful, water-surf-sister who was in town.  I loved shooting and styling this table with the pristine rustic green and white colors of fall, white squash, succulents, orchids, linens, and Japanese bowls.

I am constantly inspired and awed at the patterns and beauty of nature everywhere (it’s wired in my DNA!); it’s flawless in its arrangement and science.  Something us humans still cannot achieve to the level that nature has.  If we follow it, I believe our hearts and brains will be happy; and design will be beautiful in its simplicity…

Substantial Take Home Tips:

  • Never give up if you truly believe in what you’re doing, the only thing to give up is your ego.
  • Let the designs seen in Nature and Science lead your mind and guide your Life + Style
  • Less is always more, our brains don’t need more clutter

Autumn is often the time of retirement, but today I have a sense of fulfillment, richness, wisdom, freedom.  It’s a good day.

With Gratitude + Love,



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2 thoughts on “Substantial Living Autumn 2016: My Life + Style”

  1. Loved your shared truth and experiences! Thank you for your continued inspiration and motivation. You are a beautiful spirit. I wish you nothing but continued blessings. xoxo

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